In 1979, to mark April 15, the birthday of President Kim Il Sung, the production of gifts for children across the country was going full steam ahead.
On March 27 Kim Jong Il went over their samples.
He was all smiles seeing the goods in living colours and of various shapes–clothes for kindergarten children, uniforms and shoes for students at primary and middle schools, colleges and universities, neckerchiefs for schoolgirls, buttons, etc.
He said, “The President bestows great care on the students and other children of the country. They are indeed the happiest in the world.”
Then he told officials that they should make scrupulous arrangements for the supply of the clothes and shoes.
They suggested that they be sold at retail prices.
In November the previous year the state had sold winter clothes to all the children of the country at very low prices, and it earmarked a huge sum for the ongoing production.
Taking the state’s financial burden into account, the officials made the above proposal.
After a moment’s thought Kim Jong Il said:
“In my opinion the clothes and shoes should not be sold to kindergarten children and students at retail prices. Then the parents with more than four children may not afford to buy the goods at once.”
He advised that they should reconsider their plan.
After all, the proposal for selling the goods at retail prices was disapproved, and all the children of the country received clothes, shoes and school things free of charge on the occasion of the April holiday.
The coffers of the state shrank but laughter of children in new clothes reverberated throughout the country.