Anyone else annoyed by children being required to sell stuff?? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-10-2010, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I will probably raise a few hackles, even on this forum, as I am sure many of you have children in school activity programs and extracurricular clubs.

Our neighbors up the road stopped by on Sunday. Their 10 year old son is selling frozen cookie dough & cinnamon rolls to raise money for his public school's ASB program.

This child is special needs (though his parents never mention this, it is obvious) and was, quite frankly, scared of having to do his sales pitch. He knows us, quite well (he, his older brother and ds frequently play together), but could barely speak above a whisper and had no idea of what he was supposed to say.

His Dad kept saying, "You have to do this so that your class will win!" If their class sells enough, they get a pizza party (oh, THAT's a good use of funds raised ). (((Don't even get me started on the Dad's attitude!)))

I couldn't stand seeing the absolute fear in the little boys face and immediately said we'd buy something and let ds choose whatever he wanted (cinnamon rolls at $15 for a box ). The kid looked so relieved and just handed me the order form to complete.

I hate that the schools make the children sell stuff (and that the parents agree to this fundraising blackmail)! It isn't right to put your friends and relatives on the spot, basically forcing them to support their child and their child's school (or, club or whatever).

Especially when they know we homeschool and that ds does not benefit from these fundraisers. Plus, they are "safe" from any type of reciprocity as our son doesn't go looking for money to help with his "extra-curricular or educational" opportunities (though, wouldn't it be tempting to do so, just to see the looks on their faces! ).

I swore, after we were "hit" by his older brother last year (for the same frozen crap), that I wouldn't do it ever again. I don't like being forced into confrontations, especially with a child. Trying to tell children that you don't support their well-intention efforts is horrible. (((Thank goodness we live out in the country and don't have to deal with trick-or-treaters for UNICEF)))

But, the look on this munchkin's face provoked me into pulling out the cash. I was very kind and gentle with him, asking questions I thought he could probably answer from the order sheet in his hand but, alas, it wasn't to be. He could not tell me how much something cost, nor when the stuff would arrive, could not fill-out a receipt, could not tell me how much to pay him and could not make change for a $20.

And, all the while, his Dad is just standing there, telling him he has to do this, it isn't fair to the other children in his class if he doesn't. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I wanted to ask how, exactly, the funds raised would be used. But, the poor kid was already so stressed, I knew I wouldn't get any answers. And, Dad, well, Dad looked like he just wanted to get going. Sigh............

Over the years, dh has been "hit" at work by children's parents (his co-workers) selling mints, cookies, coupon books, doughnuts, candy bars, and other cheap stuff, all in the name of their kid's school activities (gymnastics, band, ASB, sports), scouting group or judo/karate clubs. He's always opened his wallet and given freely.

We don't fault the children, they really have no say in this. They are told that this is what they will do, fed a line about pizza party rewards and sent out to the trenches (with veiled threats about how not selling enough is letting everyone down).

My question is why do the parents allow their children to be party to this type of blackmail and, in so many cases, actively participate in the act???

Even worse are the kids being sent out to solicit for charities (UNICEF, Haiti relief, etc). We choose which charities we want to support, and give a lot of money to those. But, when a small child asks you to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti, what are you supposed to say? Even though you may have already given to another charity that is doing something there (and you say this), it sounds like you are blowing them off and don't care for their cause.

Sigh, just wanted to rant a little. I guess that, sometime within the next month or so (since I never did find out when the frozen globs of commercial dough will arrive), we'll have the child and, probably (this time), Mom delivering the goods. Child will be in a better frame of mind as the pressure to sell will be off his little back and he might even smile.

I really hate this, especially knowing that it never ends.
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:14 PM
 
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On one hand, I TOTALLY, TOTALLY, TOTALLY agree with you for 99.9% of your post. And in the case you detailed, that's just absolutely disgusting.

The only point I mildly disagree on is when the child themself opts to collect for UNICEF or Haiti or whatever. I've seen this with one of my nephews and one of my cousin's kids. The nephew decided that for his sixth birthday, he wanted everyone to bring things that they could donate to the church's medical center instead of gifts. Granted, in this case, most people would've been spending money on a gift anyway so it's not exactly putting you on the spot to shell out money you weren't going to spend. He was in his ultimate glory when it transpired, when he delivered the items and promptly announced what charity he'd support with his 7th bday party. My cousin's kid felt such empathy for the people struck by Haiti that he took on collecting on his own.

