Achtung Baby Or Child Labour Alive &Amp; Well In Germany

19/06/2011 12:53 | Updated 22 May 2015
Achtung Baby or Child labour alive & well in GermanyPA

Finje is five years old. Were my great great grandmother still alive, no doubt she would be regaling me with "Back in the Day" stories hinting that it might be time for my daughter to start pulling her weight. If she's strong enough to ride a bike she'll do just fine in the mill. Or something along those lines.

Not averse to the idea of a bit of child labour in principal, and in the absence of any cotton mills in Northern Germany, we were forced to think along different lines.

My husband is an excellent photographer. We live in a village frequently visited by tourists so we decided to try and make a bit of extra money and convert some of his stunning photographs into postcards. Our home is conveniently placed on the way to the main tourist attraction here, the 11th Century church on the hill. We placed our little stand outside our door, with a selection of cards and an honesty box.

Last weekend was a scorcher and the tourists came in their throngs. We hoped to make a killing. What we hadn't reckoned with, was the typical German reticence when it comes to anything slightly "inconsistent". We watched them as they strolled past the postcards, glancing over, clearly curious and wanting to investigate but not comfortable wandering off their beaten path.

After an hour we had sold one card.

Time for the child offensive.

I grabbed Finje and grappled her hair into pigtails, not quite perfect in order to maximize the urchin effect. A strategically placed dirt smudge on her little button nose and she was good to go. I laid it on thick. Telling her that papa was sad that nobody was buying his cards and asking her if she might like to try and sell some to the people passing.

For any of you trying to sell a product here's my tip: Sex may sell but cute kids sell more.

Innocently devoid of chaste, and in a demonstration Lord Sugar would have been proud of, Finje let not a single person pass without buying a card. In one hour she had sold forty cards and along with the €40.00 had collected many compliments along the way.

"Exploitation!" I hear you yell in condemnation. I think not. Finje received a 10% cut of her earnings which she put towards her savings for a bow and arrow.


Achtung Baby
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