to be a child in an amazon world

Today I heard this story about a woman whose 6-year old son managed to order himself (and 4-year old brother) a few things off Amazon early one Saturday morning. It made me think of a few things:

  1. Even if you don’t have children, no one should have one-click shopping turned on. Trust me, you have the time to enter your password before you check out.
  2. It wouldn’t surprise me if Amazon regularly holds “Take Your Toddler to Work” days to test just how easy their shopping cart features are (lunch, of course, is provided).
  3. How much more interesting my childhood would have been if Amazon had been around back then.

This story brought to mind the time my sister wrote a one dollar check on my mom’s account (they did have the same name, but still). It was chocolate bar sales time, and apparently we had eaten one more bar than we should have. It happens – most kids had to search couch cushions or open piggy banks because they couldn’t resist World’s Finest.

I am not sure of my sister’s thought process, as she didn’t let me in on her little idea, but I can only imagine how she came to the conclusion that it was both okay, and that she wouldn’t get caught. Maybe she thought it would be better to ask for forgiveness for check forgery than to just ask my mom for a buck?

I was as shocked as my mother was when the mail came that day. Back then you actually got your paper checks back. I don’t think my mom actually sat down and balanced her checkbook that night – she just flipped through the checks and I guess that one stuck out. How it actually got cashed is still a mystery. Maybe they thought my mother was teaching my sister about banking? I can imagine the person okaying the transaction, thinking “how cute” or “what a good mother”.

My sister, by the way, was in the third or fourth grade when this happened. So she was older than six, but not much. Still if she figured out Amazon I can only imagine the boxes that would have showed up on our porch. I bet she might have even bribed the UPS driver to try an keep her little operation going after she got caught.

I doubt she would have ordered books though – well, maybe one as a bribe for me. And definitely not a washing machine. It’s funny, but the gumball machine probably would have been something she at least considered. Maybe toys of some sort? Or music? Or school supplies she could sell to her classmates for a profit?

I can still hear my mother calling out my sister’s name as she discovered the check. I can only imagine what might have happened after an Amazon fiasco. I can tell you she would not have been allowed to keep anything, even if she paid for it. That would have only encouraged her.

Actually I can see my sister sitting on the porch of the green house with the blue hydrangeas next to the box being sent back to Amazon, waiting for the UPS truck. They would each have had a sign that read, “return to sender”.

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