Of course, I also believe that kids who are driven and motivated that way on their own are also capable of understanding if I gently tell them that I only have enough money to donate to one thing or another and I had already donated to the other. They can also usually answer questions about why they're doing what they're doing because it's "their" cause--ya know?

Parents and schools who push kids into this kind of stuff make me really sick--especially with kids like the one you described. Why wasn't the father at least AT THE DOOR with his kid to help him learn the motions. I mean, heck--if you're going to push the kids into this anyway, at least soften the blow and nurture him through it a bit, huh??? Furthermore the whole "prize" thing is just more competition vs. the true point of the fundraising (whether it be a trip or supplies or whatever)... and only validates the point that the kids aren't really vested in the true goal. Add to it "letting everyone down" and wow... I mean, just, WOW.

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Old 02-10-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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I agree completely about the school stuff. When my son was in school we just didn't do these fundraisers. We don't get hit very often here but it rubs me the wrong way to pay for fundraisers for our very wealthy neighbourhood school.

But I disagree with you about supporting kids supporting charities. My hsed kids, on their own initiative, did a neighbourhood penny drive for the Red Cross. We we will support well known charities like the Terry Fox Run when kids come to our door looking for donations. I personally think it is important for kids - particularly in North America - to develop a sense of charity and altruism and I am willing to donate $5 or $10 to help that.

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Old 02-10-2010, 07:21 PM
 
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My question is why do the parents allow their children to be party to this type of blackmail and, in so many cases, actively participate in the act???
I swore I would never let my child participate in any door to door selling… Then, he decided he wanted to do Scouts, and his pack relies partly on fundraising to raise money. He didn’t want to be left out (already an issue with homeschooling at times) so I let him sell the popcorn. Our pack keeps a percentage of the money raised for activities, and the boys get a percentage to go in an account for them to buy uniforms, pay for camp, etc. It helped my son learn a valuable lesson about working for what you want, setting goals, etc. I found that most of the people in our community were happy to help, and the ones who didn’t want to, simply said no thank you. No biggie.

So that’s why I let my son participate, and will continue to do so.

If I thought for a second that my son didn’t want to or couldn’t do it, or was stressed by it in any way, it wouldn’t happen! I think it’s awful when parents push their kids to do this kind of thing and make it stressful. Not cool.

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Old 02-10-2010, 07:34 PM
 
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I think I'm just going to write a check for what my child needs. I don't feel comfortable having them sell either trashy goods or food. I also don't support those sales when I get harassed by small children peddling them.

If they expect that it will pay $x for my kid to go to camp, well, we'll just pay the full fee rather than the "cookie dough or popcorn" subsidized fee.

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Old 02-10-2010, 07:52 PM
 
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If they expect that it will pay $x for my kid to go to camp, well, we'll just pay the full fee rather than the "cookie dough or popcorn" subsidized fee.
That's all fine and good if you can manage that, but in my son's CS Pack, there are kids who can barely even afford the basics, let alone camp and other activities. The fundraising gives their families another option.

We are fortunate enough to be able to pay cash for what we need, but we also do the fundraisers. My son has offered up the money in his account from fundraising to help if another kid needs it.

Sooo... I'm not judging the families who are against ALL fundraising, just the attitude that it's always bad. For some kids it allows them to be included in something they otherwise would be left out from.

That said… I am pretty much against school wrapping paper type deals. People pay enough in taxes that kids shouldn’t be sent out to collect for them too.

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Old 02-10-2010, 08:00 PM
 
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I may be biased, but I think it can be good for kids to sell things, if they want to, of course. It gives them the experience of speaking with neighbors and other adults in the community with whom they might not otherwise communicate. It teaches them how conduct a transaction--explaining the product, asking someone for the right amount of money, counting back change, saying thank you and you hand them the product... These are useful skills, and it can be empowering for kids to know that they earned the money for whatever.

