Monday, September 15, 2008

This is Why They Don't Put Me in Charge: I'm Such a Downer


School has been in session for just over a month now and fall is rapidly approaching which can only mean one thing: FUND-RAISING SEASON! And it's on like Donkey Kong. It all started innocently enough with the PTA and PAC membership drives before school commenced. But that's to be expected. The photo above is an actual photo [no stunt papers or manila folders were used in the creation of this post] of fund-raising paraphernalia ONLY [as in: separate from all the other school related memos and such] that is taking over my kitchen table. Our fund-raising schedule, let me show you it:

  1. Camp Read-Aloud: For $5 a head you can get a hot dog and a drink then travel from tent to tent one fine evening on the elementary school campus and have stories read to you. Would your family also like to host a tent?
  2. Magazine Drive: This organization descends upon the junior high with promises of such prizes as a chance to spin the money wheel, a limo ride to some Disney something-or-other, a trip in the mobile video game trailer, or an iPhone! They DO inform the children that they're going to have to sell about eleven-seventy magazine subscriptions to even qualify for the grand prizes but what they fail to instill is that there are parents out there like Mr. Farklepants and I who won't take this thing to work or every Tom, Dick, and Harry and solicit every random person we've ever met. So the prize the child is most likely to win is a blinking plastic ring or a key chain that farts.
  3. Fall Carnival: This elementary school event is threefold. And possibly four and fivefold as well. First there is the carnival itself which is $7 dollars per person to attend. This price includes access to unlimited games, inflatable thingamajiggies, a DJ for your listening pleasure [often with inappropriate music, wtf Drop it Like it's Hot?], however...
  4. It does not include the catered bbq. That's an additional $7.50 per person.
  5. In addition there are the raffle tickets that are to be sold prior to the carnival to enter the drawing to win things like big screen televisions or a cruise to Mexico. Raffle tickets? $5 a pop [better than last year's $10]. Five dollars is kind of a lot for a slim chance to win a kick ass cruise, dontchya think? The raffle tickets also put you in the drawing for the other fund-raising item...
  6. A themed basket. Each room is tasked with creating a gift basket filled with items donated by the parents. Often it becomes only a few of many families that end up making a contribution and the room mom is left to either make do or contribute the remaining items herself. Sucks to be you, Room Mom!
  7. The themed basket is then up for silent auction during the fall carnival. I mean, those that aren't designated for the drawing.
  8. You mean you need cakes donated for the cake walk too? Is store bought okay, because seriously, have you tried my cake?
You can't solicit your neighbors because they're all, "um, our kids go to the same school and we've got our own shit to hock which is the very same shit so get off my front porch". And after you've exhausted all your friends, family, and co-workers with the magazine drive they're not likely to want to participate any further. And you don't have the nerve to ask unless you're insane.

It's all become so complicated. I needed an advanced degree just to fill out my magazine subscription order. Even our grocery store receipts cannot escape. Someone will be out front to collect them at drop off. To hell with school spirit...Can't we just write one big check to cover it all and be done with it? Can we please stop dangling cheap plastic farting carrots and trying to turn our children into little Glengarry Glen Rosses?

So I'm bitching about all of this [as is my way] to my esthetician while she waxed my brows Sunday morning and she's all, "Give me a break! I've got back to back appointments to remove hair from unspeakable places ON THE SABBATH so please spare me! My relationship with the Lord is in jeopardy"... maybe she didn't really say that but there was a look. I can't help how I interpret these things.

Man, I wish they were selling chocolate bars though. Because I'm totally PMSing which is going to make that well woman check up tomorrow quite the adventure.

51 comments:

Your Pal Pinki said...

Chocolate is good, though we usually end up paying out of pocket for a good portion of the goods.

Naomi said...

If we DO just write a check at the beginning of the year, will they leave us alone?

Great post.

calicobebop said...

We used to sell sausage and sausage related accessories. Come to think of it, that might explain why I was so boy crazy! Stupid fund raisers!!

seachange said...

Two options Tootsie:

1. Just say "No".

2. Write a check (and include this Blog post) to the PTA right now & be done with it.

Tell your kids there is plenty of time in their lives to learn the secrets of getting people to give money when they realy don't want to. :-)

O'Neal (The woman in charge around here) said...

Thank GOD our school came to their senses and just asked for a flat out check vs the fund raising chaos (that was AFTER the (rotten)orange selling incident). Now they just tack on an extra $15 fee on every month's tuition (called an "activity fee"), multiply by 10 months...can I order some chocolate please? And where will I get my wrapping paper?

All I have to bitch about is the Scholastic order forms that come home and EVERY teacher for EVERY subject stapling on their "recommendations" (MANDATORY books & practice software for home computer use). And those are NOT in the 99 cent sale section!

