February 15, 2011

Book It Etc..



My kids' elementary school often rewards student achievements with certificates for free items, usually things on the dollar menu at fast food restaurants.

I hear about these certificates every day when I'm making dinner.

"We could go to {insert any national fast food chain} instead," my daughter suggests as she hands me a card good for a free cup of pinto beans or some other oddity. "My treat."

I love my children but know that actions speak louder than words.

Today, I collected all the Book It awards, Superstar Math tickets, and reading rewards and told my kids to get into the car. "Let's do this," I told them.

"We're going to redeem everything right now?" Camber asked. She didn't know whether I was a nut case or her personal savior.

We accomplished our task in less than an hour thanks to discipline, a strong desire to succeed, and drive-thru windows.

The guests of honor at our dinner table tonight were 2 hamburgers, 1 juice box, 1 junior Frosty, 1 bag of french fries, 3 personal pan pizzas and a six-inch sub sandwich.

It was a feast fit for a king.

"Don't you feel bad redeeming those things without buying anything else?" asked my husband. He was pretty horrified at what I had done, but not so horrified that he wouldn't eat one of the hamburgers.

"Are you asking me if I feel like I owe [insert fast food chains] something?" I asked.

My husband was afraid to answer.

"They brought this upon themselves," I said matter-of-factly. Any company that is going to market their products to my kids is going to have to accept the fact that I'm not going to play their game.

My husband rolled his eyes.

"I feel like the fast food restaurants owe ME something for pain and suffering," I continued. All of the things that I felt like they owed me were not on the dollar menu.

He rolled his eyes a few more times and said something about picking battles and social etiquette.

From this point forward, my husband will be redeeming all Book-It, Math Superstar tickets, and reading rewards.

I hope he's hungry.

35 comments

myevil3yearold said...

I lefy my debit card at work the other day and had no cash. I am ashamed to say I used my son's Book It reward and got myself a personal pan.

Shawn said...

Classic.

I forget we have those certificates all of the time. My oldest is 16, I recently found a Pizza Hut Book It certificate that was hers from the 1st grade....it was still good. Score!

Katie said...

No shame, myevil! That's called RESOURCEFULNESS! You should be proud :)

Gina said...

I NEVER feel bad redeeming coupons for free anything. But, then, I'm one of those people that has no shame and uses all my CVS Extra Care Bucks to go back in and buy the same thing for free over and over again, so...

Amy said...

Hey, free dinner. Not bad! Good idea Jana, I am sure this is also a memory the kids will look back on and get a good laugh. Man you are awesome. My certificates for free food always went in the trash.

About Last Weekend said...

Brilliant! I just paid for a melee of burgers and burritos and noone ate them, so maybe they would enjoy them more if they were free! Yes, my kids are forever going on line and getting 50cents off random rubbish and begging me to redeem.

Dangerous With a Pen said...

Ha! Awesome. I teach first grade and we stopped doing Book-It five or six years ago. Maybe I should go on a personal crusade to bring it back... ;)

LemonyRenee' said...

You're my hero! I feel like a scrooge for the way I detest these constant rewards. My 10 y/o gets in the van each and every day with a substantial piece of candy . . . his reward for "getting on star." When I ask what he did to "get on star," he replies with some sort of behavior that should be routine by now, "I worked quietly at my desk." "I cleaned up after myself." "I came right back after using the washroom." I mean . . ! When do kids at school start having to find their own reward in working hard or doing the right thing?

See? Scrooge . . . I warned you.

P.S. I make sure I NEVER buy anything else when I redeem those things. Truth be told, it is just a ploy to lure people to their places who otherwise wouldn't have gone that day -- they couldn't care less how many minutes my kids read that month. It's my little way of trying to squelch the whole program. (heh-heh)

Mal said...

Isn't one of the big platforms public schools are pushing right now healthy meals and a fight against obesity? Man, that really bugs me.

Not to mention I think Wendy's frosties are nasty.

Esther said...

AWESOME. I saved up Book-It certificates for a while, and was able to provide everyone a personal pizza for my son's birthday party. :-)

The Mom said...

My kids are on year round school, so we save those up, and when they are off track, we redeem 2 every day for their lunch. It gets us out of the house and they enjoy their rewards!

Latisha said...

I am guilty of "coupon dinners," too. Especially during soccer season when we are running around all night. As soon as we accumulate enough 'rewards' to have enough food for everyone to eat, we go redeem!

