Don’t Be A Sales Tax Fairy (STF)
This was before free shipping had become almost standard if you were willing to wait – and we lived where sales tax was 6%. I took him through the math, where $39.99 times 1.06 became $42.39, and then showed him the $16.99 shipping and handling charge for someone to box up and mail him the skateboard – which brought the total to $59.38 – a $19.39 increase over what he thought he was spending. I will never forget him saying to me “OK – but you will pay that right – the sales tax and shipping?” In an instant I heard my own mother, saying to my sister and I in a very similar moment, albeit years ago and not when we were online “Do I have a Sales Tax Fairy who pays these costs for me?”
In an instant I heard my own mother, saying to my sister and I in a very similar moment, albeit years ago and not when we were online “Do I have a Sales Tax Fairy who pays these costs for me?”
It was a classic parenting moment, where I was struggling to find the right balance – between not wanting to rob my child of the thrill of making a much anticipated purchase with “his own money” – but knowing that a golden teachable moment had dropped into my lap. At 8, I knew Sam wasn’t ready for a huge talk about how sales tax revenues pay for things like schools and roads, or even for listing all of the costs of doing business that necessitate shipping and handling charges. But he did learn about the difference between the price of an item and it’s total delivered-on-time cost that day. Who knew then, but it was probably experiences just like this that led to Gifting Sense, where we turn shopping for birthday and holiday gifts into a tool to help parents teach their kids to think before they buy.