It certainly gets over-done, and I'm tired of being hit up for things like sending a bunch of 14 year old strangers to China to play soccer (I'd like to go to China too, but I'm not going door-to-door asking other people to pay my way ). I won't buy "discount cards" or raffle tickets-- I'll only purchase actual products, and I get a lot less generous when the kid who's asking is old enough to have an actual job.
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Old 02-10-2010, 08:27 PM
 
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if we have extra cash, i don't mind helping kids out that we know. i've bought a bunch of girl scout cookies, candy bars, and lots of other junk. i would feel very sad if the child was forced to give me a sale's pitch that was obviously uncomfortbale for them... that would be awkward for sure. but most of the people that hit me up for my money are fairly outgoing kids and their excited to tell me all about the junk they have to sell, lol. having said that though, i am very glad my kids don't have to sell things. i am rather introverted and unfortunately i'm waaaaay to concerned about making someone feel uncomfortable. when we sold girl scout cookies, it was very awkward for me to try and ask people to buy from my daughter. i ended up buying most of them and donated them to the troops.

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Old 02-10-2010, 08:51 PM
 
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I really hate that schools require kids to sell things. We couldn't afford the things the school wants the kids to sell and we don't know people who can so my dd was excluded from the pizza party many of her friends went to because we are in a high class school district.
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:17 PM
 
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...my dd was excluded from the pizza party many of her friends went to ...
oh my goodness!! i'm a fairly passive person, but that would make my mama bear rage like a machine. that's is SO rediculous! your poor daughter. i'm sorry that happened!!

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Old 02-10-2010, 09:20 PM
 
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Here's what bothers me about those sale drives. I have to spend $3.75 for the troop to get $0.25. I'm making the company rich, not the troop! So when my nieces ask me to buy cookies for their troop, I make a straight $5.00 donation. I know that doesn't help them win some T-shirt or poster, but come on! Give that money for the prizes to the troop!

The same is true of those magazine drives for the schools. It seems so backwards to ask me to spend $20 so the school gets $1.00. I really can't believe that more parents don't refuse to participate.

I agree that kids collecting for a non-profit organization that they are informed about and interested in is totally different.

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Old 02-10-2010, 09:39 PM
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That's all fine and good if you can manage that, but in my son's CS Pack, there are kids who can barely even afford the basics, let alone camp and other activities. The fundraising gives their families another option.

We are fortunate enough to be able to pay cash for what we need, but we also do the fundraisers. My son has offered up the money in his account from fundraising to help if another kid needs it.

Sooo... I'm not judging the families who are against ALL fundraising, just the attitude that it's always bad. For some kids it allows them to be included in something they otherwise would be left out from.

That said… I am pretty much against school wrapping paper type deals. People pay enough in taxes that kids shouldn’t be sent out to collect for them too.
ITA...
Not to mention that the funds likely go to the local expenses. I know with girl scouts that the cookie sales are what keeps the organization running. Without profits going to our local service unit and council, Girl Scouts would have to charge much higher membership fees.

I do have a problem with for profit businesses (private schools, daycares etc) having fundraisers.

As for public schools, I'm on the fence. Having served on a PTA committee before, I see why PTAs have fundraisers. However I also saw a lot of waste of what was provided for by the district. If the district watched the spending it could finance many of the projects that the PTA raised funds for.
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:50 PM
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Here's what bothers me about those sale drives. I have to spend $3.75 for the troop to get $0.25. I'm making the company rich, not the troop! So when my nieces ask me to buy cookies for their troop, I make a straight $5.00 donation. I know that doesn't help them win some T-shirt or poster, but come on! Give that money for the prizes to the troop!

The same is true of those magazine drives for the schools. It seems so backwards to ask me to spend $20 so the school gets $1.00. I really can't believe that more parents don't refuse to participate.

