KOTA KINABALU: Four-year-old Benjamin Erwin has been busy promoting and manning a garage sale outside his house, selling pre-loved toys and clothes to friends and neighbours.
His parents, Erwin Hardy Noorazmi, 32, and Helen Lee Yen Song, 32, set up the garage sale for him so that he could learn about the value of money.
Their boy, after all, had been pestering them to get new toys.
But unbeknown to little Benjamin, the items at the garage sale are being given out free to anyone who wants them.
“We just want to teach him about finances and to make him understand how difficult it is to earn money,” said Lee, an insurance agent.
She said Benjamin had been asking for new toys, like cars and Lego sets, as he has outgrown the ones at home.
“He has too many toys. So in exchange for new ones, we made him agree to sell off his old stuff such as toy cars, firefighter sets, figurines, bicycles and a toolbox,” she said.
Lee said they informed their friends and family through social applications before setting up a booth for the garage sale at their home in Kepayan near here on May 1 and May 4.
When Benjamin saw people walking past without buying anything, he would feel disappointed and ask his mother why there were no buyers for his toys.
“I told him that it’s normal; at work, in school, or in business, not everyone would like your toys. It’s just how things are,” she said.
He would also ask why some people just took some items without giving him any money, to which his mother would tell him that they would transfer the payment online.
“Some would actually give him some money for the toys or clothes they took, and he would be so happy,” Lee said.
She would discreetly put some cash into a money box at hand. Mother and son would then count the money together at the end of the day.
Lee also told her son that they still needed more cash if he insisted on wanting new toys. Thus, the garage sale will have to continue until all the old toys and clothes are given away.
Her Facebook post on the “garage sale” garnered almost 500 shares, with many enquiries from interested people.
Benjamin – whose current ambition is to become a policeman, a firefighter or a pilot like his father – is excited to set up his stall again but he will have to wait until his parents have some free time.
“We are looking at setting up his booth again soon and I hope more will come and get what they need for their children,” Lee said.