Okinawa, Japan | October 4, 2022
Kubasaki High School’s CTE Business and Personal Finance and Marketing & Entrepreneurship classes visited the Foster Exchange on 9/28 and 9/29. We were hosted by Ms. Tonja Norris, Store Manager, Mr. Michael Taylor, Merchandising Manager and Ms. Sachie Yoshimoto, Operations Manager. Each class had a separate visit during their class period and had a different focus, based on the curriculum we have been studying.
For Business/Personal Finance, our students have studied budgeting and students were paired with a “roommate” and given a budget of $1,000 to purchase home items for their new apartment. This educated them in real world pricing and decision making for trade-offs in personal needs vs. wants. Considering basic furniture aside, I wanted students to have a practical understanding of name brand vs. private label brands, and how to cost compare in the store. How to be practical and make smart consumer choices. All of my students were able to complete the list within budget, however, they frequently responded with surprise at the cost of items, such as pots, pans, linens, vacuum cleaners, etc. I have attached the worksheet for your reference.
For Marketing, students interviewed Marketing/Merchandizing manager, Michael Taylor, with prepared questions about AFES approach to store layouts, sales, seasonal merchandise, in-store vendors and much more. They then completed an activity which focused on store displays and the consumer. The students were very receptive to the information provided by the managers. It gave them a new perspective on the store which they visit frequently. There were able to view the retail side of business and their finances with a different lens and have a more in-depth understanding of the issues facing retailers and how it impacts consumers.
When the Business & Personal Finance students completed their reflection exercise and presentation, they commented on their new understanding of the cost of items, how to choose from options to save money, prioritizing needs and wants. They also evaluated alternatives for getting secondhand items at first or shopping resale stores for items which they didn’t think they needed as “brand new.”
The Foster Exchange managers were terrific in gearing their presentation and store visit to each specific curriculum. Awesome job by the Foster Exchange! Even the teacher learned new things!