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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Three Thursday Thoughts

There is nothing better than waking up and coming downstairs at 6:30am and being greeted by your seven year old. Your adorable seven year old, who is standing on a stool at the kitchen counter and who informs you that he has made a pot of coffee. And upon further questioning you discover that it has made it correctly.

That is why he gets to wear the "I'm my mother's favorite" t-shirt today with the "Mom loves me best" baseball cap and "I am the cutest" wristband.

And when he learns to serve it to me in bed, he'll get the "Favorite Kid" permanent tattoo.


On to more important things.

What exactly is the protocol for buying fundraising crap that the children of your friends or co workers are selling?

Theoretically speaking, if you buy some cookies, or wrapping paper, or frozen pizza dough, or support someone in a walk-a-thon thing, or several of the above for the same theoretical person, is there an assumption that they will buy a tub of frozen cookie dough when your kid is theoretically selling it?

Furthermore, if you have the theoretical cookie dough sheet in your office and said fundraiser hog person comes in to the office to remind you that they are doing a walk a thon thingy, yet they decline to buy the cookie dough from you....

What would the proper theoretical response be:

1) Stammer uncomfortably, being non-committal and avoid said person for the next week or so until their walk is over

2) Say, "I don't fucking think so."

3) Give the $25 anyway, but stew about it silently and vow not to buy anything from said person again... until the next time they ask.

I think it is obvious which one I would say, and also equally obvious why I don't work in an office.

Why do we have to have these stupid fundraisers anyway? I'm not talking about the cancer walk a thons and things of that sort, to me those are in a separate category. I'm talking about the endless school, scouts, sports fundraisers where you hit up your friends and neighbors for overpriced crap so that a small percentage goes back to the school, troop, team, whatever.

I am totally willing to contribute more money to my children's activities if it means we can all stop with this. I don't want over priced wrapping paper, stinky candles, or a tub of preservative laden cookie dough, which by the way you should totally buy from me, theoretically.


To wrap up this post, I'll leave you with a snippet of a conversation I overheard between my 5 and 7 yr olds.

"Sword swallowers are not idiots. They are very talented."

"No, they are idiots. Anyone who sticks a sword down their esophagus is an idiot."

"Yeah, but they are cool."

"Yeah, you're right. But you can be cool and an idiot too."

"A cool, talented idiot."

I am glad we cleared that up. Tune in next time where they wax philosophical about why Kermit the frog is no longer on Sesame Street.


Anonymous jess said...

I so agree about the fundraisers. It gets out of hand. Our school has gone to one single fund raiser, which is called the "Halk Walk" (our kids' mascot is the halk), which is basically a walk-a-thon for the PTA, and that is our one and only fundraiser. So, we hit up the grandparents, aunts, uncles and of course the parents to pledge a certain amount per lap that they walk around the field. Since all the money goes directly to the school and there is almost no overhead, it's a great money maker.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

While that sounds like a great idea. I am left with the lingering qustion of WHAT is a halk?

10:28 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

I think she meant Hawk.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Denise said...

Hmmm...I'd have to go with # 2.

I hate those school fundraiser things. I'd rather just donate money to the school rather than but some piece of junk. At least the school would get ALL of the money.

10:44 AM  
Blogger B.E.C.K. said...

Will you be putting out a "cool, talented idiot" shirt soon? In my size? ;^)

And since my son is (so far) the only grandchild/niece/nephew in the family, said family is totally on the hook for all fundraisers!

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Alissa said...

i just hate that fundraising crap so much. there's no way i'm doing ANY OF IT. that is, unless, they're offering housecleaning services. THAT, I would buy.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Nicki said...

One of the schools near us (Note: NOT ours!! Do you need any chocolate cashews?) offers parents an option. They can opt-out of school fundraisers by paying a one-time "fee" of like $25 or something. Then they don't see or hear a word about fundraising again for an entire year. Now THAT is what *I* call a solution! Or they can go ahead with the fundraisers and convince grandma she should trade her retirement fund for a brand new passion fruit jar candle.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Kristen said...

There should be an option to "opt-out." If I give the school $50 now, will you promise not to come to my house selling peanut brittle or crappy overpriced note cards for one year?

One year (before I had spawn myself) I bought $83 worth of wrapping paper so my niece could be the "head-seller." I became the "head-sucker."

Do you have ANY IDEA how much wrapping paper constitutes $83? Wallpaper anyone?

11:00 AM  
Blogger Darren said...

Wow! Can I borrow your seven year old some time?

I've been searching for a tagline for my own blog for quite sometime now, and I think I have officially found it: "A cool, talented idiot."

11:01 AM  
Anonymous maria said...

Oh my - even my husband doesn't make coffee - I'll have to train my 7 yr old - awesome.

