While I was sleeping (I'd worked the night before) my 13-year-old daughter took my credit card and bought two 4th row tickets for One Direction to the tune of $600.00 a piece. That's right. $1200.00 for two concert tickets. Did she ask permission? No. No she did not.
This concert takes place in Phoenix, Arizona which is a mere 1111 miles from here. After she bought the tickets she started to cry. Not from remorse. Rather from pure joy. One Direction! Harry! Niall! The marketing machine that is One Direction has my daughter hook, line and sinker.
Now, obviously, I was not nearly so pleased as she; especially when I found out I was the financier for this little operation. My husband and I considered many options from canceling the transaction to selling the tickets. But where is the fun in that? Where is the lesson in that? And so we came up with a different solution.
Following is the contract we presented to our daughter this morning:
I, the undersigned, acknowledge that I willfully committed fraud. I used my mother’s credit card, without permission, and racked up $1200.00 worth of charges. I understand that my parents are being lenient by not filing a police report. I also understand that stealing a sum greater than $1000.00 is a felony in the State of Oregon. Furthermore I understand that if convicted of a felony I could face up to a year in prison.
My parents have been clear with me; $600.00 a ticket for 4th row One Direction seats is an unfortunate and irresponsible use of money. There are many ways this money could be put to better use. However it has also been acknowledged that I am my own person and as such I am allowed to spend my money as I choose. The money used to buy these tickets, however, was not my money.
By signing this document I irrefutably admit I have the coolest most wonderful parents on the planet. They are the best because they are allowing me the chance to earn this money for myself. The money put on the credit card will be considered a loan. As a loan this money will be subject to interest. Given that I am 13-years-old and with a questionable credit rating the interest rate will be 28% per annum. Any given month that I do not cover the minimum payment a late fee of $30.00 will be charged to my account. In addition I will be charged interest on the interest should the minimum payment not be met.
I acknowledge that buying concert tickets to a stadium several states away is only the beginning of expenses I would expect to incur should the concert be attended. If I am to attend said concert I will have to buy concert tickets for my mother and my sister. In addition I will have to buy plane tickets for all four of us (my mother, my sister, my friend and myself). I will be responsible for all transportation costs (gas, rental car, vehicle insurance, etc). In addition I will be responsible for lodging, food and incidentals (concert tee shirts, etc).
Once I calculate these expenses I will put them in a spreadsheet and present them to my parents. Then a mutually acceptable timeline will be agreed upon and monthly financial goals will have to be met.
I am allowed to be creative in earning the money for this trip. I can set up a Go Fund Me or similar account. It has been suggested that it will take all my creative spirit to convince people I unequivocally NEED to attend this concert. I may not beg my parents for money. I may not beg my relatives for money. I understand that the chores completed at home are my responsibility as a member of this family and as such do not come with monetary compensation. If I am to sell items such as crafts or baked goods I am responsible for the seed money needed to create said items. No additional loans will be granted.
I also understand that my schooling can not suffer. I must, from this point forward, get no grade less than a B. If my grades are lacking I understand the tickets will be immediately disposed of. I will, however, still be responsible for the monies borrowed.
Truth-be-told I will be shocked if my daughter is able to comply with the terms of this contract. If she earns the money and maintains her GPA then good for her. I'll see you in Phoenix next September. If she is unable to earn the money then I hope she will at least have learned something about life and its concomitant costs. And, perhaps, she'll even have a bit of extra change in her pocket.
Oh the joys of parenting!
Note: we've already had a spirited discussion about interest on loans. Indeed it appears lessons are being learned. :o)
Addendum: after this blog post my daughter has decided to start her own blog and write from her perspective. You can see her post here.