Early on in my childhood I quickly realized my toy collecting hobby was really limited to what my parents would buy me. I was too young to have a job and it isn't like I was able to go to the bank and get a credit card. I also did not get an allowance for chores/good grades... I grew up in an Asian household. My parents were not about to pay me for shit I was supposed to do for free. The only logical way to get more of what I wanted was to trade. The classic example being kids who trade lunch items to get that snack your own parents refused to get you. Lunchables anyone? Those things were the shit back in the day.
Junk food brought a huge premium when it came to lunch time trades. No one wanted a sandwich...kids wanted sugar. Sodas, Snickers, Starbursts, M&M's... this was currency. The kids who got the Ding Dongs, or Moon Pies, or Skittles in their lunch held this "power" over the less fortunate kids. It was amazing to see what kids would offer up for sugary snack. You'd see kids offering up their toys, for a stupid Hostess pastry. I was blown away. A Transformer you could play with indefinitely, but a Twinkie is gone in 10 seconds. I soon realized that I needed "in" on this game as this was the solution for me to get that new Transformer that my parents would not buy me.
I had a secret weapon... I had access to Asian brand candies that the American kids didn't. More specifically, I am talking Super Lemon and Super Cola candies. If you do not know what these are, they are hard candies that taste like Lemon or Cola and have a TON of sour powder on them. You could only find these in Asian markets and this was before there were 99 Ranch Markets everywhere. More importantly, Super Cola/Lemon was different from any American candy on the market. This would be my first economics lesson in supply and demand. I was the supply and there was a HUGE demand. It was not hard to get my parents to buy me a bag here and there... I want to say it was $2.50 for a bag that contained 10-12 pieces, so roughly $.25 a piece.
As stated above, kids get stupid when they want something they cant have. Trading for food got old real fast and I realized I did not want sandwiches, I wanted more toys. I wasn't getting the offers of Transformers and GI Joes that I dreamed of. I kept getting offered food items that I couldn't possibly finish on my own. So I stopped trading for food... and one day a desperate schmuck offered me $1 for ONE candy! This was the epiphany that forever changed my life.... I didn't get allowance from my parents, BUT that didn't mean I couldn't sell candies to other kids for their allowance. Soon enough I was flipping $2.50 into $10-12 for every bag I got from my parents. At 8 years old, a hustler was born...