Agree on fundraising

On kid conversation - which wise child said you can be cool and still be an idiot - that's terrific

11:07 AM  
Blogger ktcakes said...

Hey yeah BECK! I need one of those t-shirts for my 14yr old!

my fundraising 2cents. I stormed the gates at my kids' school and got them to stop making parents sell useless crap and instead the kids did a service auction. I paid $15 to have two kids come rake my yard. $27 to have two girls wrap all of my Christmas presents etc. Make the kids actually learn about service and raising money for their own dumb stuff.

11:17 AM  
Blogger InterstellarLass said...

Do you loan out said 7 year old for weekends?

I'd go with #2. I also would contribute an extra whatever amount of money so I don't have to do fundraisers. Wait. I don't do fundraisers anyway. My kids bring the stuff home and I rebel by throwing it away. Reminds me of a story...

Sword swallowers are way cool. I'm impressed that a (5 or 7?) year old used the word esophagus in a sentence.

11:17 AM  
Blogger aka_Meritt said...


1) My husbands past (only) 2 employers over the past 16 years don't ALLOW people to bring in their kids fundraising crap so we're ok there.

2) I used to say to the door-bell ringers: I have THREE KIDS in school, sports, dance, church groups AND scouts. Whatever you're selling we've already bought.

3) I finally just put a sign on my door: NO SALES! THANK YOU!

It works. :)

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

Now, we aren't including Girl Scout Cookies in the anti-fundraising tirade are we? I may not buy anything else, but the girls across the street know where to go to meet their Girl Scout cookie quota. We must not speak ill of the cookies.

But yeah, all the rest, I agree.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Lucky me, no fundraisers in Italy! Parents are expected to fund all extracurricular activities themselves. I consider it a blessing.

Your kids are so insightful. And funny. I was laughing at the first line of that sword swallowing conversation. Yes, indeed, they are quite talented.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Nettie said...

Our school does the $25 donation thing and STILL does fundraisers. I just donate cash as the budget allows. I would just say their "cause is such a worthy one that I'd rather donate money, so the school receives the full benefit of my generousity." Said often enough, they might leave you alone. But, I do buy girl scout cookies from EVERY cute little pig tailed girl that comes in my path.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Kristie said...

I agree with EVERYONE about the fundraisers. Since I have three kids in the same elementary school, there is no way to buy enough for all of them to qualify for the lame "winners prizes" that they all want to earn. So I decided a long time ago that rather than spending $100 on crap so our school can make $7.50 in profit, I just write the school a check for twenty bucks.

I get out more cheaply, the school gets more profit, and I don't have to listen to my kids argue over which one of them qualifies to win the Scooby Doo key chain. And the biggest perk of all is that I don't have to hit friends, relatives, co-workers, or neighbors up to buy anything (which I hate doing more than anything on earth --- I am still scarred from selling Blue & Gold sausage every year in Jr. High band. I get chills from the memories of going door-to-door! And not good chills, either!)

11:23 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

So glad that your 7 year old can make coffee!! That was one of the first things I taught the kids, so that on those mornings that Santa and the Eater Bunny come there will at least be a hot pot of coffee waiting for me.

11:27 AM  
Blogger 5KidMom said...

I am totally impressed with your kids' ability to come to a compromise. I have this vision of my precious progeny fighting to the death before coming to the lovely "cool, talented, idiot" conclusion.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Karen Rani said...

Big agreement on the fundraising thing - I have a massive tub of that shitty cookie dough in my freezer which needs to be tossed, but it's holding the freezie box high enough for reaching.

Your kids are hilarious - my 7 year old son loved the birthday videos of your daughter and made me play them about 50 times last night. Too freakin' cute.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Eli's Mom said...

#2 for sure, but because I was raised with an annoying reminder to always 'be polite', I usually do #3.... BUt inside I'm ALL #2!

11:39 AM  
Blogger Tuesday Girl said...

dude, kermit is no longer on sesame street?

What the.........

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Lori said...

Love the opt-out option. I've never seen it at any of the schools my son has gone to. Now that he is in a HUGE high school we rarely get hit up. But, my response whenever someone would ask me to buy when my son was selling something was to tell them that I was supporting my own child right now.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Serra said...

I'd vote for #2--polite to them but frosty enough to get the point across. Why should you donate to their shit if they're not reciprocating?

And yeah, I'd rather donate to a cause than buy stoopid crap, with the exception of Girl Scout Cookies, cuz I loves me some Thin Mints.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I agree with serra, I can't buy enough of the girl scout mint cookies.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hate, hate, hate fundraisers. Here it's not the schools it's the baseball, basketball, soccer team, the dance class, even Sunday school! Argh!! Just let me pay. I just say no. Everyone thinks I'm evil anyway. They should have heard what I told the baseball director!

12:16 PM  
Blogger Tess said...

