I Don’t Care How Cute You Are. . .

Late last week, we received an envelope in the mail from a nephew.  It was a solicitation to purchase a magazine subscription.  It was the much dreaded SCHOOL FUNDRAISER.

I remember these stupid things from when I was a kid.

If it’s possible, I hate them even more now that I’m an adult.

At what point in time did society determine it’s a good idea to make kids sell stupid shit?  I see absolutely no up-side. . .

Here, Johnny, you’re an adorable 8 year-old, why don’t you wander aimlessly around the neighborhood knocking on doors.  I’m sure the registered sex offender eight houses down, would love to purchase a shitty frozen pizza from you.

I don’t care how cute these kids are when they show up at the door, I don’t want their gift wrap, popcorn, frozen cookie dough, candy, magazines or newspaper subscriptions.

But how do I say no?

Here’s some poor kid, lured by the promise of some unattainable crappy prize (In my day it was frequently a Walkman or a teensy TV), who has taken the time and initiative to go door to door, hawking useless crap to strangers.

If I say no, am I killing a bit of their entrepreneurial spirit?

I myself vividly remember all the fund-raising sales of my own youth.  Along with the new school supplies and clothes came a new product to sell.  And each year, I’d promise myself I’d work really hard and that mini-television wouldn’t go to the kid whose parents worked shifts at the local prison and just left the sign-up sheet in the break-room for weeks on end.

This year, I was going to WIN.  The glory of stepping up on the stage in front of the entire student body to receive a special certificate and the mini-TV (squeal!) would be MINE!

I’d gather my sign up sheets, glossy product catalogues, and pen and put on my jacket and head towards the door.  At which point my Mother would start rattling off the list of neighbors I shouldn’t “bother.”  It became readily apparent, I could only sell something to my Grandparents.  But they lived across the street and even this was an issue because I wasn’t allowed to cross that damned street by myself.

Undeterred, I’d start working the phones:  Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles.  I’d beg my Mother to take the sign-up sheet to work with her, but to no avail.

She knew what I now fully understand:  No one wants this shit.

Plus, the market was completely saturated.  We lived in a small town.  At any given time, every kid was trying to sell something. . .There were soggy hoagies, and bake sales, and girl scout cookies. . .The sales force far out-numbered the number of willing buyers.

For weeks I’d lie in bed at night scheming, dreaming about the day when I’d be able to fall asleep to the glow of my very own black and white mini-TV.  I thought about marketing tactics.  I read and rehearsed the suggested sales pitches that came with the fundraising packets.  I’d obsessively add my totals over and over again.

And every year the result was the same:  No Glory.  No prize.

When I started Middle School, I had high hopes that all that selling shit was done.  I was a serious, “grown up” student now with a locker and a separate gym uniform and surely grown up students didn’t have to waste their precious time doing door to door sales.

I was sadly mistaken.  

But at least by then I had wised up:  Let the glory go to some other sucker.

I was never going to get a prize; yet, no one ever “punished” me for my lackluster sales in the past.  I always received the same benefits of the fund-raiser as the kids who sold way more junk than I ever did.

These days when I kid comes knocking, I happily say NO.  I’m not killing their entrepreneurial spirit, I’m teaching them a valuable lesson:  Why hustle, when you are still going to reap (almost) all the same rewards as the kids that work five times harder than you?  Do yourself a favor and focus on your Algebra worksheets. . .Let someone else do the hard work. . .Learn this lesson early and you’ll grow up to be a corporate rock-star!  

And we wonder what the hell has happened to our society. . .

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14 thoughts on “I Don’t Care How Cute You Are. . .

    • Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. I wanted one of those TV’s so, so, so much! I begged and begged for months. At some point, someone relented and my sisters and I each got one for Christmas. Mine was purple. I rushed to make a special spot for it in my bedroom. Imagine my disappointment when I realized I got about 1/2 of one local channel and 25 channels of “snow.” IT. SUCKED. I’ll just bet my parents were laughing to themselves the whole time they watched me move it to every possible place in the room trying to get decent reception.

      • Oh I Had it “all.” So much hilarious all. My younger sisters got “their own lines” after they nearly clawed each other’s eyes out no fewer than 1 billion times. . .I never had that luxury. I had to walk around downtown past the pizza joint a billion times hoping to find someone that wouldn’t negatively judge my unfortunate wardrobe decisions and huge hair! Ha.

  1. Courtney was’t going to get her diploma unless she sold ALL of her McDonald”s tickets for pancake breakfast, again, I bought lots of pancake breakfasts .

    • ARE YOU SERIOUS?! How is that even legal?! GAH!!!

      Maybe I should homeschool?

      Heck, we could have our own homeschooling fundraiser! Nothing fancy – We could just ask the neighbors for money. They won’t end up with a bunch of junk (or bad food) and we’ll get some money. . .for his education (of course).

  2. We never did that over in Asia, but it astonishes me how much of that goes on here! My FIL does something really bad – he over donates to my niece’s school every year for whatever fundraisers they do. So her class always gets these pizza parties and things because they always raise the most money. Funny family story, but I already told The Hubs we’re not allowing that. I just don’t think it’s right. Not sure how we’re going to break it to the FIL though. He’s just a big softy and means well, but I don’t think it’s the lesson I want to teach our child. But it must feel pretty freaking awesome to her!!!

    • He is a doting Grandfather! If I were you – which is contrary to the fact, and takes the past subjunctive – I’d probably ask Grandpa if he could help Bubbs and her classmates do a community project or pick a charity, or do something that would benefit the school – without a bunch of fanfare. I’ll bet they feel like a million bucks after all that crazy, wholesome, hard team work! 🙂

  3. We Catholic kids, back in the olden days, had to sell subscriptions to “The New World” – the Archdiocese newspaper. You can imagine what a big seller that was. AND we did it for the honor and glory of God! I worried that I was going to hell because my mother would not let me go door-to-door to sell the holy paper (I KNEW my mother was headed for the fiery inferno!)

    • Oh dear! I’ll keep this in mind should I choose to send Mac to our Catholic preschool. . .I obviously don’t need any more strikes against me in the eternal damnation arena! 🙂

  4. Personally it bothers me so much more now that they send them in the mail. At least have the children physically ask right? Blah!

    • That’s a good point. I guess maybe it’s because we live about 1.5 hours away? Who knows? All I know is I might rather pay a little more tuition or property taxes to avoid fundraisers entirely. Ha!

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