Lock your doors, keep a protective hand on your checkbooks, and prepare your excuses…it’s school fundraiser season.
I was hit up twice over the weekend. On Friday I declined, hardening my heart against two very polite and efficient middle school girls who came to our door hawking the dreaded “magazines and cookie dough” (on their way to school, no less – these kids were motivated). Yesterday I succumbed, to a young woman who is the sister of an old friend of Middle. She hit me up for a ticket to a pancake breakfast.
The season started a few weeks ago when we started seeing yard signs and Facebook posts advertising our high school band’s big fall fundraiser. I was sure I had to be seeing it wrong. Mattresses. The marching band was selling mattresses, for Pete’s sake. Like for a bed. I’m still perplexed by this one, as I haven’t happened across any band families recently to shake them until their teeth rattled and ask “What the hell are you thinking?!?”
A mattress isn’t a purchase you make on a whim. You don’t think, “Oh, I’ll help out the kids a bit on this one” and fork over $700 for an item you spend 1/3 of your life on. And if you’ve ever had any truck with a school fundraiser, you know what a disaster it is when the ordered inventory comes in – trying to offload mountains of unwanted, overpriced #%$! to the unwilling purchasers so the teacher actually has classroom space to teach in. I was picturing a pile of bed mattresses in the gym (assuming the students sold any, which is a fairly large assumption) and an army of high school kids strapping them to their backs to walk through the neighborhoods for delivery. It boggles the mind.
Next will come a wave of coupon books, wrapping paper, trash bags, light bulbs, spaghetti dinners.
And I will say “no” to almost all of them.
It’s not that I don’t support our schools. The Husband and I supported the crap out of our schools for 16 years with countless hours of volunteer work (not looking for a pat on the back here – I did what I loved), occasional dollars toward our own kids’ fundraisers, and hundreds of tickets to performances.
I’m happy to pay taxes that support our excellent local school system. Seriously. Taxes for the benefit of our schools should be much higher. Of course, that’s a post or another day…because here in Kansas our demented governer and legislature have removed taxes from most businesses and gutted our education funding, forcing our schools to flounder.
And I do sometimes unbend when the fundraising project involves actual work on the part of the students. A car wash, a dinner or breakfast, babyisitting nights…show me a little labor and effort and I’ll toss in a few bucks for the cause.
But the sponsored extortion of selling worthless junk? It’s easy to say no to that. Especially to the programs where a company comes into the school, tantalizes the students with an assembly that shows off the amazing prizes they can win for selling crap (taking away valuable minutes of instructional time, BTW), and then sends the little darlings out to make all their friends, neighbors, and family members squirm with guilt unless they pony up. Reliable sources tell me the schools receive only 15% of the profits on these schemes. Which means a whopping 85% for the greedy opportunists who run them.
So for the next few months you’ll see me hiding behind closed doors and running from cute kids bearing shiny, full-color order forms.
Anyone with me?