*wincing* as a youth group leader responsible for taking kids places parents don't want to pay for, we have to do fundraisers. but we've found a good market for selling calendars and our local pizza place has a good one too. So we stick to 2 a year and raise $3000.

*fending off the stones*

1:10 PM  
Anonymous rose said...

Wrapping paper sales raise a ridiculous amount of money for our school-$17,000. I hate the fact the kids are used to sell over priced crap. Hate it. Plus, there is an enormous amount of pressure for particiation because classrooms are given incentives based not only on how much you sell, but the percentage of kids that participate. I buy a roll from each of my kids, but don't send them out into the nighborhood or ask any relatives to buy. My husband is the boss at work and his employees would feel like they have to buy something.
I wish there was some thing to sell stuff for fundraising that didn't make me feel like I was ripping people off. The wrapping paper is very nice, but I can't see spending $7 a roll -especially when I can get last years stuff at Ocean State for $1 a roll.
I LOVE the service auction idea-cut out the middle man and give the kids real ownership.

1:39 PM  
Blogger cursingmama said...

kermit got booted off sesame street???

2:18 PM  
Blogger Me said...

Fundraisers always get out of hand. I don't know how my mom put up with them. My sister and I always went crazy with fundraisers in an attempt to win the BIG prize, which we usually did. Yeah, you sell $1000 worth of magazines, you get a limo ride to Pizza Hut... Woohoo!
I've been a lurker for awhile... love your blog!

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

Neither my husband or I work in an office (we have issues dealing with the general public!) but at my dad's work, they have a table in the employee lounge where all school fundraiser items get set out and no one is allowed to actually ask anyone to buy the stuff. My dad says it is nice because then there is no pressure on anyone to buy something if they are tight on money that week and no one gets offended when they are told "no" by said poor person.

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Claudia said...

I finally decided this year to not even think about buying any of the fundraising stuff and to not feel guilty about it. I'm sick of it all. Instead I volunteer in my son's classroom and take the kids on field trips. I don't ask my family and neighbor's to buy stuff and I won't buy their stuff. My son's school started an annual fund drive and they "expect 100% participation." Good for them. Not going to happen.

And also I wonder, Kermit? Sesame St? no longer together?

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It gets worse - at the elementary grade level it's wrapping paper; when you get to high school, it's $50 raffle tickets, $25 bowlathons and - at this level - it's mostly the parents because the kids are too cool to actually go out and sell the stuff! And the one-time fee to opt out doesn't work - that's only a one-time fee to opt out of THAT fund raiser. Just call me "fed up!"

3:55 PM  
Blogger aNNa said...

This reminds me of a pro-life group that called me at all hours in college. They would tell me the most grousome tales and then ask for money to make abortion stop. I dreaded the calls and didn't know how to make them stop. For weeks I endured them. I was afraid if I gave them money, they would want more and more and keep calling. So one day a man calls and before he can get too far into the gorry details, I ask him a question. "If I agree to give you ten dollars, will you promise to never, EVER call me again?" It took some convincing but he agreed. They wrote me nasty letters instead and ranted about where their promised donation was, because I never mailed the check. But at least they stopped calling!
So I guess it doesn't stop in grade/high school.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wait... I thought you homeschooled?!?

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only do one or two of my kids' fundraisers per year; for the rest, I just donate a flat amount of money to the school (say, $20). It's worth it!

I had a really negative, annoying coworker whom I used to buy EVERYTHING from -- overpriced tri-tip dinners, wrapping paper, pies, you name it.

It finally came time for me to ask him to buy something from one of my kids; I believe it was a $1 raffle ticket for the youth football league (my daughter was a cheerleader).

He actually said to me, "I can't. I don't support that league."

I looked him dead in the eyes and said, "Okay, don't EVER AGAIN ask me to buy ANYTHING from YOU then!" I was disgusted.

About a year later, he asked if I wanted to buy some dinner tickets. I said, "Remember the $1 raffle ticket you wouldn't buy? Yeah, I thought so."

It felt wonderful. (Normally I would pick the avoid-them-for-a-week route, but this guy was a jerk so I had no problem being assertive.)

5:31 PM  
Blogger onetallmomma said...

I totally agree about the fundraiser madness. Also, my 8 year old son wants to juggle knives and swords for a living! It must be a "boy" thing. None of the 3 girls have any interest at all in throwing sharp, deadly objects into the air...
a.k.a. onetallmomma

5:47 PM  
Anonymous wendy said...

I'm impressed by the fact that your 7 (or 5) year old used the word esophagus, and used it correctly!

When my kids were in public school, I never let them do the fundraisers, which upset them. They totally thought they were going to win the TV or stereo system. I had to remind them that they'd be lucky to win a sticker or a pencil.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

How could they not have Kermit The Frog anymore? He is the reason the show is a sucess (in my opinion anyways). I think I'll blame Elmo for that.