Charlie Pulsipher said...

My sister once bought a basketful of assorted hair products at a drug store, using a mess of coupons and sales sheets. The cashier had to open her drawer to give my sister 32 cents when the last coupon dinged. Nothing wrong with taking advantage of what they offer.

Matthews Exterminator said...

LOL, I do this a lot too and my husband insists on getting something else. But what do we care, they gave out these coupons for a reason. And they didn't state that we had to get something else besides the free.

Kasey said...

I'm surprised they still do this. My kids' school stresses not to reward kids with food. But we had Book-it when I was in school and I thought it was so cool and am a little bummed my kids don't get them.

Carrie said...

Hilarious! I love it! And gosh I guess those programs must be successful because they did the same thing when I was a kid. Who knew you could still get a free personal pan pizza for reading a book! My parents rarely took us to redeem ours though. I think you're "meanest mom" title is at risk here!

Stacey said...

<3 your blog!
Stopping by from:
http://madeofsnails.blogspot.com/
&
http://staceylovesscents.blogspot.com/

Sheila said...

I guess my children don't read enough...we haven't gotten any certificates ;)

Jensamom23 said...

Good for you!

Christine said...

My high schooler was excited that his teacher gave him a Juice it Up coupon...that was until he looked closer and saw that it was for a free oatmeal AFTER he bought a Juice it up smoothie.

Technically I don't consider it a reward when he has to buy something to get it!

Jennifer said...

Oh, I HATE those rewards. My kids drive me crazy wanting us to redeem them. They're never for good restaurants either - those places don't need to give out gift certificates to gullible children to lure customers in to eat their nasty food.

And since I'm on a soapbox here: Who the heck thought that giving children FOOD was an appropriate way to reward them for good behavior? Oh yeah - THAT'S the way to overcome obesity.

Julie said...

Laughed so hard I cried! I so relate because just on principal I would never buy anything, just redeem the coupon and off we go.

Pastrami said...

I hate those things. I feel bad for not "celebrating" my child's success quickly enough. Invariably, by the time we get to the restaurant [our dentist give Red Robin certs] the things have expired...

Pastrami said...

I must say I am shocked at how many of you are outraged that the food is not healthier. After all, it's just one coupon, you make the other food choices. Not to mention a coupon for broccoli is not much of an incentive is it?

Renny said...

Whatevs. We totally did that all the time (use the coupon and buy nothing else.) They can handle it.

Sandy said...

With 12 kids we get a lot of these coupons. It is nice to be able to take out the kids once and a while. I love anything free. My kids all enter the PTA Reflections program in each category and get a coupon for every entry. At awards time we walk away with around $300 in free dollar items. I also love Cow Appreciation Day on July 9th for a little humiliation at Chick-fil-a you can get a free sandwich. I share a free family activity on my blog every Friday and I have more details posted on the above activities at twelvemakesadozen.blogspot.com

Annie B Larson said...

I totally agree with you on this one. They do owe us something. I normally throw all of those tickets away. I'm going to save them up from now on and maybe that can be a future Family Home Evening.

Kyle and Alli said...

I love taking advantage of freebies and I never feel one bit guilty for not succumbing to their marketing. I have never lost the poor college student mentality...now I just need to figure out how we can bum these certificates off of our neighbor kids!

EliB said...

i remember loving the pizza ones when i was younger... i don't remember ever buying anything else while we were there...

Vicky said...

And the worst part is the little buggers don't ever let you forget!

WendyLou said...

I have learned that the best thing in the world to do when that kind of stuff comes home is to redeem it immediately!! Then I don't have to listen to the 'reminders' for weeks. The best is when the kids go to the dentist and get a coupon for a free ice cream. 9:00 in the morning? NO problem ... would you like that in a cone or a cup?

Anonymous said...

I'm just astonished that the schools team up with fast food outlets so shamelessly... but maybe that's because I'm from the UK??

MMack said...

That is exactly what I do and even though they look at me with sad eyes that I am not purchasing anything else, I do it anyway. My son was awarded four in the last week and he's begging to go.

Alana Tolley said...

Free coupons are not a guilt trip to buy something else. Go in, have a good time, and enjoy the deal they're offering. Tell your husband I'm not on his side.

Deanna said...

I made a new rule - no more happy meal toys! You would not believe it!! All of a sudden none of my 3 kids like McD's anymore! Aaaaaa-fricking-mazing.