November 24, 2009

Death by Chocolate

Every December, my elementary school's PTA hosts a holiday basket auction. Each classroom in the school is assigned a basket theme, a disproportionate number of which include the word "Italy" (ie. "A Night out in Italy," "Breakfast in Italy," "Under the Tuscan Sun"). My daughter's teacher was one of the unfortunate few who were absent on the day that the lots were cast. As a result, she got stuck with a theme that lacks any overt reference to the Motherland.

"Our theme is 'Death by Chocolate,'" she apologized.

I attempted to alleviate the teacher's feelings of failure and ancestral shame by suggesting that we fill the basket with Italian chocolates. The letter I mailed to my daughter's classmates' parents asking for donations reiterated this request.

My plea for assistance was heard and answered. Here is what was sent in:


As room mother, my job is to tastefully assemble the donations in a large basket. The baskets will be auctioned off at the annual holiday family dance next weekend.

For several reasons, I am expecting that my basket will draw a record number of bids.

****
Any similar tales of agony?

37 comments

Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer & Crazy Woman said...

LOL! The death part may be more readily accomplished with non-safety scissors ...

Jean said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

The universe never lets you down, Jana. Maybe the basket should be re-named "Random Stupid Crap (Plus Five Bucks)". That way, it's sure to pull at least $5 at the auction. (I would hope, anyway.) GREAT post.

MissMVK said...

Okay this made me cry again - from laughing! I ran a huge, beast of an auction (1000 items and grossed nearly 1M each year). I have seen "contributions" like this and I have also seen what awesome baskets look like. I can tell you exactly what to put in a "Death by Chocolate" basket that will have moms spilling their Merlot in a bidding war. Email me if you'd like help! missmvk AT gmail DOT com. :) Thank you for the laugh!

Lindy said...

Peanut M&M's???? The least, the very least they could've done is sent in the Peanut Butter M&M's.

HW said...

That's just pitiful.

I once made a chocolate basket for an auction. My did not include m&m's, though. Or scissors. Or rubber spatulas. What was I thinking?
I'm sure MissMVK has you covered but if you need any more input I'm at hiwoolard@comcast.net

Micki said...

I have done the death by chocolate basket. Unfortunately I got about the same response for donations so it ended up being a "death" to our checkbook so I could present a decent basket. Good Luck. Maybe you could get a chocolate fountain and fill it with all types of chocolate. That may be hard with only five dollars. That's what I did for our basket.

TheQueen@TerrorsInTiaras said...

Our first graders assembled baskets for sale at the craft fair. The challenge for us room moms was to take random junk and make up baskets that made sense. Luckily we didn't have to name them--
"Whatever It Is, It Has Some Hot Chocolate With It"
"Sponges To Wash Dishes, and Lip Gloss!"

togetherforgood said...

Oh my word. That is hysterical.

Emmy said...

Nice Italian Chocolate there ;)

Too Many Hats said...

Wow, what a generous bunch of parents you have there. Just this task alone would have kept my hat out of the ring for room mother.

Sims Family said...

THat's great! Ours this year was "Dad's basket." We had a razor and a basketball donated.

Hillori said...

Send out another letter, requesting parents to send either $3, or $2 of chocolate. Maybe take a "picture of gratitude" for what was sent and tell them that if they don't, they get to be in charge of the basket...? A rubber spatula and scissors?! That's just weird.

Christa said...

"Are you freaking kidding me?!?!" were the exact words I said in a very loud tone at the computer monitor when I saw this!
I can see it now... "hmmm let me see what I have in my cabinet that has to do with death by chocolate and Italy (because I'm too lazy to go to the store and buy some flippin Ghirardelli)... this spatula says assembled in Korea, that's close to Italy right?"

Heather Forcey said...

Oh my word. I was laughing so hard I started crying! My husband thinks I've lost it on my side of the room! I work at a school and we go through the same thing. Luckily, the room mom for our class scored some great outside donations to make our basket look great. Good luck with your items! Still laughing over here! Lots of cellophane and ribbon can make any basket look fancier than it is!

Anonymous said...

You crack me up! What I don't understand is why someone would send in safety scissors...

Lissa said...

