This is a collaborative post
A couple of years ago Mr D got a watch. He had seen it when we had been out with my mum, and was fixated on getting this watch for his birthday. My mum duly bought the watch and it was worn with pride until a couple of months back the watch stopped.
Mr D has been asking for us to get a new battery, and whilst it would have been easy enough to order one online from Amazon or somewhere similar, there is something to be gained from going out and getting a battery so I decided it was a little task we would do together.
There is a great little shop near to us and I had promised Mr D that next time we were near there, we would take his watch for a battery. We happened to be there last week, so we found the watch and took it with us.
Sometimes we worry that Mr D lacks confidence, but he strode into the shop, complete with the watch in his hand and waited in line to ask for a new battery. There was someone in front of him who was getting a battery fitted I think, but he waited patiently and, when it was his turn, confidently passed his watch over and asked for a new battery for it.
The guy who owns the shop was great with him and talked and engaged with him. It is one of those little things that might not mean a lot to an adult, but to a child, it means the world. To be treated as an equal and to not be talked over.
The saying of ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ is so true. If we all exhibit patience, kindness and understanding to children in our day to day jobs then it really helps them grow in confidence as they learn to interact with others and the world around them.
Once the new battery had been fitted and the princely sum of £1 handed over, he proudly wore his watch as we continued with our jobs; noting the time at every 10 second interval.
It got me thinking as to how easy it would have been to deny him of that opportunity. Ordering things online is so ‘normal’ these days and is also convenient when faced instead with the prospect of trailing to the shops with the three children in tow.
A few taps and clicks on the laptop or phone doesn’t really teach the children anything – nothing like getting out and explaining to people what you want to buy. It doesn’t teach them the value of money – they can’t see the monetary transaction taking place. Getting out to the shop to buy the new battery, Mr D saw that there was an exchange. He is beginning to start to recognise the value of money.
Customer service is so key, and the likes of the online giants such as Amazon do a pretty good job of getting us going back to them – recent surveys suggest that people feel pretty content with the level of service they recieve in the digitial era (the inforgraphic at the end of this post shows more) but I really don’t think you can beat old fashioned face to face contact. Be it the checkout assistant in the local supermarket explaining how the till works to the children, the assistant in the book shop helping to find a book, the librarians asking the children about the books they’re reading or the local shop selling watch batteries. Dealing with local shops also avoids the problems of phoning large companies or agencies and getting stuck on the phone or, worse, being landed with a larger phone bill (unless you’ve been savvy enough to find a number via CCSN.)
I think 2018 might be my year of trying to cut back on my use of Amazon and other online ‘giants’ and instead get back to suporting my local high street and encouagre my children to engage ever more with the shops and stores around us, encouraging them to seek out the things we need.
I’m so proud that Mr D was so confident in going into the shop. We should never underestimate what a big thing that can be, and we should reply to children with kindess and respect. It really does make a difference.