Appleton Post-Crescent: The Reality Store at Kimberly High School looked innocent enough.
Tables filled half of the fieldhouse with volunteers stationed at each one. They helped students decide how to spend their fictional income — on cars, houses, pets, recreation and more.
Students chose their career, but little else before the exercise began. They drew numbers to find out if they had a spouse and what their spouse did for a living. Children were randomly assigned.
Post-Crescent Media tagged along with Taylor Paschen, a sophomore, as she made her way through the Reality Store last week.
Paschen worked as a marketing manager. Her husband was an air conditioning technician. They did not have any children.
She used that information to form a strategy before she entered the gym.
“I’m trying to save as much money as I can because I know there are a lot of things that come up,” she said.
The students had to visit every station.
No real-world expenses were forgotten. Students had to pay taxes, buy vehicles and houses, purchase insurance, get child care, decide whether to have pets and choose whether to go out to eat or to the movies. A police officer walked around doling out tickets for loitering. They had to go to court and pay fines or sit in jail.