ugh - room mother and suggested giving amount for christmas gift to teachers - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-02-2010, 12:07 PM
 
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That's about what I typically spend on teachers, but the room mom should have left the amount vague. The one time I sent out an e-mail like that (to collect money for a gift for our room mom, funnily enough, but she was awesome and went way above and beyond all the time), I intentionally included language saying stuff like, "If you'd like to contribute," "any amount is fine," and "please don't feel obligated." I think it's rude to assume that everyone can/will donate a particular amount, and I totally understand your frustration about that, OP. 


This is the good approach. At our preschool an email went out for teacher appreciation days where we basically bought the teachers lunch and delivered it. Usually on days the preschool was closed but the teachers were working on whatever it was they worked on during breaks. The email always stated "if you'd like" to contribute to the envelope "around $5" or so. There were definitely some high income earners at the school, and there were definitely people utilizing a scholarship program, and there would never be a presumption that a family could give $15 per teacher, especially during the holidays.

 

My husband is homeroom parent for my son's kinder. I hope he's not going to have to do the soliciting. I say leave it up to each family. He already organizes teacher appreciation days, which involve food not gifts.



I agree with this too. We have given gifts to ds's daycare teachers. Considering how lucky and appreciated dh feels, as a teacher himself, when he receives gifts at the holidays. We know ds's teachers would feel the same. We have usually given something in around the $15 range and yes we've even re-gifted gift cards that were given to dh (mainly restaurants we don't eat at (we're vegetarian and a bit of health nuts, I guess). I do think the amount the mom requested should be kept vague though and very general to participate or opt out of the group gift. You never know what someone's personal finances look like and shouldn't suggest an amount that may work for you but might not be in the someone elses budget.

 

 I personally would rather get the teacher a gift on my own. Large gift cards can be nice but $10 coffee cards are really what dh looks forward to. winky.gif

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Old 12-02-2010, 12:42 PM
 
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My DD attends a private school, most of the families there are very wealthy. We are on financial aid--our income level is significantly lower than most families at the school. The teachers at our school are usually given gifts at the holidays and at the end of the year. These are usually group gifts with the classroom mother doing all the organizing including inviting people to contribute. But I have never seen a letter with a suggested amount, it's always "give what you can/if you want to participate". Anyway, the way we always handle it is to simply give what we can. The teacher doesn't see a list of who contributed what, they just get a nice gift.  So my take on it, is just give what you can and if you don't feel comfortable giving anything, don't. For me I found it much more difficult the one holiday when the classroom Mom did not collect for a group gift. I felt way more freaked out about giving our teachers individual gifts because then it would be obvious that we didn't have much money. Of course our teachers are lovely people and were super gracious and appreciative of what we did give ( homemade bread and a nice card), but I personally feel more comfortable contributing to a collective gift. In terms of amount  we usually give around 20 which is then divided between the two teachers (I believe many families at the school give way more than that).

 

On the subject of room moms, the ones at our school work very hard being the liaison between the teachers and the parents, they keep us informed on what's going on in the classroom, upcoming events, organize events for the families outside of school, make sure the teachers have what they need in the classroom (soliciting help and donations from the parents when needed), and they have to deal with a wide range of personalities and expectations from the parent community. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for these Mama's! It's a tough job. However, I've never given a gift to a room mom, and I don't think it's expected, but I do make sure to let our room mom know how much I appreciate her hard work!

 

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Old 12-02-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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My son is in 1st grade and it hasn't come up yet this year.  He went to a preschool for 2 years and a different kindergarten.  At both of those places, a group gift like this was organized by a mom for both the holidays and the end of the year.  I think it is pretty common - I think the general idea is that a teacher would get so much more use out of a gift card to Target or some restaurant than a bunch of smaller gifts.  I used to be a teacher, and while this was never done for me, a $100 gift card to some store or the chance to eat out without budgeting for it would have really meant a lot to me.  

 

I am sorry it seemed like a demand - that would probably put me off a bit too.  Having experienced this as a parent at two different schools, I feel fortunate that it was always done graciously and no one was pushy about it.  There was always a note and a suggested donation - usually $15 or $20 per teacher with 2 or 3 teachers in the class - and then also a comment to just give what you feel comfortable with.  We participated in these all but one time.  I seem to recall that at least at DS's preschool, they didn't really know who donated - you just stuck your money in a plain envelope and put it in a larger manila envelope in a designated spot.  

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Old 12-02-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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My mother is a teacher. She's a Montessori teacher in a primary class (preschool/kindergarten age). She gets gifts a lot...but, honestly, she doesn't really care. Sometimes she'll get things like jewelry even though she NEVER wears jewelry (she hasn't worn earrings in decades and the holes have long since closed and she doesn't even wear a wedding ring!). I think the parents have gotten a little better about giving her more generic things like lotion and candles, but she doesn't even use those hardly and regifts most of the stuff that she's given.

