October 2, 2009

Fundraising Coupon Books




"What are you doing right now?"

This is how my friend Tina started our phone conversation last night.

I had a bad feeling that my answer would be insufficient to escape whatever form of manual labor was needed.

"I'm reading Dante's Divine Comedy," I replied.

Tina let out a loud snort before demanding my immediate presence in her kitchen.

Ten minutes later, I descended into Hell by way of 27 boxes of coupon books.


Tina claimed to be high on St. John's wort when she volunteered to head up the Fall fundraising campaign at our children's elementary school. She had an official committee at some point, but during the first planning meeting successfully alienated all of its members by refusing to allow them to chain smoke in her living room.

"You're my only hope," she told me.

I liked the idea of being a good Samaritan, so I took Tina's plea for help seriously. I also like Italian cream cakes and finally agreed to help my friend if she agreed to make me one with extra frosting.

"I need you to number all of those books," Tina said, pointing to Mount Everest.

The seemingly simple task of labeling 634 coupon books was made difficult by the fact that it required me to count in consecutive numbers past 100.

"Crapola!" Tina shouted after she inspected my work. "You skipped number 232 and labeled at least two other books 313."

Without further ado, I was relieved of my responsibilities and demoted to bagger. I spent the next several hours putting individual coupon books into individual plastic shopping bags. According to Tina, every student in the elementary school would been sent home with a book that contained coupons and special offers that could be readily be found on the Internet and in mailbox circulars. There was absolutely no obligation to purchase the books. Parents who kept the books would be charged $25 and entered into a lottery to win a dinner at a local steakhouse. Those who returned their books would be accused of being cheap and having no school spirit.

Flipping through one of the books gave me a good idea. What if I ripped the only good coupon--a BOGO Chick-fil-A offer--out of each book?

Tina rolled her eyes and informed me that I would have to be more creative. That had already been done by a member of last year's committee. So had stealing 25 books and selling them on Craigslist.

My heart sank. What would be my contribution to this year's catastrophe?

Tina eyed me suspiciously and crossed herself. Then she muttered something I couldn't understand in Italian.

"I've decided that I'm not going to send any coupon books home with your kids," she said suddenly.

I felt excluded, hurt, and betrayed. Once the cloud of indignation cleared, I realized that my kids would not be sent home with coupon books. That's when I saw Virgil. He was standing, arms outstretched, by an aquarium of sea monkeys in Tina's kitchen.


"Welcome to Paradise," he said.


32 comments

AzĂșcar said...

HA! I love Inferno jokes.

CSIowa said...

How could anyone top Dante humor! You made my day, but now my date to WalMart with my husband doesn't stand a chance.

Warren said...

Sounds like you need another math quiz to sharpen your skills.

Deredevils blog said...

I would definatly call yourself lucky! You wont have to buy one of those lucky books. Better than that you probably saved yourself $75, since each kid might feel slighted if you didnt buy one from them. I hate those darn fund raiser things. My kids quite often lose whatever fundraiser thing comes home and then we have to pay for it anyway. Much rather give the school money.

A Musing Mom (Taylorclan6) said...

School fundraisers make me taste vomit inside my mouth. Just a little bit.

I would take Dante's Hades any day.

agent99 said...

I HATE school fundrasiers. I have enough wrapping paper to last me till 2047, and I am too fat for any chocolate. I also have a little problem with my 9 yr old being turned into a junk-crazed miniature used car dealer for the "benevolent" companies that "share" their profits with the PTA. It turns into a set up for the kids. I'd really rather just donate $50! Sorry, stepping down, putting soap box away.....

SarahAnne said...

I hate those dumb books. What a relief for you. Wonder if I will be as lucky?

Mia said...

I just sold 5 of these puppies and then received my 1 free. Public school fundraising is much much better than private school. We had to pay $500 toward fundraising and then have mandatory volunteer of 70 hours and then still be expected to fundraise in the private school. Yippe out of there.

Karen said...

My niece's school fundraiser was all done via internet. I got an email from her mother with a link to the wrapping paper company....I ordered...paid (including shipping!) and they sent it to my house. So glad my niece did some fundraising!

Tricia said...

That seems like a horrible fundraiser. To send something home with a child and then get charged if it doesn't come back to school...who thinks that's a good idea? Our elementary school has two major fundraisers. One is called the Triple Crown. Part One is a math quiz the kids take, Part Two is a spelling quiz and Part Three is running laps around the track. Through all 3 parts they are able to earn 100 points. Parents/famikly/friends sponsor the child $x for each point earned. You would not believe the money raised. INCREDIBLE! The second is our Fall Fest. Tickets are sold in advance for a hamburgers/hotdog lunch that is donated by a local restaurant. They also have inflatables, snow cones, popcorn, etc. People from the community purchase tables to sell their wares. Each class in the school puts together a themed basket with items donated by the parents. This also raises an incredible amount of money and brings the community together. It seems to work better than other fundraisers I've heard about. Enjoy those coupons. :)

Scrapingirl said...

