Monday, April 19, 2010

How those annoying school fundraisers your kids are always bringing home got started.

- At the wrapping paper plant -

- Sir, we just received the quarterly report and our sales are way down.

- And why would that be, moron?

- It's the gift card industry man. It's booming!

- Hm. Yes, you're right. No one wraps gift cards, and even if they did, it takes very little paper. Not only that, but everyone is buying online.

- And Earth Day is coming up. No one uses paper around Earth Day. We're so screwed, Sir.

- HOLD ON! I just had a thought. Who is ALWAYS needing money?

- My X-Wife?

- No, think BIGGER.

- Not sure if there is anything bigger than my X-Wife, Sir.

- No, I am talking about millions big. Maybe even billions. I'm talking about the P... T... A... !

- We can't gift wrap the PTA, Sir. It's just not feasible. Not with all the cookies they eat at those meetings and their giant minivans.

- No no, moron. Here's what we do: We have kids - like elementary school kids - go door to door and sell our wrapping paper for us. We mark it up, like double what it's worth, and the school earns a small profit.

People simply can't turn down a mopey kid with a desperate face and a goofy haircut on their doorstep.

- It's brilliant Sir. But I have only one question: How are we going to get these kids to sell our cruddy, overpriced wrapping paper for us?

- Simple. Two ways: 1. We guilt the parents into thinking that every child at the school will be left behind and no one will go on a field trip ever again. 2. We bribe the children with cheap toys.

- What kind of cheap toys?

- Well, it could be based on how much they sell. Say they sold one roll - we'd give them like a smelly pencil or something. If they sold more than five rolls of paper, we'd give them the smelly pencil AND a coupon for a free Frosty at Wendy's.

- Amazing Sir. Simply genius. What if they sold like 50 items?

- Ah yes, the overachieving, overly-competitive type... and their kids. They are our best salesmen! We'll give them the smelly pencil, the free Frosty AND a they get a pizza party.

- Sir, a pizza party?

- Yeah, Little Caesars has it hot and ready. But one slice only per kid. ONE SLICE ONLY!

- Smart. But what about the kid that sells the most rolls?

- We'll give them a ride in my limo. My driver will love it. We'll throw down the plastic on the interior and let them have at it.

- So much wisdom you possess. I only have one other concern Sir: Going door to door is dangerous for little kids. What if the schools don't fall for it.

- Interesting quandary, but I've already thought it through...

We have their MOMS take the crap to WORK and endlessly annoy their coworkers to buy it for the sake of future of their children.

There could even be a list when they sell it to their coworkers. "Look at Bivins. He bought like 6 boxes." There will be so much guilt, everyone will buy!

- I'll have these lists run immediately.

----------------- 10 years later ---------------------------------------------------

- Sir, the wrapping paper is not selling again, even with our guilt tactics and cheap bribes.

- Hm. Interesting. Have you ever thought about the cookie dough industry?


Kristina P. said...

My coworker just did the cookie dough fundraiser. Always stick with cookies. Always.

MiMi said...

And now I know why they sell wrapping paper!! Sheesh, it was right in front of me all along!

See Mom Smile said...

Soooo glad you got to the bottom of that conspiracy. We are those horrible parents that don't help with fundraisers. Another thing they can go to therapy for.

Mamma has spoken said...

Uhm, our PTA has done away with these sales and have gone on to the next big rip off, I mean fundraiser. It's called Market Day. As in they have you order overpriced frozen food items once a month which they tell you that you can claim the overage as a tax deduction but there's the twist. You have to know the 'value' of the overprice food which why would you pay more for food than you have to?

Susan Tipton said...

My personal favorite is the really stinky overpriced candles in ugly jars. If it's overpriced it should at least be fattening.

Mayhem and Moxie said...

You are hilarious! I loved this post and do believe that you are correct. This madness had to start somewhere and I am pretty sure you are spot on.

Long live the cookie industry!

~j. said...

From my kids' dance studio:

"In order to encourage our neighborhood children to establish healthy eating habits and have healthy lifestyles, I see only one option for our fundraiser: our girls shall sell reward-type cards to Krispy Kreme."

~j. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bossy Betty said...

We hated these fundraisers. We usually bought mass quantities of the stuff so we would not inflict the pain upon our friends.

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

Hmm, wrapping gifts in cookie dough? I guess you can get a kid to sell any idea nowadays.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Evil, huh?

rebecca said...

I can turn down a's just those mothers that won't take no for an answer! :)

Lene said...

I knew it had to be something like this.

This year we cut out the middle man and made a donation right to the school and bought our own crappy toys to give to the kiddos. A win, win, win situation!

Vanessa said...

I'm totally sure that is how it all went down.

And then it filtered to baseball teams, band fundraisers and dance teams.

They need to bring back the chocolate bunnies.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Hilarious! I bought like $100.00 worth of cookie dough off some friends last year. My kids are home-schooled so I miss out on a lot of the fun.
I added you to my list of Thought Provokers so I'll know when you update. Thanks for the compliment on my DSotM blog!

shortmama said...

That is so dead on!

The Empress said...

Ugh. I hate the magazine ones.

Just ask us for a check, anything is better than this stuff.

järnebrand said...

"There will be so much guilt, everyone will buy!"
Well, I think you nailed it... I could relate to this.
Cookie dough? Really? Why would anyone want to buy cookie dough? It's a strange world.

imbeingheldhostage said...

This was brilliant! I laughed all the way through it. X wife--hilarious.

Fortunately for my hips we left just as the cookie dough was taking off...

Alicia said...

so glad our school stopped selling that crap! girl scout cookies are one thing...that's a must...but cookie dough i have to bake myself. PASS!

ScoMan said...

Now I know how that stuff makes it into my office.

Although usually they're selling chocolate.