Karen said...

Ooooh, the nerve you've struck. My kids are selling $9 candles right now. If I buy one from each boy it $18. I am calling the PTO today and asking about just writing out a donation check for $20 and if it would count toward the boys sales for the class selling contest. If she says NO I'll smack her into next fund-raising year.

Auds at Barking Mad said...

Damn, we went around selling those tubes of tootsie rolls that turned into penny banks, when we were kids and called it good. I think one year, when I was older, they sold Hickory Farms stuff, but it turns out the only people gave a rats about that stuff were the senior citizens.

I say all this as I sit here and look at the pile o' crap that came home with my TWO year old from Montessori last week. And there isn't a bit of chocolate to be found. That's Maine for ya!

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain! What's bad for us is that we've got nieces/nephews at the same school...hence both sets of the grandparents have to spread their "donations" around between their different sets of grandkids.

Nut Nut said...

It doesn't end with school. The same stupid fundraiser things happen ALL YEAR LONG where I work. Each department is expected to come up with several if not many (which means I don't know the exact amount) fundraising events (except for mine, I so lucked).

I get hit up to buy tickets all year long: clam chowder in a bread bowl lunch (during the summer, the season of choice for clam chowder), nachos, bagels, dim sum brunch, ice cream sundaes, strawberry short cake, etc.

So now I'm really sad to realize in a few years, when my wee one lands himself in elementary school, not only will I have to fend off people at work, I'll have to deal with school fundraisers as well.

Actually, his daycare does them too, I just selectively ignore them since I pay almost 400 bucks a week for them to take care of my child.

monica said...

esthetician - the first time i heard that word i was visiting my mom and she looked at me, kind of squinted, and asked, "have you ever considered an esthetician?" i was like, "oh, i hadn't given it any though." and at the first opportunity i looked it up at in an online dictionary. and spent the rest of the visit rubbing on my eyebrows.

oh, and the last school my kids were out you could buy your way out of fundraisers. it was lovely and only $25 bucks a kid!

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

Yup. Our school: Monthly Market Day (kind of like Schwans)

Fall Carnival - raffle tickets, silent auction, gift baskets, classroom booths, prize redemption center, dinner, decorations, etc.

cookies in December

box tops

And each one sends home about 5 zillion sheets a week.

And this doesn't even touch the fund raisers each SPORT they are involved in has as well.

KEEP BELIEVING

Marmarbug said...

It is RIDICULOUS about the fundraisers.
I hate the wrapping paper one. For the low price of 12 dollars you cna buy paper to wrap one gift!
Then the cookie sales, pizza sales, the list goes on and on.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Okay! "No Fundraising" now makes my list of Top 10 Reasons to Be One of Those Homeschool Crazies. Thanks!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You can just write a check and not participate. That's how I rolled and I lived to tell about it. They still send home the crap, but I put it in the recycle bin.

MamaHenClucks said...

Oh how I hate fundraisers, too! Our school actually sent home a note the first day that read something like this:

"If you would NOT like the fundrasising packet sent home with your child this year, check here.

If each child came to school with a $75 check, no fundraising would be needed. If you opt out of the fundraising this year, it is strongly encouraged that you send in a check made payable to. .. ."

I am not kidding. Although, that is exactly what I did!

All Adither said...

Fruit Bat's school just asks for a big ol' check and they're done with it. I like that approach so much better.

Mrs. G. said...

Another reason I am happy to have homeschooled kids. But I still buy my share of wrapping paper and Easter lillies.

~annie said...

Yes, please let me write the check. Please. Who are we kidding? When we buy our own crap and everyone else's, we end up paying more.

Instead of buying big boxes of sticky buns and cookie dough for the little league, I took the option of writing the check. I don't think anyone could get mad at that. At least they gave us the option.

Now Girl Scout cookies, that's one I look forward to. But there I'm a buyer, not a seller. I practically begged my little neighbor for them last year. I was turning down offer after offer and saving myself for her and she took her good old time bringing me my thin mints, shortbreads, chocolate shortbreads... Next year, first brownie at my door wins.

Heather of the EO said...

As a kid, I would buy one fund-raising chocolate bar per day on the bus. The kind with caramel in it that oozed out-oh yum.
You are stressing me out with all this fund-raising talk. I hate it.
Yes, I will simply write a check. Maybe.

g said...

Those chocolate bars aren't very good either - that's the worst part.

I need my brows done too!!!! And I don't have time!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Retired teacher's point of view--we hated this, too. They get the kids all jacked up at an assembly. The kids come back to the room and 25 ask the teacher if she will buy something from them.We were just the messengers sending this crap home--not the pimps. Oh--and we got to take care of all the paperwork that went with it. No money left behind.