 

Honestly...this woman needs to get over it. Now, if parents were to chip in whatever they could (be it $1 or $100) and give the CASH to her, that would be fine. But most teachers, from what I've heard my mom say, really don't care about presents. Most of them are pretty useless anyway. Not to mention not every parent can afford to give anything. I can't even afford to buy gifts for my SON this year (it will be my parents and older sister buying DS gifts and I'll probably go and pick out a couple to be from me but I won't be able to pay for them). I definitely could not afford to give his teacher a gift or pitch in $15+ for someone else to pick out a gift. 

 

I say have your LO make a gift (obviously he's pretty young, but even a picture of him with some baby paint splatterings would work)...of all the gifts my mom has been given those are the ones I see the most often. The candles and lotions usually get put under the bathroom sink, most other things get regifted. But every once in a while she'll come home with something a student made and she'll post that on her bulletin board at home. (Funny enough, this used to make me INSANELY jealous as a kid; I had ill feelings toward a kid at our school for months because she made a pretty sparkly Valentine's card for my mom that she put up on the bulletin board. lol.gif) If the woman gives you a snarky time about it just smile and politely say, "I know, I just thought it would touch her heart to have something that my silly DS made on his own!" It doesn't hurt to be a little passive aggressive sometimes. winky.gif


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Old 12-02-2010, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i guess i should reveal that i had already thought of which gifts i would get his two teachers.  his main teacher goes to McD's each morning - she always comes in with OJ or coffee from there.  so, she was getting a McD gift card.  the 2nd teacher i was going to get a more generic card, like from Wal-Mart or Target.

 

the daycare center is running a fundraiser where you buy giftcards from them and the companies donate a portion of the sale back to the daycare.  i was getting them through this program, so not only is it practical gifts for them, the center gets some money out of it too. 

 

i have to decide what i want to do by tomorrow.  if i'm not going in with the group, i should give her a good amount of notice in case that changes what she had planned on doing.


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Old 12-02-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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your gifts sound nice and thoughtful.  I always got starbucks gift cards for dds teachers(usually $5) because I worked there and touch base with their teachers when they came in for coffee in the morning.

 

And honestly, I think it would raise more money for a gift if you left the amount vague.....we always did this with fundraisers (bake sales and car washes where people decided what to give.  we cleaned house.  People often give more when they get to choose the amount.)


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Old 12-02-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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Yeah, her approach leaves a lot to be desired.  I've had to collect money for departure gifts for co-workers in the past, and i send out an e-mail that says something like, "I'll be purchasing a gift for X, who's departing next Friday, if anyone would like to contribute, that would be much appreciated (no pressure)!"  I don't like it when anyone demands a specific amount.

 

Both my kids are in daycare and I always buy a gift card for coffee (Tim Horton's) and put it in a card that says, 'Next coffee break is on Sunshine and The Duke!"  I address it to all of the staff at the daycare, since I know they do coffee runs every day.


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Old 12-02-2010, 06:59 PM
 
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When ever money is being collected for something like that (we don't do "holiday" gifts to avoid religion, but end of year and such) at DS's school, the class mom leaves an envelope in the office for people to anonymously put money in.  The "gift" is always just a nice card in a nice envelope with the cash.

 

Class mothers sometimes coordinate the other volunteers.


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Old 12-02-2010, 07:43 PM
 
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I think the gifts you planned sound perfect for those teachers!  Totally useful.  Having your morning coffee (or OJ) paid for is so nice! Do what you want and don't think twice about the pushy mom - just tell her you planned something else.  

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Old 12-02-2010, 10:28 PM
 
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Hi! I'm a room mom ; -)

Asking for a specific amount for a group teacher gift is pushy, insensitive and vulgar. The appropriate response is to ignore the request and give the teacher a gift card. Since the social goal here is to give the teacher something s/he will actually enjoy, there's no need to reward the vulgar behavior by handing over $$$. You child's teacher will enjoy her gift card!

And of course, the only way to wind up with a room mom whose approach you're sure to approve of is to volunteer for the job yourself next year. Otherwise, you just have to be happy with the things they do well and forbearing when they stumble...
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:08 AM
 
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I would decline every time.She really should ASK if anyone would like to participate,and then you all decide on the  amount you are willing(or able) to contribute. In our house every penny counts,and I know daycare is not cheap.

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Old 12-04-2010, 06:01 AM
 
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I would cease to badmouth the room mom until i see the note/wording, as maybe the note can be taken many different ways by different people.  DH is always asking me to read an email from a client and gets pissy about their tone, when I dont read a tone at all!  