As for fundraising I think it depends on what they're selling and why they are selling it and how well I know this person. Since I'm pretty involved with a service organization and always seem to be raising money for the organization (Circle K) or for a particular project its annoying. Luckily my mother was one of seven children so I have a lot of relatives making it easy to hit up differant people for each one. Only my dad gets stuck giving money everytime. You should suggest they broaden their network of donators if they are going to be asking for donations so regularly.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

I'm going to just assume that fundraising office situation was a hypothetical, because if it really happened, I would be bitching about it for weeks. I'd like to say I'd choose number 2, but the truth is, I'd do number 1, while thinking number 2. That sounded slightly bathroomy, but whatever.

Anyway, thank you for your comment at Mommybloggers! That was so nice of you! And I am absolutely certain you have stripper-sized boobs and a teeny tiny waist, too. I mean, just look at your site traffic! You go, girl! :)

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

"Cool and an idiot". What a smart kid!

I am thrilled to report that my children are all convinced that "cool" kids are by definition "idiots". Why am I thrilled? Because cool kids are expensive kids, who must wear cool labels and own cool accessories and listen to cool music and get their hair cut by the cool stylist and go to the cool movies and on and on and on...

Let's hear it for free-thinking uncool kids!

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Denise said...

OK...don't laugh at me for this....

When was Kermit the Frog ever on Sesame Street? I though he was part of the Muppets. over there...yes..YOU....stop laughing at me. ;)

10:11 PM  
Blogger DollyMama said...

I pretty much refuse to do most of the fundraisers. If the stuff they are selling is stuff I wouldn't want to buy, I don't ask anybody else to either.

I refuse to make a nuisance of ourselves to our neighbors and family.

We did the Girl Scout cookies because people really seem happy to know it's time to buy them again. Everything else is pretty much out.

When people ask us to buy stuff I only buy if it's something I actually want at a price I'm willing to pay. Citrus fruit from the marching band comes to mind as something I like to get. Otherwise I just say no.

Most people understand that with lots of kids you have plenty of your own fundraisers to buy from and don't expect you to purchase from them.

Once you're known as a NO person, they ask less and less often.....

For the support of causes I care about I would rather just donate some money than buy some crappy fundraising item.

And I agree with you. I'd rather pay $100 a year and just stay out of the whole mess.

10:43 PM  
Blogger eko said...

"I am totally willing to contribute more money to my children's activities if it means we can all stop with this."

AYEMEN Sista'!

11:19 PM  
Blogger Lady E said...

My nephew goes to a very expensive fancy pants daycare. His school had him pimping entertainment books when he was 2 years old. They start them early.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous ViewFromEarth said...

Dh and I were just talking about fundraisers a few days ago as we've been hit up quite a bit lately.

My rant was: why do we contribute money to these walk-a-thons when they aren't really doing anything useful? Sure, the money is going to a good cause but the people are just walking in circles!

I stopped to think about all the time and energy going into that - everyday, all over the world - and it floored me. How about I give you $100 for picking up litter? Or visiting the elderly. Or reading to a blind kid.

Seriously - if you can walk around in a circle then you could do something truly useful *and* raise money for a good cause at the same time. Just my 2 cents.

1:56 AM  
Anonymous Maddy said...

You must have been reading my mind.
When I got into work on Thursday a girl I hardly know told me she had *put aside* a bag of sugar free candy for me from her son's school fundraiser, *only $2*. Within minutes another girl plonks down a huge box of Guide Cookies, once again *only $2.20*. That night when I was picking my son up from JuJitsu another person offers me sugar free candy for ... you guessed it ... *only $2*.
This type of fundraising is endless among my friends and work colleagues. I don't mind fundraising, it's just not compulsory to buy what's on offer in my book.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Obviously you hit a nerve here, Chris, about fundraisers. We usually refuse to participate. When you live in a small town and everyone goes to the same school(s) as your kids, who can you sell to that isn't selling the same stuff for the same fundraiser? My sister and I have agreed not to sell to one another, so that just leaves the grandparents.

But there is one good type of fundraiser that is occasionally done around here--a value card. $10 buys you a wallet size card full of tiny coupons for buy one get one free large pizza at one restaurant or buy one subway sub and get another free. This I love, because it is actually worth something. At the pizza place, which has really good pizza, I can get 2 large pizzas with one item each for $11.08. You can't even buy decent frozen pizza for that.

11:42 PM  
Blogger TulipGirl said...

If your seven year old can master coffee, I know my nine year old can. I've just been loathe to entrust the hard-to-replace coffee carafe to his care. . .

But, oh, life would be divine if my boys were bringing me coffee in bed every morning. . .

11:36 PM  
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7:41 AM  
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11:05 PM  

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