In honor of the Weasley twins, and April Fools Day, I thought what better Fun Dollars story to share than my time at their joke shop in Diagon Alley?
The storefront to Weasley's Wizard Wheezes was the most austentacious shop on the street. Painted orange with a giant wizard appearing to "wear" the shop window, it looked exactly like the storefront from the movie.
Once we were inside, I felt like I was in an M.C. Escher painting. There were stairs running this way and that. The shop felt very cramped walking around. I imagine that is how it felt with all those witches and wizards in the shop when it first opened. Hardly any elbow room at all.
|The stairs were for effect only. They were blocked to admittance.|
There were baskets of pygmy puffs, bottles of love potion, decoy detinators, extendable ears, and skiving snack boxes. (Of course, we are all skiving these days...) (For you non-Brits, that's their word for playing hookie.)
They also had T-shirts sporting the name of the shop. There was one in particular that caught my eye. I decided to call upon my "Fun Dollars Discipline" and not buy the shirt. I wanted to make sure that was the purchase I really wanted to make. I knew that we had two more days at the park for me to shop and hunt around. So, at the end of our stay, if I still wanted the shirt, I could make the purchase.
It was a unique shirt. I had not seen anyone at the park wearing it yet. It was entirely purple with orange, gold and purple printing. It did not indicate anything about Hogwarts or the Houses, which I liked.
As a Ravenclaw, I was deeply offended that in the one place on earth I would expect to see an Eagle on Ravenclaw swag, all I was given was a RAVEN! I refused to buy anything Ravenclaw at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter because they all bore Ravens instead of Eagles. So, that was another reason this shirt stood out to me. It related to the Harry Potter experience without being offensive to the proud house of Ravenclaw.
Also, the shirt was unique to the experience of travelling to this destination. No where else would I be able to say, "I bought this at the store where it came from." You can buy Hogwarts gear at Target these days, but nothing from Weasley's Wizard Wheezes can be found. (Although I won't say the same about Etsy. Apparently that is where all the Ravenclaw with Eagle swag can be purchased.)
Our Hufflepuff student did have an interesting learning experience with Fun Dollars while we were in the shop. He watched other students make their first pygmy puff purchase. When they do that, they ring the bell on the counter and announce, "Attention, attention, witches, wizards and muggles! We have our friend, (Instert student's name) here adopting their first pygmy puff. They have decided to name it (insert pygmy puff's name)." Then everybody claps. Hufflepuff wanted to make a pygmypuff purchase, and I think it might have had something to do with the excitement of the announcement.
As he was waiting in line, I asked him about his purchase. He explained that he wanted to buy the pygmy puff for his younger half brother at home. He showed me his choice of pygmy puff and I glanced at the price tag. "How much money do you have left?" I asked. I knew that of all the kids we were travelling with, he had the smallest amount to spend. He had purchased his wand and that was pretty much all his money. I did give him the opportunity to earn more Fun Dollars on the trip, but this purchase would completely exhaust his funds.
"You know that if you buy this you won't have much left," I gently cautioned him. "We still have two more days at the park. So if you see something else that you like better, you won't be able to buy it." He considered my words for a minute. Then he walked over to the basket of mini puffs and pulled one out, leaving his previous choice on the shelf. Making the change saved him some cash, and allowed him to make one more smaller purchase while we were there.
I really enjoyed watching him think about what he was doing with his money. He didn't have to swap it out. But after thinking about what the purchase was for, he knew that his brother wouldn't care that it was a regular sized pygmy puff or a mini-puff, he would get a present and be happy with it. Fun Dollars principles getting taught and put into practice: Deeply consider your purchase. It's easy to buy something, but also look at what that will do to your Fun Dollars. Will it deplete them? Is that ok? I would like to think that this moment of financial awareness will plant a seed in this kiddo, that when he does have the ability to spend, he will weigh the cost and the benefit and not just give in to impulse.
After sitting on my impulse for two days, I was finally ready to make that T-shirt purchase. Yes, I was careful with my Fun Dollars on vacation too. I did not expect to go into this vacation to "save money" or to spend limitlessly. I did a combination of both to strike a balance. Not really buying anything for myself as a souvenenier, but making sure that the kids had plenty of cash was a part of that plan. So I allowed myself to get the shirt on our last day in the park.
|I changed into my shirt in the loo on the last day in the park after my purchase.|
And, yes, that is a glitter fanny pack you spy. I rocked it all week long
My judicious Ravenclaw didn't find anything in the shop that really made him want to part with his Fun Dollars. He was literally a kid in a joke shop with plenty of cash, but his money discipline is stronger than his urge to spend. He left there with the same cash he went in with, even though this was the shop he looked forward to the most .(Well, this shop and Honeydukes). His favorite characters in the books were Fred and George. He delights in their playful mischief and (somewhat) aspires to follow in their footsteps. He just wants to make people laugh like they did. It mostly comes out as jokes he has made up and the occasional (decent) prank.
I secretly also like Fred and George. They chose to venture out on their own and make a go of their natural talent to bring a smile to people's faces. Remembering that we all need to laugh is as important now as it ever was. Laughter keeps us positive. Laughter can take our minds off our worries momentarily. Laughter just makes us feel better.
Happy Birthday, Fred and George Weasley!
This is a snippet of the acapella group (with frogs) doing the Weasley's Twins' theme from The Order of the Phoenix. The guy off to the right is doing the fireworks sounds. This was while we were passing by on our way back from the Hogwarts ride.