Saturday, 19 August 2017

Bring Your Kids to Work Day!

Before I became a mumpreneur, the corporate company I used to work for had an annual Bring Your Kids to Work Day. It was kind of a misnomer as you usually hardly get any work done that day. I think it was more for the kids to come see your work place. The company was also nice about it, organising fun stuff for the kids, like a magic show or some crafting activity. Most people end up bringing their young kids - you hardly see older kids like those in primary/secondary schools. But I guess that was to be expected since those kids were probably all in school!
 
So it came to be that yesterday was the first time in the history of My First Games that we had a Bring Your Kids to Work Day! But this time round, I did expect them to do real work for me, as in, seriously help me out with what I was doing. Now, before you start your complain email to the Ministry of Manpower about me using child labour, let me tell you why the kids weren't in school yesterday morning... It was the PSLE oral examinations day! The younger kids didn't have to go to school on Thursday and Friday. And since I'd already agreed to go to a secondary school to sell games, I decided to bring them with me... to work!
Bring Your Kids to Work Day 2017
In my line of work, running an online shop, I would usually accept any invitations to go to schools or workplaces to sell games, if it doesn't clash with anything on my schedule. These would usually be weekday morning/lunchtime affairs, which would wrap up at say 1plus pm. Then I would quickly pack up my wares to get on with my other full time job - picking the kids from school and being with them. So it's usually a busy morning for me to have to display and sell my wares, and the rush to have to pack up stuff to be in time to fetch the kids from school. So I was rather glad that this time round, the date clashed with the PSLE Oral days, which meant that I didn't have to rush off to fetch the kids. In addition, I now had additional three pairs of hands to help me with carrying stuff and setting up the booth. More importantly, I had three more pairs of mouths to help me teach customers-to-be how to play the games we loved and sold.
 
The kids were very pleased and excited to be coming with me to work. They were pretty hyped up about it and enthusiastically went about arranging the tables, lay out the table cloth, display the games and set up the cards in preparation for when customers would arrive - and they would teach customers how to play.
 
There were a few other stalls present, mostly selling food like honey vinegar and snacks, loads of snacks like rice crackers, chocolate and potato chips. We were the only non-food stall present selling stuff. Situated right outside the staff room door, we were supposed to sell to the school's teachers who would come by to see our wares in between their lessons.
 
We were there for slightly over 4 hours. And I would say it was an average sales day. It wasn't totally bad for there were sales, but it wasn't exactly excellent either - I'd done better at some other schools. What I found interesting was the children's reaction to their day at work with me. So I had a mini interview with each of them this morning to find out their thoughts...
 
Question: What did you think about your day yesterday, selling games with me? 
 
Asher: "It is tiring and not fun at all. I thought it would be fun and that many people will come to our stall (but that was not the case)."
 
Shawna: "It wasn't fun at all.  I thought it would be like that time when I went with you to your secondary school to sell bears.  People came. I think next time just bring a lot of snacks to sell. "
 
Isaac: "I think it was a bit boring because not a lot of people came to our stall so we can't show them how to play the games. But it was also quite fun because I could play Gobblet Gobblers with a lot of the teachers as they found the game very cute. "
 
As you can tell, our stall wasn't very happening at all. Not many people showed interest in our games. So even though I had three additional headcount ready to explain the games, and play them with customers... people weren't interested to begin with! And yes, the kids all noticed that the snack store had a lot more interest and business instead!
 
Isaac: "I'm surprised the snack store did so well because I don't  really like snacks so I didn't expect other people to like snacks so much. I am also not surprised though, because a lot of people in my school also likes the snack store and they buy from them a lot. " 
 
Honestly, even I was tempted by the wares of the snack stall! They sold a mind-boggling array of Japanese and Taiwanese snacks, and did exceedingly well. I was mighty pleased that my children weren't interested in the least! The boys didn't bother to even look at the food up close, and even though I saw Shawna going by to have a closer look, she wasn't interested in anything enough to ask me to buy. I am proud to say I resisted the temptation to get any snacks too!
 
Question: What were your expectations like? How did you think it was going to be, selling games with me? 
 
Isaac: "I expected that a lot of people would come and we would be busy teaching people how to play and playing the games with them."
 
From what Asher and Shawna said above, I could see that they had the same expectation as Isaac. They were looking forward to a busy morning explaining games to people. I would say this is the Optimistic Outlook of Entrepreneurs! And so I did explain to them, that things may not always work out the way we expect them to be.
 
Asher and Shawna grew distracted from their task - as there were not many customers to entertain. They went off to play on the school swing they spotted on their way to the toilets, and left Isaac and me to fend for ourselves. So when there were teachers who were excited about one of our bestsellers Gobblet Gobblers and kept wanting to play the demo set we laid out - Isaac was very happy to indulge them in multiple games, especially when the teachers realised that Isaac played the game well and he was the one to beat!
 
Question: Why do you think not many people came to our stall?
 
Shawna: "Because they don't have time to play games as they need to do their homework ."

Isaac: "I think because a lot of the teachers here don't have children. I also think that the snack store attracted a lot of attention and made them spend all their money. "
 
Asher: "Because they don't have kids or their kids don't play games. Or they think games are not fun so they don't play games.  That is so sad." 
 
Isaac was admonishing me on bringing only two copies of Go Away Monster because they were sold and another customer wanted another copy. We also sold all three copies of Sushi Go we brought because one of the staff already had the game and had introduced it to his colleagues prior to us coming by yesterday. So I explained to him how we could only being a few copies of every game if we wanted to bring a large selection of games. And how it was impossible to predict exactly what would sell well and what wouldn't.
 
Well, all things considered, I think the kids have got a pretty good read on the situation.  I think it was an excellent experience for them, being on the job with me.  I told the three of them "This is what Mummy does on some days, when you're in school. I go to places to set up stalls to sell games. It isn't always very fun, though it is almost always very tiring! And there isn't always a swing to sit on, nor friends who treat us to ice-cream and cold drinks."
 
Special thanks to my primary school classmate WC, for the drinks and ice-cream, and multiple games of Gobblet Gobblers with Isaac. You singlehandedly brightened up our day! :)
Mdm HWC's photo! :)

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