When I was little, I had really messed up ideas of how the monetary system worked. I believed that buying things was a continuous give and take exchange until I was able to pay the amount asked regardless of what happened between us. Allow me to elaborate.
All through elementary school, we had regular book sales in our foyer and library to promote literature and I LOVED going to them. I remember seeing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on the table when Scholastics came to visit. It was also at these book fairs that I bought my many Roald Dahl books… The Witches, Matilda, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to name a few. Anyway, to get to the point, on a parent teacher night one year, (I was maybe 7 or 8?) we had a book sale running at the library at the same time. My mom was there with me while my dad was waiting in the hall and I picked out a book and went to pay for it. Mrs. Woodruff, our librarian, said some number (let’s say $6), and I gave her a $5 bill and waited. She gave me a weird look and said something to the effect of, “that’s not enough.” And I was like, “yes it is, I gave you $5, so that means it’s $1 away from $6, so if you give me $1, I’ll have the $1 to give you.” I was completely convinced that I was right. But eventually, my mom dug through my little change purse to give her the remainder of the amount.
What confuses me to this day is why my mom didn’t jump in to correct me? Or teach me how to pay for things properly? What a weird scene this must’ve been, to see a little me arguing with an adult about how she needed to give me money so that I had enough money to give to her.