 

That being said, a "suggested amount" can be helpful for others...as we often want to know that we are not being over-indulgent, nor cheap, compared to other parents.  and depending on the area, and the socio-economics of the families, $15 may be very much appropriate.  

 

We are planning on making bird seed wreaths for both the teacher and the aide.  I'm hoping they will display them outside the room windows, so the kids can benefit from seeing the "seeds" of their labor :)  That being said, I have purchased gifts for their teachers before, and I always tend to spend between $10-20 per teacher, when the kids were in 2 separate classes.  Now that they are in the same montessori class, it makes it so much easier.  We are also buying one item for their classroom.


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Old 12-04-2010, 12:39 PM
 
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I'm a room mom in a pretty LCOL area with the highest unemployment rate in the nation and I would NEVER ask parents to donate money like that for a gift! Where we live, it is common for parents to buy/make their own child's gifts for the teacher.  The only thing we ask parents to do is to donate their time, or supplies/food for parties and the like.  I would do what others have suggested and tell the room mom that you already have plans for a teacher gift and not think twice about it!


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Old 12-04-2010, 01:43 PM
 
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The room moms at my kids' elementary school just seem to send home notes asking for donations (treats, craft supplies, drinks, not $$) for a class fall and winter party. No one ever collects $$ for a teacher gift. So you aren't necessarily facing a long time of this!

 

I did go through this when my children were at nursery school. I would either get the teachers something on my own or chip in whatever I had planned to spend. I can't imagine room mom would say anything to you if you give her less than $15, of course, you never know! But just don't let it get to you.

 

And this is OT, but can I just say I'm amazed at whoever  (Tigerchild?) said her child contributes $15 - $20 to pay for an extra field trip, party supplies and a teacher gift. Bussing costs are outrageous here and I'm in a very inexpensive place to live in OH. Last year my son's kindergarten had a bus for maybe 3 hours to take them to the local university (about 3 miles from school), drive them to two stops on campus and then come back after lunch and take them home. It cost like $350, which would pretty much work out to about $15 per child for a class of around 25. To go out of town on an all day trip, it's actually cheaper to get a charter bus (about $800).

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Old 12-04-2010, 01:57 PM
 
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$15! wow sounds like a LOT to me! i spent $10 on each of my fam's kids and i feel broke! i only spent $40 on DD...


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Old 12-05-2010, 11:38 AM
 
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My son attends preschool 2 days a week, and our room mother asked for $25 per teacher, so total $50, for xmas gifts for them, which I think is a little high. I am not in NE, but rather large city in Midwest.

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Old 12-05-2010, 01:33 PM
 
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Well... I've been the one asked to collect for a group gift - both when it came to school and at work. The amount I've usually gotten from either has in no way provided enough for even a reasonable gift card. When our boss' father passed? I ordered an Edible Arrangement for $70. With 15 employees, we were talking $5/person. I got $20. Total. So ate the cost myself. So yeah - suggesting an amount makes sense to me.

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Old 12-05-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post

$15 doesn't seem all that bad to me (sorry) but I'm from New York where gift giving is a big deal. When my daughter was in preschool each parent was asked to give a minimum of $25 for each of the two teachers. This was in a class of 18 kids at a private school. She was only there three mornings per week with another class there the other two days. So, now that I add it up, the gifts for both teachers was a total of $900 at a minimum (although some of the gifts were items for the classroom meaning my child benefited from the gifts of previous classes). But, as I said, this is common for the east coast/northeast. 


$900!?!?!  I have not dealt with 'school gifts'  in a lot of years, but I have kids re entering the school system this year, and no way do I see a teacher needing a nearly 500dollar gift no matter where they live.  Thankfully here in Australia, gifts are not so insane like they are in the states (and boy, I do NOT miss that!)  I don't do gifts for everyone under the sun... my kids, neice/nephew, IL's and that's about it.  So my kids' teacher isn't even going to hit my radar, sorry.  I'm just jaw2.gif  at how out of control gift giving is if someone really feels the need for a childs teacher to get a 450 dollar gift :( 

 

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Originally Posted by Catubodua 

  no, it's $15 per teacher, per child.  there are two teachers in each classroom, with 8 children in a classroom.  that means each teacher would be getting a $120 gift.

 

and, yes, sorry i get ungrateful when i'm getting shakendown by someone.



I think I'd feel about the same in your situation.  For goodness sake ask parents to chip in 2 bucks each and get them a gift certificate for a pedicure or something decadent like that.. it does not have to be $$$$$ to be appreciated!

