Thursday, July 8, 2010

Smooth operator.

Tertius is in the family room, playing with his toy ATM. (Yes, they have those.) He asks me for some change to plug into the slot -- it counts money -- and I duly fish out 56 cents in coins.

Then he offers me a box of tissues. I notice that this is an opened box, removed from my office a day or two earlier, and feel moved to point this out to him.

Later, I am in my office when he rushes in and asks if I'd like my tissues to be delivered by hand. He returns with the box in a plastic shopping bag.*

"The charge is 56 cents," he announces with glee. "Oh, you've already paid me." He scurries off.

Now, it may be because I wasn't around when the business genes were handed out, but I'm still trying to figure that one out.

The good news is that it would normally be Secundus who would pull a stunt like that. So now I have two entrepreneurial children who stand a chance of being the next Bill Gates. Which is just as well, because that's my only retirement strategy.

*Yes, I take plastic shopping bags from the store and recycle/repurpose them all as garbage bags. And for those cloth bag toters who'd criticize on autopilot, I have to ask, "then what do you put your garbage in?" If the answer is those Hefty or Glad products that get carried home in your cloth bags, don't they use up just as much of the world's oil-based resources and spend as long in the land fills? (They're not biodegradable -- I checked on Glad's website.) Perhaps more, since they're a good deal thicker, use a different kind of plastic for the ties, and are often impregnated with odor-masking chemicals. And they're not recyclable. (And never mind the extra costs of packaging and printing and advertising, and the carbon footprint involved in getting them out in bulk to the supermarkets -- or the extra drain on your budget -- when the free plastic bags are already there.)

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