Being a homeschooler, we don't have fundraisers. But I'm thinking I should have a donation jar sittin on my counter when people come over. WOuld that be too rude? :)

Brad said...

You are so funny! Are part of your posts made up? Please tell me yes becauuse if you say no, then I have to face reality-I live a boring life!

AlsoMean said...

My DH read the PTA newsletter aloud to me this morning, with a reminder about the Sally Foster sale.
"Mommy isn't selling wrapping paper this year," is my reply.

Renny said...

As hilarious as I found this entry, I did wonder if you were high on Italian Cream Cake when you wrote it?

Heidi said...

Very funny post!
School fundraisers are what work will be like in Hell.
In my opinion you did your duty and more than paid for your kids' coupon books. If there were only two of you on this huge project and you figure your worth about, oh lets say $50 an hour, I'd say the school actually owes you $100 bucks.

mamagale said...

School fundraisers were the bane of my existence. Imagine all the fundraisers required for 8 kids in 4 different schools.One more reason I decided to home school. Your comparison to Dante's Inferno is SPOT ON!

Kim said...

My poor kindergartener carried his ginormous coupon book in his backpack every day for two weeks because I was afraid we'd forget to send it back on the appointed day.

MommyDiva said...

Peddling coupon books makes our Sally Foster fundraiser sound like a dream! It's all for the kids! Best of luck....

Too Many Hats said...

LOL - i sure wish mine had not been sent home with those books. I actually have two in high school that sell those, but this year only the girl child had to sell - YAY! We sold our "suggested" three and were done. So, glad we didn't have to sell 6!

Kazzy said...

Funny! Yeah, totally not a coupon kinda girl myself.

Madeline said...

I'm the Box Top trimmer myself. Seriously - why can't people cut out the little rectangle along the dotted lines?

heartscape said...

Ha! Tina's ban of chain-smoking in her living room paints a delightful picture for me. Much better to chain-eat desserts while erroneously counting coupon books :) Love it!

Meagan and John said...

wait madeline, I didn't realise they actually needed to be cut along the dotted line, I always just rip them off and put them in the baggy, figured someone was goign to just look at it and throw it away in the end why waste the time cutting them--well guess I got some cutting to do today

Anonymous said...

Madeline - I am with Megan about trimming. I figure I was good when I actually 1)remember to get them off the boxes and in the bag and 2) send them to school. No idea they had to be trimmed into little rectangles!!! On behalf of rippers like me - Sorry.
My daughters school last year just asked for donations if there were no fundraisers. I happily sent in $75. This year they asked for donations, sent home (the same!) coupon book, AND warned of the upcoming Sally Foster. This made the school loose out from my family. They are only getting the coupon book I bought and that's it.

MamaOtwins+1 said...

SWEET!!!
So can you please tell our PTA that the twins will never sell 10 items total out of their fundraiser books, and therefore will never be allowed to go to the MEGA party and No I will not be donating $100.00 to the school just so they can go.

Stephanie said...

The picture of Dante is just icing on the cake. Oh how I love this blog!

Surat said...

Only web site of its kind, shopping surat not only provides complete guide about Surat city but it also has social networking features. This is the first ever website in Surat which has social networking. You can create your profile here for free. Make friends and also you can add your business page for free. Shopping Surat also provides complete business information about Surat Textile and Diamond business of Surat.

Premier Financial Alliance said...

If you want to earn money and wants to fulfill your financial dream, Premier Financial Alliance is here for you. You do not need to spend money. Just you can join our professional company with nominal fees and you can work together and earn more than what you may have expected. This Financial Alliance has a lot more than you may have expected.

hrgottlieb said...

If you are looking for new School Fundraising Ideas I strongly recommend you get in touch with Easy Fundraising Ideas. They have a very wide assortment of fundraisers that have been used successfully throughout the United States.

Jay said...

Wow, you guys are hilarious. I know it's been a while since the original post but I just ran across it. I am in the fundraising industry so this post cracked me up. Fortunately, I run the best elementary school program out there or I would have been upset. Generally speaking, I think there are too many fundraisers out there and not enough of them generate high profits and good will among the community. It's pretty obviously created a bit of animosity to the point where some folks just don't participate anymore. It's a bummer overall that more companies don't simplify the process - there's cano reason that you even had to tally and distribute these books like you did. Oh well. Thanks for the opportunity to post.

Jay said...

Forgot to mention that I blog about fundraising on blogger as well (although I have to admit I am not as entertaining) http://believejay.blogspot.com

Fundraising Ideas For Schools said...

Thanks for the great post, I have been thing of doing something new on are school fundraisers next year. Any suggestions