When I was a kid and lost a tooth, you know what the Tooth Fairy left under my pillow?
A piece of dental floss. Or, on a good day, maybe a colorful rock. But $3.70? What the hell is going on? That’s the new average for a lost tooth, says Visa, which has an interest in what the Tooth Fairy leaves, why exactly?
Maybe the Tooth Fairy charges it. The dental bounty is up 23 percent from last year when the reward was $3, the Associated Press reports. Which raises another question: Why the 70 cents? Isn’t it easier just to slip three bills under a kid’s pillow?
OK, I admit. The money parents decide to give kids for losing a tooth is entirely up to them. (And wait until you read what some give.) But where I have to draw the line is on this iOS app that Visa has built to calculate what to give your kid.
The user of said app enters his or her gender, age, home state, level of education, family size and income and then the app spits out a recommended tooth value.
Basically, we’re now crowdsourcing our Tooth Fairy spending decisions. Not only that, but I’m crushed. I always thought the Tooth Fairy was an Android user.
Anyway, this whole Tooth-Fairy-industrial-complex has me disturbed. I’m with Dan Kadlec of Time who asks whether Tooth Fairy has lost her mind. For instance, he writes:
“Some 2% of children get $50 for an incisor, a sum so outrageous it deserves comment.
‘Kids are obsessed with the Tooth Fairy,’ says Jason Alderman, who runs Visa’s financial literacy initiative. ‘Losing a tooth creates a great opportunity to talk about money with them. But telling them their tooth is worth $50 is counterproductive. It devalues the dollar in their eyes.'”
Fifty bucks? We’re going to have kids pulling the teeth out of their own heads.
And if there are any kids out there reading this, here’s some advice: Move to the Northeast pronto, before you drop another molar. From the AP:
“How much kids are getting from the Tooth Fairy depends on where they live. Kids in the Northeast are getting the most, according to the Visa study, at $4.10 per tooth. In the West and South, kids received $3.70 and $3.60 per tooth, respectively. Midwestern kids received the least, at $3.30 a tooth. About a third of all parents surveyed say the Tooth Fairy left a dollar or less.”
All of which tells me one more thing: About a third of parents are actually sane.
(Photo illustration from Mercury News/West magazine archive)