Tuesday, March 02, 2010

It's just one small thing

one small thing

That leads to another small thing.

And another.

Until your house is filled to the rafters with an army of small things.

That's how I feel about school fund raisers.

I probably wouldn't care in the least if I didn't have enough trouble suppressing the urge to buy things I want but don't need.

Feeling as if I HAVE to buy things that we don't need AND don't want is just painful.

But when the school hands my kid a slick sheet of paper with the picture of a furry mechanical gerbil she will "WIN" for selling 25 to 34 buckets of cookie dough (at $12 or $13 bucks a pop) it just makes me wonder about this "team work" stuff.

I mean, I believe in public education. I know things are tough and schools need money, I just really think this type of "incentive" marketing to children can only have the effect of pitting parents against schools.

That's what I'm thinking as she tells me "You are not going to like what I have to show you," just before bedtime. She's holding the sales packet in a bearhug.

I open my mouth to protest.

"BUT LOOK! IT'S SOOOOO CUTE, MOM," she croons as I squint at the picture of a toy gerbil on a pink wheel.

"Isn't that the same toy you decided AGAINST at the shop in Maine last summer?"

"People change their minds don't they?"

And then I realize ... she's right.

Here I am, saying one thing at the grocery store -- "No, we are not buying Dora the Explorer yogurt" -- and feeling I have to swallow the over-priced cookie dough at school because it's "for the kids."


christine said...

Augh! I hear you -- this is one of my pet peeves. Candles? Gift wrap? Calendar? Factory-made cookie dough? No thanks. In our district, schools have begun to smarten up, and they just ask for the cash up front at the beginning of the year, and forgo the fundraising. Which has its own issues, but it's better than shelling out the $$, AND having a house full of crap I don't want. Maybe your PTO would consider that approach?

toyfoto said...

Our PTA does offer a variety, I'll give them that. Mostly I've hidden the sales pitches for junk from her and played up the things she can actually do for money, such as reading and bowl-a-thons.

But yeah, when they offer an pay-what-you can instead of buying, I take it.

Kcoz said...

And if our corrupt politicians put a fraction of the money they GAVE to the insidious bankers, into our schools, they would not have to beg for the extra cash!


toyfoto said...

We seem to have notions that "you can't throw money at things" when it suits what we don't want to pay for.

Having said that, I'm not sure OUR school really needs the money ... not like inner-city schools do, anyway. In suburbia we have good teachers and extra curricular activities that parents largely fund.

Wouldn't it be cool if we used our "bake sales" for schools that have neither?

Carl said...

We have long refused to buy the junk for the sake of buying the junk. If it's for an activity or cause we support, then we make a cash donation in place of buying anything. I don't think we've ever had a fundraiser where the kids get prizes -- that seems bizarre to me, and dilutes the little bit of money they raise even more.

Even in the suburban schools, there are many students who can't afford to participate in some things, like class trips, and the funds raised for these activities often subsidize their participation.

toyfoto said...

I agree there are many students in wealthier districts that don't have the money for activities. I also think there will be more people who used to have the money and just don't any more.