Scissors? Are these people for real? Who else thinks the kid was given the scissors to replace the ones they broke and chocolate for the basket. Then swapped them out and ate the chocolate himself? Yeah, me too.

Jesus Chick said...

This proves the 80/20 rule. 20% of the moms do 80% of the work.

I recommend you rename it the "At Home Spa" basket. The spatula can be an applicator for a soothing cucumber masque...obviously the scissors can be used to self-trim bangs...the m&ms for a snack and the 5$ may still be enough for some Asti Spumante.

Voila! Or Ciao.

Tracey said...

Oh my, I thought at first that you were joking...which makes it even more funny (and sad!) that you aren't! Yikes!

Anonymous said...

Just contact a few of the brochure fundraising companies for their samples. I'm sure they will be happy to donate items.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Ha hahahahaha!

I know it's not really funny, but

Hahahaha!

Maybe you can make a laminated poster to hang in the gym that will track how your basket competes with the rest. Maybe you'd get some pity bids.

Parenting Ink said...

Can you send that hilarious picture to your kid's classmates??

Jo's girl said...

oh nothing screams death by chocolate like "safety scissors" and a "spatula." what the heck? although I'd probably be the chick who would send in the $5. bucks. :)

4handfulls said...

Wow. That's great... I agree send the photo to the parents.
I had to assemble a Starbucks themed basket for one of my twins classes this year. I was given mounds of tissue paper, a basket big enough to take a nap in, 2 biscotti past their expiration date and 6 mugs many with dollar store stickers still attached. Really, no giftcard or coffee???

Anonymous said...

Hilarious!! I've got an idea for your generous donation.
At the dollar store: 1 baking pan from china, 2 boxes chocolate brownie mix, 1 basket and 1 package cellophane wrap. Give your kids the scissors and last weeks funnies to cut into strips for basket filler. If they aren't up to it, bribe them with the M&M's. Add spatulas to basket and voila. Between the out of date brownies and the lead content of the pan? Death for sure.

Amy said...

Ok, last "anonymous"? I don't know who you are, but I think I just peed a little. That was hysterical.

Don't get me wrong, Jana, your post started me going, but that comment... crying laughing.

Reiko said...

At least they thought of sending in a "chocolate" colored spatula..

Aubrey said...

Tough economic times?! I liked the suggestion of asking for a specific small amount of money or chocolate. It makes a donation less intimidating. Still laughing over this one.

Andrea said...

We sometimes do basket auctions at my school (I'm a teacher and have children who go to the same school.) Very often I get the same response to my requests for items to put in the basket. I have personally supplied the contents of many a basket - both in my room and my daughters'. Sad. Very sad.

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

Honey. Don't you know you must assign not ask. Then pray you get that!

Michelle said...

God bless you!

You have a difficult job. You better start harrassing those slacker parents.

Kelli said...

There are no words to describe how hilarious this really is! :) And sad at the same time! I agree...send a pic of what you received along with a list of suggestions for what you'd LIKE to receive. That's just insane!

Karen said...

I will give you ONE Dollah!

Maryann said...

Happy Thanksgiving! You have a great blog! Come by mine and enter some great giveaways!
http://www.tictacdough.blogspot.com

♥Maryann

Krista said...

I'm dying on this one because our school is trying to orchestrate an auction as well. After reading your post, I promptly sent our PTO president your blog link! Come over and check out my blog today, there's a little something for ya!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kate said...

I just about died laughing here! I'm posting a link on Twitter, and emailing this to my mom - she was a room mother and volunteer when I was a kid; I know she'll get a kick out of it! :-)

Anonymous said...

This exact task with about the same amazing results is the very reason why this is my farewell year as room mom. Okay I know my kids need me but I don't need the generosity of parents who for our basket them snowed in sent in 2 cracked glass mugs and 2 packages from a box of hot chocolate(It was on sale last week at 99cents for the whole box of 10 so they donated glasses that they got for free and 20 cents worth of hot chocolate. I hope they don't have to enter foreclosure next month.

B said...

Hilarious! My step-daughter's class had the theme of chocolate for one of their raffle baskets a couple of years ago. I sent in a fondue set - it looked a little out of place amongst the 20 Hershey bars!