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Have I got an overpriced roll of wrapping paper for you

My 13-year-old daughter just got braces, which means I am officially poor. So I was doubly dismayed by the stack of fundraising envelopes piling up on my kitchen table this week.

It’s the season for selling lame wrapping paper, stinky candles and cheap chocolate to my neighbors and co-workers. Can I interest you in a one-year subscription to Predator Xtreme hunting magazine or a multi-tool keychain that will get you tackled by TSA at the airport? 

If I can guilt enough of you into buying something you don’t need then my daughter can get a pass to avoid doing homework for one night.

Now there’s a cause we can all get behind.

Where does this money go? They never specify. I know it’s not for classroom supplies because I’ve already purchased three boxes of wipes, two jars of hand sanitizer, a set of markers, copy paper and several Kleenex boxes for my kids’ teachers, not to mention the $40 ceramics fee, the $4 musical theater fee and the $20 science lab equipment fee. 

It’s not that I don’t want to help my kids’ schools or clubs. It’s just that I’ve never been comfortable with squandering the good will of my friends, neighbors, and relatives on over-priced, under-quality fundraising catalog items to benefit my children. Shouldn’t that be my job? 

Whatever happened to car washes, cake walks and spaghetti suppers – the kind of fundraisers where the kids actually did the work and the money went directly to the cause, not a for-profit corporation making 50 percent on the dollar from their cheesy products? 

A parent has to buy an $11.50 collapsible microwave plate cover just so the school gets $5.75. Can’t I just write a check and give it directly to the school?

I’ve reached such a state of burnout that this year I have vowed to stop soliciting my neighbors, relatives and colleagues. Instead, I’ll buy the cheapest item I can find and consider my work done. Homework pass be damned.  

But don’t think you’ll get off that easy. Girl Scout cookies go on sale in four months.