Please don't tell me the chocolate industry is struggling!

brermomo said...

Just donate the money to the program and forget about all the junk! If everyone did that, we wouldn't have to worry about any fundraisers. But, then Cheesefellow wouldn't have a column.

Glamazon said...

hahahaha, soooo funny. I freaking hate fundraisers. When the kids come to my door, I just write them a check, and have it go directly to the school, instead of buying useless crap :)

tammy said...

This was brilliant.

My fave line? "We can't gift wrap the PTA, Sir. It's just not feasible. Not with all the cookies they eat at those meetings and their giant minivans." totally made me laugh. They do have giant minivans.

No way will I spend a fortune on wrapping paper, but cookie dough? I am all over it. It's perfect for all those cookie dough emergencies (ie PMS).

NerdyRedneck Rob said...

Yes, see how "the man" lies to us!!

They told us there are child labor laws to protect our wee ones against exploitation but NooooOOOOooOOO. We have the little ones out there slaving ways for hours on end for a friggen 99 cent FROSTY.

@See Mom Smile - I LOVE your attitude!

Queenie Jeannie said...

I used to buy it so my kids were off the hook. Now I send the "packet" back to school, with a note saying no-can-do!!!

Now if the teacher asks for supplies for her classroom? I'm on it - pronto!!!

Melinda said...

I totally don't do the fundraisers for my kids. I try not to be supportive of school activities at all...

Anonymous said...

Well, there was literally a dancing cow on my child's campus last week, advertising for their chick-a-filet fundraiser. The whole thing sickens me! I don't remember my school experience being this commercialized.

Hutch said...

I always wondered about this! Good to know :)

C'est La Vie said...

hahaa this made me laugh, i'm not a parent but i hear ya!

tammy said...

I would rather take my son to the dollar store and let him buy as many of those "prizes" as he wants, than force these fundraisers on people.

Jillybean said...

You have no idea how much I loathe these fundraisers.
I know it's tacky to link to one's own posts in the comments, however, I wrote about this a few years ago, with an alternate fundraising idea.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Oh.My.Heck! (No, I'm surprisingly NOT from Utah)
So very, very true! If one more kid comes to my door to sell me cookie dough, so help me I'll... (insert elevator music here)...!!!

Cheeseboy said...

@ Kristina - Cookie dough is better than wrapping paper.

@ Mimi - Glad to be of assistance.

@ See Mom - Well, include me as a parent AND a teacher that hates these fundraisers.

@ Mama - Ha ha! Sounds like a rip off.

@ Susan - Oh, the candles. How could I forget the candles?!

@ Mayhem - thanks and long live carmel too!

@ J - Now that is clever marketing.

@ Bossy - You probably still have wrapping paper left.

@ Rawkn - Just you wait!

@ Alex - pure evil.

@ Rebecca - Well, we all know the mothers are doing all the sales anyway.

@ Lene - Almost a win win win. We already have way too many crappy toys hanging around our house.

@ Venessa - Yep! Just ask my YW President wife.

@ Green Eyed - You got suckered for $100? What did that buy, 4 rolls?

@ Shortmama - dead on is my middle name.

@ Empress - yep, the magazines are the worst.

@ Jarnebrand - They don't sell cookie dough in Sweden? Oh, that's right... Sweden is still normal.

@ hostage - I am so happy for your hips.

@ Alecia - I am with you! Girl scout cookies are a whole other story. Samoas. mmmm

@ ScoMan - well, according to all these women, it appears the chocolate industry is doing just fine. Glad to hear they have this crap going on down under too.

@ Margaret - I need my column!

@ Glamazon - You are doing the right thing in my mind.

@ Tammy - Thanks! I worked forever on that line. Now, I know nothing about PMS, other than you are probably right.

@ Nerdy - A kid will chop off a limb for a free frosty.

@ Queenie - That is awesome. You are doing the right thing.

@ Melinda - Fundraisers are fine, some are just better than others that are no good at all.

@ onlyyou - are you sure it was for Chick-ful-A? Maybe it was just a dancing cow?

@ Hugh - No problem. I think I need to start a Wikipedia page actually.

@ C'est - Well, next time someone approaches you to buy paper, you know what to tell them.

@ Tammy (part II) - I think the Dollar Store prizes would be better.

@ Jilly - EVERYONE should read Jilly's post as well. Especially if you hate these fundraisers.

@ Serene - Elevator music has the best swear words.

Krista said...

Our PTA just asks a donation of $10/child. Then you don't have to buy useless stuff that's killing our planet. What they should sell is useful stuff, like gas masks - in all different colors. I think I'm on to something! Thanks for the visit!

Sco said...

Great post! Your following is impressive, Cheeseboy - 35 comments and counting. And you hit this topic right on. I'd rather just write the school / PTA a check for the $5 they make off my $15 purchase of crapola, and not have to get the crapola. And then I'll get a Caesar's pizza for the kids for dinner. If only it worked that way...

Teachinfourth said...

At my school, the kids who sold a million or more tubs were allowed in the 'money machine.' Just like that game show where the person inside that phonebooth-shaped box has the opportunity to grab as many bills as they possibly can in ten seconds.

I think the kid with the quickest hands came out with something like $24.

She was thrilled...

Powdered Toast Man said...

That was good stuff. I love when you do these kinds of posts. I learn so much.

mama-face said...

ha. the wrapping paper gig didn't last long around here...cookies however, are another story.

Vagabond Teacher said...

Mr Burns has got to be involved in this somehow...

Tammy said...

Oh my gosh Abe! You are so dead on with this! And I've been suckered into buying both cookies AND wrapping paper . . . . from your oldest child!

Green-Eyed Momster said...

I think I bought 10 tubs. 6 chocolate chip cookie and 4 snickerdoodle.

Money well spent!