The Space Cat Store


So every week my group of six and seven-year-old recess writers begin their session by composing a group list poem based on a prompt I give them. This week’s prompt was, “If you had a business what would you call it?”

Immediately little Alaina shouted out, “The poop store”, and then Robin offered “The fart store,” followed by Max’s, “The pee pee, poo poo, platypus store.” Each of these I documented with the seriousness and respect I think appropriate to any budding creative or entrepreneurial effort.

And then, as so regularly happens, once they got out their sillies and trying-to-be-provocatives, they got down to some rather innovative ideas. The “Flying Fairy Store,” which “actually sells real flying fairies.” The “Space Cat Store,” where you go to space to get a kitty, and, well, the “Farting Platypus Store,” whose inventory is self-evident. Little James, who offered up the suggestion, combined two of his colleagues’ previous ideas to make a new one. Good thinking.

But what of this space cat store? And what of all the kids talking about stores? Clearly these kids identify business with storefronts rather than the kinds of businesses most of their parents are in — service providers, inventors, builders, investors. What do we all actually do at these desks and meetings?

Anyway, the other day when Ax convinced me to let him browse our local toy store which is next door to the grocery store he wound up — shockingly — finding a LEGO he wanted. It seemed expensive and I couldn’t help but check online to see if the price was really that high. It was about 20% less online.

So there we were, and he’d already eloquently negotiated himself into getting something, so the question was would I let him pony up an extra $20 to get it right then and there, which is what he wanted to do. It’s a tough call.

On the one hand, the exact same thing can be had for less if one waits for delivery — values: Patience, deferred gratification, thrift. On the other hand, Ax has spent hours in this store over the years, many times buying nothing.

We have popped in on a Saturday morning for a gift for a birthday party that same day, and it adds to our daily neighborhood life to have a local bricks-and-mortar toy store. So there’s a social value there, plus some justification that we are paying for all the times we’ve visited just for fun.

So he and I talked about why it was or was not worth it, to spend the extra money, and we made our choice. Maybe if our community can keep the toy store in business some day we’ll get a space cat store too.

I’m gonna keep going.

Sascha LiebowitzComment