I agree that kids collecting for a non-profit organization that they are informed about and interested in is totally different.
The bakery only makes about $1 per box. Most of the proceeds go to supporting the local council and service unit. No money goes to the national organization. As for incentives: some councils have elected to do away with them to allow the troops to keep more money. Others let the troops decide. Most also allow the girls to earn camp scholarships or "cookie dough" that can be applied toward paying for any council or service unit sponsored event.
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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I was horrified when DD decided she wanted to sell cookies in GS. Now, she belongs to a wonderful troop...all homeschooled kids with AP, crunchy parents. I'm not sure any of us parents were that comfortable with it! But, the girls all get into it. We're completely down-playing the competitive aspects of it, emphasizing the charitable aspects of it, etc.

My normally socially introverted girl actually walked door-to-door with DH and spoke to every single one of our neighbors. She wanted to do this so badly, and it really did wonders for her social skills. So, I'm learning to loosen up.

I have a few acquaintances who only email me when they want to solicit donations for one of their causes. That frustrates me more than anything. Everyone has their causes that they support, and I think it's totally inappropriate to solicit your friends to get them to donate to a cause. I'd much prefer seeing the neighborhood kids!

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Old 02-10-2010, 09:59 PM
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I may be biased, but I think it can be good for kids to sell things, if they want to, of course. It gives them the experience of speaking with neighbors and other adults in the community with whom they might not otherwise communicate. It teaches them how conduct a transaction--explaining the product, asking someone for the right amount of money, counting back change, saying thank you and you hand them the product... These are useful skills, and it can be empowering for kids to know that they earned the money for whatever.
It certainly gets over-done, and I'm tired of being hit up for things like sending a bunch of 14 year old strangers to China to play soccer (I'd like to go to China too, but I'm not going door-to-door asking other people to pay my way ). I won't buy "discount cards" or raffle tickets-- I'll only purchase actual products, and I get a lot less generous when the kid who's asking is old enough to have an actual job.
ITA... I know that girl scouts stress (and I assume boy scouts do too) that the money is earned by them for them as a group to decide how it should be spent. It has been a huge learning experience for the girls and very entertaining to watch the girls "get" that instead of just thinking "oh mom and dad are paying, lets go to disneyworld on a plane and stay for a month."

It can be a very valuable learning tool if used correctly.
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:16 PM
 
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My question is why do the parents allow their children to be party to this type of blackmail and, in so many cases, actively participate in the act???

.
I wanted to address this portion of your post. In some schools the "fundraising" is mandatory. Meaning if you dont sell x amt of $ your parents will get a bill for it. Now oh course that isnt the case for every school or organization but for some it is.

We are always "hit up" becasue everyone in our neighborhood has school age children (sports,scouts,teams) and I have learned to say "no thank you" and not give in to the "guilt" of it. However my DH proudly sponsered a girl scout for camp this yr with his cookie sale
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:52 PM
 
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In Little League, kids are asked to sell the frozen cookie dough crap, and we refuse to participate. Dh volunteers as a head coach every year, so we feel like we do our part. But more than that, I just can't abide by selling such gross crap. Ds doesn't even really know about it - the paperwork is just distributed to the parents, and dh doesn't say a word to the team about it.

4-H does a See's candy sale every year, and my mom buys some to give away as client gifts. But we've never had ds go door to door or anything.

We are constantly getting hit up from my SIL for her dd's private catholic school - book fairs, wrapping paper, etc. I feel bad not buying anything, but we don't need any of it, we don't have a lot of extra money, and I honestly have a hard time supporting a church funded catholic school instead of the many other very needy organizations.

Like the pp, I would prefer to just give money directly to the school. Whatever happened to spellathons, or walkathons? I remember going door to door soliciting donations for those when I was in school, but never selling anything.
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Old 02-10-2010, 11:26 PM
 