Baby Favorite said...

The only fundraiser I like is the candy bar one. For obvious reasons.

For my daughter's cheerleading, we're getting ready to sell Yankee candles. I am so screwed. (Same reason as the chocolate, except we're not talking about dollar candy bars here. I should just have my paycheck directly deposited into the Yankee Candle Company for this one.)

anglophilefootballfanatic.com said...

There's just so much fun to be had with fundraisers. Golly gee. I hate them.

MamaMo said...

It irks me to no end that our schools have to bribe our kids into peddling crap just to earn some extra money for cultural enrichment activities/supplies. I made it clear early on with my girls that we DON'T DO fundraisers - I support the schools in every other way I can, but that stuff goes in the recycle bin.

scargosun said...

Rugalach and tea on my monitor b/c of the Sabbath and wwaxing comments. TFF

Kiki said...

It never ends. I have "coupon" books for places I'd never go to and wrapping paper for presents I never give.

At least it's good to know I'm not alone.

merlotmom said...

I have the same stack of magazine papers on my table. Along with the gift wrap stuff. The first year I had my entire family buy but then I went broke shipping all their stuff to them on the East Coast. So now, my kids complain because I'm their only buyer and all they get is some shit little magnifying glass that breaks in their backpack on the way home. I'm sorry - I hate being rejected by the neighbors. I'm just not strong like that.

Lisa Milton said...

I knew I wasn't the only one. Why do we continue to torture ourselves with this crazy.

*sigh*

Now excuse me while I go through my own slush pile o' money makers.

Swirl Girl said...

I - as a PTA maven and treasurer - do not DO fundraisers from outside sources.

I'd rather write a check to the school because 100% stays there as opposed to some crack vendor making 50% of the profit for some crappy cookies or magazine or chocolate or whatever.

We figured out that each of the roughly 400 families at our school spends up to $250 on each of their children who attend. So much for 'public education'

Mamasphere said...

We're just a year away from fundraisers becoming a regular part of my daughter's education. But I am ALWAYS okay with candy bars and wrapping paper. Those I look forward to. The others, not so much.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

So, my older kids went to a school at which parents could make one $200 donation at the beginning of the school year and parents then got a Get Out of Jail Free card in that their kids did not have to participate in any fundraisers. Yeah, baby. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry want a $1 donation. Here was my favorite: Moms who collected princess costumes to send to girls in New Orleans a weel after Katrina. I swear. I threw up in my mouth a little, because, really, what does every homeless girl need but a princess costume. I know the thought was well intended, but still. Just saying.

JoeinVegas said...

Keychains and carrots that fart? I'm in - where do I sign up?

Christine said...

I'm with you. Tell me how much you expect me to raise and I'll just stroke you a check. Then we can all get back to our lives.

Frantic Home Cook said...

Oh, sister, I hear ya! I blogged about this very thing a couple day ago. (http://frantichomecook.com/life/all-the-rest/its-official-school-is-now-my-second-job/)

On the SECOND day of school, both kids brought home packets of stuff to sell. And wouldn'tcha know? They'd already been pulled out of class to listen to an assembly how they CAN win this iPod if they just sell 200 of these worthless gadgets! Actually, we know the parents do the work and the same kids win every year. I completely resent it! Just let me write a check and put my kid back in class so she can learn!

Colleen said...

I don't even want to think about fundraising after all the fundraising I did in Band for new uniforms or trips or new instruments. ugh! Then add in National Honor Society raising funds (for what?...I don't know...those fancy dime-sized pins they gave us that we never wore?). I'm glad that the powers-that-be at least had mercy on us nerds and gave us chocolate to sell. Nothing worse than trying to pawn off subscriptions to "Good Housekeeping" when you're wearing an old, ill-fitting band uniform, your retainer, and talking about the next Mathletes competition.

So if your powers-that-be get smart adn start selling food and chocolate, I might be game for a case of those old Caramel bars! :D

mysecondjournal said...

Friday our mom's club hosted a pick a purse party. I donated a $45 purse and walked out w/ a Coach and 2 other purses for $125..they also fed me...and had about 438 open bottles of wine. THAT is a fundraiser. (catholic school)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oh my. Good luck. Mr. D and I used to be DINKs living in a small town where everyone was related AND all the neighborhood kids went to the parochial school. They'd gang up on me at 4:30 when I'd come in for the day. They'd return at night for Mr. D. We'd have a constant caseload of pizzas/frozen cookie dough/bad chocolate/whatever because we were easy targets.

Lisa said...

