Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pokemon on eBay, or My Secret Homeschooling Project

Do your kids obsess about Pokemon? Mine have more cards than they need but not as much as they want. They constantly pester me to visit the store so they can waste spend their allowance on yet another pack. They are constantly on the hunt for EX cards and basically ignore the cards in the packs that are not EX. They often try to trade for cards with friends at school but bad trading habits can lead to hard feelings and lost friendships so I ask them to avoid trading.

But they still want those EX cards. So I introduced them to Pokemon on eBay.

I pointed out the fact that we have way too many cards they don't love. I showed them how you can buy a single, coveted EX card on eBay for a reasonable fee. Most are under $5 and cost less than a full pack of cards. I then suggested we put together packs of unwanted cards, sell them on eBay and use the proceeds to purchase the cards they do want.

And so it began. Yet another life lesson learned via Pokemon, like math and reading.

The boys sorted through their hundreds of cards and put together enticing packs. Then we took photos and wrote up descriptions. We did research online to learn the best ways to list the cards and what made them valuable. We set prices and put them up for sale and waited.

The boys were thrilled when the first packs sold and that led to another lesson about how to package cards for shipment, how to calculate the cost of shipping and how PayPal deducts a small fee to process payment.

It was eye-opening for them, as you can imagine. It led to further conversations about paychecks and bank accounts. All from Pokemon! As the packs sold and we received payment, we kept a running total of their credit on a small index card. We also prepared new sets of cards to sell based on what was popular on eBay.

We aren't selling all their cards, not because I think they will retain their value for years to come, but because I do think they are an important relic of their childhood that they may want to share with their own children.

I have no interest in homeschooling my children full-time, but I also have no problem taking on projects like this to help my children learn how the world works and how to apply the skills they are learning in their classrooms.

(And since marketing is a part of my day job, I thought I'd mention here I can offer you a great deal on a sure-to-delight stocking stuffer of 50 or 100 pack of Pokemon cards with some very nice HOLOs and Rares! The holidays are coming and we can even ship them in a fancy metal tin!)