I am the harried mother of four (three of them are actual public school fund raising kids), and I would just like to tell you: 1. I hate fund raising. 2. I would like you to publish the winners of the flat screen TVs (seriously, who doesn't already have a flat screen TV - our family excluded) and mini-fridges. And, 3. I was also wondering if you could lower your expectations a little for next year.
I'll try to explain my situation to you by way of some history and a time-line and I hope you will understand.
At the end of last school year the kids' school PTA decided it would be more financially advantageous to "get out the pleading early" before all the other schools do. So, we got our fund raising packets last Friday. Now, I will preface this letter by saying: I get it. I understand the reasoning behind fund raising. I support our schools. And, I truly do appreciate the PTA. That being said, fund raising and the prizes for fund raising make me want to try on teeny tiny bathing suits when I am bloated, and with four kids, lots of mirrors, and bad lighting. And, frankly, sir - I'd like you to go with us (don't worry - you don't actually have to enter the dressing room with me - although if we don't get our flat screen TV or at least our mini-fridge I might ask you to.)
Here's my timeline to give you an insight into what a mother of four (three of them actually in public school) goes through with fund raising every year (two times a year if we're lucky!). Just in case you never had friends or kids (just sayin' - it kinda seems like you've never actually had either).
Friday - The kids get in the car truly giddy and talking in high pitched voices upon receiving their fund raising packets (I am assuming right before lining up to be released so as "not to forget to tell mom the Good News" - and yes, our kids do look like Jehovah Witnesses walking around our neighborhood soliciting). Here is just a sampling of what they were screeching,
Girl - MOM, DID YOU KNOW YOU COULD WIN A FLAT SCREEN TV??????? WE CAN FINALLY GET A FLAT SCREEN TV???????????? FOR SELLING!!!!!!!!!!! GOSH WE'RE LUCKY!!!!!!!!
Boy - MOM, ANOTHER CHOICE IS A MINI-FRIDGE. IT'S JUST WHAT I'VE ALWAYS WANTED. MOM, DID YOU KNOW I ALWAYS WANTED A TINY FRIDGE? AFTER I GET ONE, CAN YOU LET ME EAT UPSTAIRS?
Girl 2 - MOM, DID YOU KNOW THEY ARE SELLING LOTS OF STUFF, BUT GUMMY WORMS, TOO???? DID YOU KNOW I LIKE, NO LOVE, GUMMY WORMS????"
Later Friday - After we got home and they dumped all the trip-licate sheets of order forms, multiple catalogs, Parent Instructions, Helpful Hints for Selling, and Deadlines You Don't Want to Forget (thank you, Joe, for being so thorough) TIMES THREE on my kitchen table, here is a sampling of what they were saying in mostly normal voices, "Okay, we need to just sell 200 + items....Wait, mom is that two hundred or two thousand? ...to get the flat screen TV. Hmm. Well, maybe I just want the iTouch." "Mom, Kaitlyn's mom said she was going to take her packet to work with her and sell all of Kaitlyn's stuff. Can you do that? Wait. Mom, do you work?" "Mom, it says here the gummy worms cost $140.00. Or is that $14.00? Either way it seems like a deal to me." "Can we play video games now that we were good our first week back to school?"
Sometime Saturday - My oldest spent a little more time researching the prizes being offered by your company. He figured out (or read) that he needed to sell 75 items to get the coveted mini-fridge. He then told his sister she needed to sell 200 items to get a flat screen TV. This is a sampling of their pitiful conversation (spoken in hushed voices).
Boy - S., I don't think you'll be able to get a TV because I am not sure mom and dad even know 200 people.
Girl - Well, I'm gonna try.
Boy - Yeah, I'm still gonna try for my fridge. Let's divide up the people we know that we usually sell to. (They proceeded to divide up our ill-fated neighbors and left no neighbors for Girl 2. This caused a huge fight later. I will spare you the details.) We better start selling now.
In a flurry of activity (kind of resembling Christmas) catalogs were delivered Saturday to a spattering of neighbors (I am sure our neighbors love us even more than they did before and let me tell you - with four kids frequently loud, naked, and throwing balls, bullets, candy wrappers, etc. in other people's yards - we are loved in this neighborhood). Meanwhile, I started to review the information and figure out what my kids actually had a chance (in Hell) to "earn."
Saturday evening - I told all the kids how fabulous it would be to earn a 13" Loop Pencil. Here's what I sounded like (in a loud, excited voice), "Hey guys! Don't you want a 13" LOOP PENCIL? How cool is THAT? You need to sell 1-3 items. I think we can do that! That's THREE ITEMS TOTAL. I am SURE we can do that. Let's all count on a LOOP PENCIL. Shall we?"
Sunday - Joe, I am not sure where you live. But, we live in South Texas. We are having Extreme Weather and a Stage Three Drought right now. In case you are not familiar with heat: Basically, we could cook all the food you are selling on our driveway and your undies stick and slick right to your body each time you step out on your front porch. IT'S HOT. So, Sunday afternoon when all my kids decided to go hard core, retrieve their catalogs, place some orders, and get to the business of winning the flat screen TV, I really wish you could have been here. But, you weren't. So I had to sit outside and monitor their selling. It was positively joyful. They came home sweaty, thirsty and walking slowly, but with orders. Three each!
Monday evening - They had a group meeting to reassess what they might be able to win. Again, sample conversation (in somewhat defeated voices).
Boy - Well, it looks like I can't get my fridge. I am totally asking for one for Christmas. But, I am still trying for the Cell Phone Scan Radio with Light.
Girl - Yeah. I am not too sure now about the flat screen. What IS the Cell Phone thing?
Boy - I am not sure. I will ask mom.
Girl 2 - I am still asking mom to order the gummy worms. That's really all I want. And, I guess I'll take the Cell Phone thing if it has apps.
Yesterday - All of them collectively asked me, "Mom, what's a Cell Phone Scan Radio with Light?"
So, Joe, here I will digress a little and ask you, "What the %$*& is a Cell Phone Scan Radio with Light???"
Last night we were sitting outside melting slowly and monitoring orders and soliciting. Gradually my three children came back. Hot and sweaty. Here is how it went.
Boy - Mom, do you know anymore people? Do you have anymore friends?
Girl - Are we gonna get the flat screen, mom? Seriously? I was thinking we could put all our orders together? But, if we're not gonna get it, just tell us now.
Girl 2 - Mom, are you gonna ever write down the gummy worm order?
Boy - Are we gonna get to go to the Cookie Party? Do we really even want to? 'Cuz it's hot and I'm sick of selling. Also, can you really win money in that box you go in and all the money whirls around? I'm beginning to think this stuff is just kind of a scam. I am kind of all for straight donations to the school now.
Me - We are not going to get the flat screen. I do not have anymore friends. I am not ordering the gummy worms. My underwear is stuck to my rear and we need to go inside. I am writing Joe Corbi a letter tomorrow and I suggest you ask Kaitlyn to let you know how the Cookie Party goes. Time for bath!
So, Joe that's all I got. I hope you understand how I feel right now and why I was compelled to write to you. You seem like a great guy and God knows I love your cinnamon rolls, but seriously 200 items??? Next year can you remember a few things before making your glossy? We (or as I like to think of us - Average Joe American Family) are not popular (we are too busy having our kids fund raise to make more friends to buy our fund raising
Thanks, Joe! I appreciate it. And, while you're at it, a box with whirling money for parents just because would be great, too. :o)
Feeling the love,
Mother of Four (three of them being actual students)