When Your Child's School Masters Hustling
From My Son's school.
Just Take My Wallet.
Last year, I received a letter from my child's school discussing the year's fundraiser. They said we could either sell 5 coupon books for $20 each, or write a check for $100 to the school. Well if I'm already shelling out $100 for the school, I may as well just buy all of the coupon books. First of all, the coupons are a scam. You get about 5-20 pages of ads with maybe one or two coupons a page. Now, that sounds bad enough except that the coupons are absolutely useless. Well, they are useless and you often forget that you have the useful ones when you would need them. It was a waste of my time, and I might as well have just given the school the check anyways.
In previous years, the fundraisers were more sneaky about the scamming. Sure you could buy a pack of cookie cutters for $5 at Walmart instead of $25 in the fundraising booklet, but you convince yourself you're doing a service to your child and his school. It's much more palatable to be ripped off when you get something in return that's tangible and useful. That $20 roll of Christmas wrapping paper was reversible and easy on the eyes. It maybe only wrapped one or two presents, but those two presents were the prettiest under the tree. There was no bullying behind it. There was no "buy this amount or die" pulpit staring you in the face filling you with guilt. One year, they had Krispy Kreme Donuts and another they had one from Little Caesar's Pizza. Those deliciously overpriced items made you forget the price tag while you ate and enjoyed them with family. I don't even mind those fundraisers they do at restaurants that you would eat at anyways, where the school gets 15%-25% of the bill donated to the school. You're not paying more on the tab, but the school is getting a cut similar to the cut they probably get from every other fundraiser.
This isn't new. When we were children they had this same business model. But back then, our parents were able to sell items at their work and it was safe enough where people could go door to door in the neighborhood to sell items. These are not the days we live in now. We now live in days where you can't sell baked goods for fundraisers because it raises health concerns. You can thank the parents that would rather feed their children junk food than be parents, helping foster an obesity problem amongst our youth for that. Those fundraisers were the best though, and I am willing to bet raised much more for the school than any other fundraisers. They definitely were the easiest to swallow.
Then there's this flyer that came home with my son today. This bully tactic goes too far. What about parents that can't afford even the $40 they are requiring? Oh they got that covered. We're allowed to make 4 $10 payments by specific dates. Also note that they give you a choice to sell items instead, where they make a leap from paying $40 to selling $100 of candles. (I covered it to protect the brand and location.) That's a hell of a leap. Most parents are going to shell that out themselves, and I love candles but I'm not sure I want to buy $100 of them. I'm not sure if I'm appalled by the audacity of them or impressed by the legal thievery that is going on for the sake of our children. I find them to be better con artists than the Catholic church, with just as apparent mismanagement of money. Why do I spend money on a list of 20 supplies my child needs every year, then have to get asked to buy more stuff every few months because the school doesn't have the supplies it needs to educate my child? Why do I then get a letter about how the school now has 150 iPads? You can afford 150 iPads, but you can't afford a few packs of pencils and pens and dry erase markers for the classrooms? Where does all this money go? I'm not blaming the teachers, they are innocent bystanders that also shell out an obscene amount of their own money for the sake of educating our children. I just think that parents should be informed on where all this money is going and why, because we are tax payers and we donate money to the fundraisers and every other thing they ask us money for because we love our children and want them to get the best education that they can.
Support Your Schools
I'm not saying that you shouldn't support your child's school. You should absolutely help out, because you don't want to be that parent that doesn't. I always go above and beyond, partly because I want to help my child's teacher not spend her whole paycheck on supplies but also because I'm afraid if I don't my son will get a look from the teacher of "why didn't your parents help out?". A parent that is involved in the school shows the teachers and your child that this is important and you mean business.
I am merely venting my own frustrations that I'm sure other parents also deal with. I see the point that the school's PTO needs money to fund events for our children to enjoy. I more am pointing out with all the money we're putting into the schools that we should know where it all goes. The teachers sure aren't making millions of dollars, though the higher ups in the education ranks make $100,000 or more. I wonder who is watching out for our children. It's similar to when the Catholic church has their annual appeals for money because they need it to help the communities and then you see them buy a $57 million cathedral and proceeds to want $50 million more to renovate it. If you need money to help the poor, how can you afford $100 million to buy an renovate a crystal cathedral?
Parents often won't mind being asked to help. People don't like being bullied or feeling like they are being bullied or forced into something. We want to make our own decisions free of any consequences. There will always be parents that can and will give more than other parents. It's a balance that has worked for years. So for next time, please give us the benefit of having faith in us.