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Like the pp, I would prefer to just give money directly to the school. Whatever happened to spellathons, or walkathons? I remember going door to door soliciting donations for those when I was in school, but never selling anything.
I actually prefer selling to the outright begging of a spellathon or walkathon. When I was a kid (and even now) the idea of getting people to "sponsor" me to do something useless like walk around the school gym made no sense. When I sold things, I wasn't asking for handouts, I was selling something, and if they wanted it, they'd buy, and if they didn't they wouldn't. And the only door-to-door fundraising my school did was for the 5th grade school trip, and they made fundraising available so that, hopefully, no kid would be left out for financial reasons. It totally confuses me that PTAs and teachers feel entitled to enlist children to fund their pet projects. Because I believe that selling is a valuable exercise for elementary kids, I buy the cookie dough and pizza kits, but I pay plenty of taxes to our local schools, and I just can't see why they need to fund raise in addition to that. I know some of the stuff they spend money on, and it's appalling.
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Old 02-10-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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Whatever happened to spellathons, or walkathons? I remember going door to door soliciting donations for those when I was in school, but never selling anything.
DD's school has a yearly Spell-a-thon for the younger grades and a Read-a-thon for the older grades. The Spell-a-thon is held during school hours but for the Read-a-thon they go to school on a Friday evening at 5pm, pizza is served to all the kids that show up for the Read-a-thon and they read from 5-9pm and for the big reward at the end they get a dance from 9-10pm. The funds raised go to school trips, camp for the grade 7/8's and other student activities. DD doesn't go door to door, she calls grandmas/grandpas and aunts/uncles and has raised the most money in her class for the last couple of years.

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Old 02-10-2010, 11:47 PM
 
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I don't like it either. DD1 brought home a brochure for pizza kits from and not only are they low quality and super expensive (and the group only gets a small commission) but it has instructions for effective sales which rival what my dh got when he did furniture sales.

IMO there is just something incredibly tacky about having kids sell in that manner.

Why can't donations be just for donations sake, why attach a crappy product to it. If you must actually sell something I'd be much more willing to attend an old fashioned bake sale.
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Old 02-10-2010, 11:48 PM
 
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When our school sends fundraising stuff home, it specifically says NOT to go door to door. It does suggest asking grandparents/aunts/uncles, but not neighbours. And as we have no relatives here, anything bought is bought by us.

But our school also has no issue with kids not participating. If one class gets a pizza party, the whole class gets it, including my dd who they have to order a GF pizza for, at more cost.
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Old 02-11-2010, 05:31 PM
 
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Here's what bothers me about those sale drives. I have to spend $3.75 for the troop to get $0.25. I'm making the company rich, not the troop! So when my nieces ask me to buy cookies for their troop, I make a straight $5.00 donation. I know that doesn't help them win some T-shirt or poster, but come on! Give that money for the prizes to the troop!
Ditto! When my troop sold cookies last year & I saw the measley amount we made after A LOT of work, I said forget it! SO not worth my time. And my girls really didn't care this year that we didn't sell cookies.

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The bakery only makes about $1 per box. Most of the proceeds go to supporting the local council and service unit. No money goes to the national organization. As for incentives: some councils have elected to do away with them to allow the troops to keep more money. Others let the troops decide. Most also allow the girls to earn camp scholarships or "cookie dough" that can be applied toward paying for any council or service unit sponsored event.
Shouldn't this be for GS nationwide? In our area this is not the case, and if it is, they've done a crappy job of letting us know. They say the procedes go to lowering costs for programs, but many of the ones offered are the same or higher than what we pay as homeschoolers. So, really I don't know what all this money goes towards. Luckily, all my parents decided to pay for the fieldtrips & other things for GS. I do realize that not everyone can do this.

I will give a cash donation to scouts, but I already support our local school district with my tax money. They're not getting any more thru crapping fundraising.

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Old 02-11-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by limette View Post

Why can't donations be just for donations sake, why attach a crappy product to it. If you must actually sell something I'd be much more willing to attend an old fashioned bake sale.
I know a few people who respond to fundraising sales pitches with a straight donation and a brief note stating that they don't want/need the product, but they are happy to support the student/school/group.

It's always a good option for people who don't want the crappy product.
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Old 02-11-2010, 05:57 PM
 
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In Little League, kids are asked to sell the frozen cookie dough crap, and we refuse to participate. Dh volunteers as a head coach every year, so we feel like we do our part.
And why do they even need to do that? Our kids play soccer. We pay a registration fee, which includes their uniform. We pay for a soccer ball and cleats beyond the registration fee. There's no need for additional fundraising. I imagine if parents agreed to stop doing this, the organizations would find a way to exist within their means.