I immediately return all fundraisers to the school. I only will participate in the ones in which 100% of the money goes to the school. For example the 100 book challange where you donate a certain amount for each book read or the Red Ribbon Walk where we donate a certain amount for each lap completed. I cannot handle all the selling stuff. Besides, I bug EVERYONE in the neighborhood and in the family when it comes time to sell Girl Scout Cookies.

Jaci said...

While Camp Read Aloud sounds all cute in theory--I can't imagine sitting through it. What if that one kid who can't read right is in a tent stumbling over words and taking 10 awkward minutes to read a sentence? The horror. What if you start laughing and snorting and have to make a run for it before you emotionally scar the kid?

Put me down for two farting key chains and...um...do you have Cosmo? No? Glamour? Redbook?!? Fine. Put me down for stupid Woman's Day. I guess. :(

Amy said...

Wow. We don't have it that bad. (Although we only have 1 in the school now) We just got the Joe Corbi's stuff sent home today.

And what ever happened to selling those candy bars. Those were the best things ever!! And they sell themselves - you take them into the office, sit them out, and people just buy them! No selling involved!!

Maybe I should join the PTA just to suggest the candy bar thing and then quit :-)

Lulu said...

My solution to school fundraising? A one-time donation from me to the school. The fundraising crap can go in the circular bin!

Kaye Butler said...

My nephew tried to sell me $26 FLIP FLOPS of course with the school logo...they better have the Coach logo for that much...

Patty said...

The local high school got it right. The flyer states...
KIHS PTSA needs your support!
Membership dues are the only source of income for KIHS PTSA.
We will never ask you to sell wrapping paper, pizzas, or candles!.....
$20 and no stress. I may even send this in soon.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

It's a slippery slope...

If we reject the fund raising on its principles, then we look like we don't care about the school.

On the other hand, if they offer me the option to just "write a check" I would be pissed off. I mean, I have 3 kids in private school. I pay a butt-load of tuition. I am SO not going to give an extra $150 or $200 per kid just to avoid fund raisers.

Plus, like one mom said, when we buy candles/magazines/sausage/wrapping paper, only a portion of the money goes to the school. If the candle is $9, and the school would get $4.50, how about I just give the school $5 and call it a day? But even if my kids sold stuff they wouldn't sell $200 worth of stuff!

I hate it. It is one more way to feel pressure as a parent. It's not enough that you are ACTUALLY SPENDING QUALITY TIME with your child, you have to also give their school all your money too.

Ringleader said...

I don't mind my girls selling Girl Scout cookies because it is fun and people practically beg for them so I don't feel like we're imposing on people. The rest of it is crap though and I've started just doing the flat donation too. I would love to just see a single envelope come home that says, "place optional donation in any amount in here and return" and see how much comes in... I'll bet the PTO would be surprised at how many people would be so grateful NOT to get a big packet that they sent in big, fat chacks!

Maggie, Dammit said...

Wrapping paper. We have to sell a bunch of $8 rolls of wrapping paper to the exact same people we sold a bunch of $8 rolls of wrapping paper to last year. Which basically means we have to buy a bunch of $8 rolls of wrapping paper and shove them under our bed with all the other $8 rolls of wrapping paper from years gone by.

*SIIIIIIGH*

Sue said...

Your carnival sounds like our auction. Donate items. Contribute to the class theme basket. Buy tickets for $50. (Pay a babysitter, of course.) Pay for drinks, raffles, door prizes. BUY all the stuff at the auction. Last year, I was out over $500. And that doesn't include all the wrapping paper I bought for the other fundraiser. (Did I mention this is a private school to which I already pay a lot of money in tuition?)

Sue said...

I just read the comments and I have to say... the Scholastic Book Fair? Would be great if they stuck to selling BOOKS instead of video games and all the other plastic toy crap. And of course if the books didn't have Hannah Montana and Zack and Cody in them. Most of the books are great, and a good price, but that is never the stuff my kids want. It's a battle every time. (Which I win, but really, so unnecessary.)

Insta-mom said...

You'd hate being a high school teacher. In addition to doing my own children's elementary school fundraisers, I have every student of mine asking me to buy their cookie dough/Carl's Jr. books/popcorn for their club/team/organization. It's insane.

Minnesota Matron said...

This is part of that whole 'you live to serve children' mentality, imagining a world where we care and have time for this. Ugh! The Matron is on your team. She just writes a check & opts out.

Mel, A Dramatic Mommy said...

Our PTO has told us the exact amount they need to raise this year and I'm sure it was to guilt us into buying more.

I do remember selling chocolate when I was in school. It was be Helen Grace or Mary Grace... something Grace and the peanut butter one was SO good!

Damn now I want chocolate!