Thursday, September 21, 2006

It Takes a Village...

...and they all need to buy stuff from my kids. School means fundraising and fundraising means big, fat headaches for the Masked Mom.

I know a whole lot of moms who feel the same way I do. In fact, Crazy MomCat recently wrote a very well thought-out argument against school fundraising in general and against making us try to sell such useless crap in particular. I agree with practically everything she said and I would like to add a few points of my own:

---When you live in a very small town, especially in the poorest (or second poorest, depending on who you ask) county in the state, everyone reaches their purchasing saturation point much sooner than they might elsewhere. Go the first day of the fundraiser and you'll invariably find that half (or more) of the people have already been hit up by their neighbor or their nephew or some other kid canvassing the neighborhood.

---I've mentioned before that I have no contact with my mother's side of the family and basically haven't since she passed away. Fundraising is the absolutely only time I regret that lack of contact. My mother was one of eleven children--when we had fundraising to do as kids, all we had to do was put the order form on the middle of my grandmother's kitchen table and come back a few hours later. Bam--goal met, if not exceeded.

---Which brings me to my final point--in MomCat's post (as well as in other posts I've read on the subject) she mentions that most parents would probably be much happier just writing out a check than getting stuck with a bunch of ugly, overpriced, totally useless crap not to mention having to sell ugly, overpriced, totally useless crap to our nearest and dearest. I agree that most parents would prefer to do that--the problem is there are parents who don't have the extra cash to write the check (especially in the itty-bitty, poverty-stricken county I live in). And, right there, for me, is the Catch-22 of the fundraising thing. Presumably the idea of fundraising is to help out the parents and students without the extra cash, but the parents who don't have the money are far less likely to have a bunch of friends who have extra money to buy ugly, overpriced, totally useless crap. This becomes especially important in situations where the amount your child sells dictates how much you end up spending out of pocket (as with class trips in our school district).

At the moment, I'm just recovering from a pizza sale for Son-Three's soccer team (quota met, but only through the generosity (and love of pizza) of Other Kid's parents). And still embroiled in a magazine sale for Son-One's senior trip--the goal on this one is $850 in magazine subscriptions. Yeah, wish me luck.

Masked Mom, putting the F-U in fundraising since 1993-94.


  1. We are amid 2 fundraisers right now for the same kid. Once for chorus (cookie dough) and one for tennis (candy bars). Our problem is not necessarily a poor county is the fact that there are so many schools close by that everyone has "donated" recently. I should have luck putting the box of candy up front at work but haven't had much luck pawning $10 tubs of cookie dough onto my co-workers (although I admit it does make very good cookies).

  2. The cookie dough (assuming it's the same company or similar) is always a good seller around here--and I almost don't feel guilty about selling it! And candy bars are always a good seller, too.

    The too many schools/too many students thing--it's fundraising fatigue!--it's a relief to know it happens everywhere and not just in our poor town/county.

  3. Just getting caught back up on my blog reading from being out of town. I totally agree with what you're saying here. I grew up in a small town filled with people who couldn't even afford school lunches for their kids. It's too much to ask. Really. It. Needs. To. Stop. Now. (grin)

  4. Little Sis' Hubby9/22/06, 3:23 PM

    Let me explain the continuation of this vicious circle of school life. It also spills over into lives of those without kids, manifesting itself at work in the form of emails, verbal sales pitches, and posters. All this work is being done by the parent, of course. And, there are 25 parents with kids who are selling, all of whom suddenly know your name, where you sit and are armed with the 'information' that since you do not have kids, you have disposable income that can be spent on Apple Butter or some crap. Easy to decline the pitch of those whom you do not work directly with, but becomes a different game altogether when the parent is your boss, or higher up on the pay scale.

  5. Bravo there MM!!! Our one neigbor hit the whole neighborhood up at the first homeowner association meeting a week or so ago. I was pretty pissed, then she hits me up again for the same thing the other night. For his soccer team and he is 4!!! Just on principal I did not buy the damn candles she was selling for him because:

    A) You do not pimp your kids stuff at a HOA meeting.

    B) She said, again, would you like to buy a candle from Daniel, if so we will come by your house because he has to do it himself...WHAT, you just did it for him.

    C) After I said no, I did not need any candles because I and this is true buy them from a lady I know here in our small town that makes them so she can stay at home with her kids instead of having to work outside of the home.

    D) She treated me like crap after I said no for the 2nd time on the same damn candle sale.

    Watch her bring him to my house this weekend, there is no way I can say no to him....

    Better not answer the door.

  6. LSH--I know this is a day late and a dollar short (story of my life, really), but I think you may've stumbled on to a new variety of labor lawsuit--fundraising harassment, in which you purchase useless, ugly crap for fear of losing that next promotion. It's exactly like sexual harassment only there's not even a little hope that maybe the sex would be surprisingly good.