The only thing completely sales-related here that we get asked to do is Girl Scout cookies. We buy 4 boxes every year, and that's it. We have a small school at the Seventh Day Adventist church down the street. The kids from there come door-to-door, but it's usually direct charity, such as collecting food for the food pantry, never money or buying stuff.

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Old 02-11-2010, 06:14 PM
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Shouldn't this be for GS nationwide? In our area this is not the case, and if it is, they've done a crappy job of letting us know. They say the procedes go to lowering costs for programs, but many of the ones offered are the same or higher than what we pay as homeschoolers. So, really I don't know what all this money goes towards. Luckily, all my parents decided to pay for the fieldtrips & other things for GS. I do realize that not everyone can do this.

I will give a cash donation to scouts, but I already support our local school district with my tax money. They're not getting any more thru crapping fundraising.
Yes that is the case nation wide. The money goe toward the cost of running the camps and offices such as paying the mortage/lease/rent, utilities, employee salary etc. If anything is left then it probably goes to programs/fieldtrips, but really the cookie money pays all the over head expenses that the council has. Any money that goes to GSUSA is paid directly by the 2 bakeries (Little Brownie and ABC).
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:20 PM
 
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Here's what bothers me about those sale drives. I have to spend $3.75 for the troop to get $0.25. I'm making the company rich, not the troop! So when my nieces ask me to buy cookies for their troop, I make a straight $5.00 donation. I know that doesn't help them win some T-shirt or poster, but come on! Give that money for the prizes to the troop!
Huh. Our troop gets either $0.55 or $0.65 per box, and the boxes are $3.50. The remainder goes to support, among other things, the many nice, large camps our council owns.
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:27 PM
 
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I wouldnt like it at all if it where required. Thankfully it is optional here or I dont know what I would do. I refuse to allow my kids to sale stuff because the people I know to ask cant afford to buy stuff like that and I know for a fact they would use their last dollar to pay for it. I am not doing to that my extended family. The other people around have kids in school so they dont need mine asking for more of their hard earned money.

 
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:38 PM
 
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I think it is wrong to put children is a position of having to sell any kid of item. I can't say no to children at my door, so I always write a donation check. The stuff they sell is always super-yucky stuff that I don't want or need.

Having said that, I LOVE GS cookies (my whole family does), so we buy lots every year from our friends.

I think I still might be a little traumatized from having to sell JUNK as a child. (campfire girls and school things).

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Old 02-11-2010, 09:13 PM
 
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I think kids selling to support their project or a cause can be a very good thing. But I more and more have a problem with all this prepackaged, overpriced stuff I'm expected to buy, much of which isn't a quality I'd ever buy otherwise. I paid ten bucks this year for boy scout popcorn, which was half the size as last year and came in a plastic container, rather than the metal tin from last year. It was probably $1 worth of product. I understand, the money goes to the troop and all that, and that I can just give a donation, but selling overpriced crap from a top-down source doesn't seem like the best lesson to teach kids. Frankly, I'd much rather see kids making things to sell, or mowing lawns or shoveling driveways, or some other useful or personal product or service. But I guess that's pretty idealistic of me.
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by limette View Post
Why can't donations be just for donations sake, why attach a crappy product to it. If you must actually sell something I'd be much more willing to attend an old fashioned bake sale.
Around here, at least at elementary schools, bake sales are a thing of the past. They did them when ds1 was in school, but the new healthy eating guidelines killed them off.

The groups sell crap, because crap sells. We (ds1's old Cub Scout group) tried selling flower bulbs - pretty nice ones - for two years, because one of the group committee didn't want to see food, or "garbage", as she put it. The amount of effort put in was astonishing, and the return wasn't very good, despite the reasonable payout by the bulb company. The next year, they switched to Scout popcorn - and it went over well, and sold itself. It wasn't quite as sure a hit as Girl Guide cookies, but pretty close. We also received notification from Scouts Canada that if we wanted to sell anything else, it had to be an approved fundraiser. We could wash cars, chip Christmas trees, or whatever - but not sell any product other than Scout popcorn.

I don't mind fundraisers, and dh and I took the viewpoint that ds1 was learning that sometimes you have to work to be able to play.

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