 


 


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Old 12-05-2010, 08:32 PM
 
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I don't get this since we homeschool but Dh does at work.

 

He says every month he gets approached by co-workers who ask him to donate to such and such a cause, usually its because someone is going maternity leave and the office would like to get that person a baby gift.  He did this for quite a few years prior to having kids himself.  Each time he would donate $10 or so per cause.

 

Then he/we had Dd.  NO ONE did anything for him!  He said he felt so bad about it that he mentioned it to a co-worker who in turn mentioned to someone higher up.  In the end he/we ended up with a baby sleeper outfit and a vase of flowers for me.  This is in an office with 50+ workers!

 

Dh later admitted that it was a lame move on his co-workers' part as it was such a HUGE discrepancy to what is usually given to the women co-workers when they have babies.  In those cases the women come away with baby swings, cribs, AND gift certificates etc. 

 

Needless to say Dh doesn't contribute to such things anymore.


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Old 12-05-2010, 09:08 PM
 
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I think it's fine to leave the room mom a note with an appreciation for her hard work, but that you've already spent your holiday money on personal gifts.

 

Personally, I prefer some kind of suggested amount, although I am not crazy about any kind of assuming that everyone can manage it.

 

I guess I don't see it as a huge problem to have a culture of a generous cash bonus for teachers (in areas where families can manage it--here, where many can't, it's much more common to have it be an individual thing; in DS's school I think only a handful of students brought anything). We certainly have a bonus culture in other fields that pay better/don't add much to society. I am guessing that the countries in which this is not the custom pay their teachers more like the professionals they are.

 

ETA, I mean, I wish we had a culture in which teachers were compensated like professionals, and no ginormous gifts. But given the imbalance in how important teachers are, how hard they work, how women in general are undercompensated, and teachers particularly so (and in some states especially so), trying to patch together a generous chunk in communities where many parents can afford to do so, this seems like a kind impulse on balance; although I do wish the execution were less thoughtless. 

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Old 12-05-2010, 09:15 PM
 
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"My son attends preschool 2 days a week, and our room mother asked for $25 per teacher, so total $50, for xmas gifts for them, which I think is a little high. I am not in NE, but rather large city in Midwest."

Pushy. Insensitive. Vulgar. soapbox.gif


My goal for "my" teacher this year is a $100 gift card to "a place that sells toilet paper" - that's what she requested when I asked her, and I am so very glad that I asked because last year the teacher wanted a Starbucks card. I think that "my" parents will pony up and make that possible. But I would seriously take the $$ out of my own holiday budget before I tried to extract a specific amount from anybody, because I do not know diddley about their financial situations. What if they just got laid off or have cancer or something, and I'm hitting them up for $20 that they don't have to spend on frills? I truly don't understand how people work up the nerve to ask for suggested donations that aren't the $2-5 office baby-shower pool or something like that.
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Old 12-06-2010, 11:22 AM
 
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Ok....I get it now.  I was thinking it was $15 total....yeah well......$120 for a gift for EACH teacher is a lot.   ummm..not happening.


 

 

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Old 12-06-2010, 11:30 AM
 
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Well... I've been the one asked to collect for a group gift - both when it came to school and at work. The amount I've usually gotten from either has in no way provided enough for even a reasonable gift card. When our boss' father passed? I ordered an Edible Arrangement for $70. With 15 employees, we were talking $5/person. I got $20. Total. So ate the cost myself. So yeah - suggesting an amount makes sense to me.



$5 doesn't seem unreasonable to me, but some people need every $5 they've got and it's just not up to you to decide how they spend their money. I would be annoyed if someone made a unilateral decision to spend $70 and then notified everyone of how much they owed to cover the cost. A better way to go about it would have been to do the collection first and then choose a gift within the given price range. With the $20 you collected plus however much you wanted to contribute, you could have gotten a small floral arrangement instead of buying something more expensive and then feeling resentful about having to cover the difference. 

 

And what's wrong with a $20 gift card for a birthday or whatever? I'd be happy to receive that from my coworkers, and would think it was above and beyond what they needed to do for me (which is nothing). 


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Old 12-06-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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The way the email we received was worded we were told that the last two years each teacher received roughly $400 (implying that they wanted to collect the same amt this year). This is my son's first year in school, but I find this a little crazy. My son doesn't even like his teachers that much (we are considering switching schools entirely next year) and like I said, he only goes 2 days a week. We can afford to do it, I guess, but I guess my thought is, do I want to spend $25 on each of them? Ten or 15 dollars seems more than adequate. That said, I totally see teachers not wanting a million bottles of cheap bath bubbles and scented candles and mugs and such.

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Old 12-06-2010, 02:26 PM
 
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the good news is you don't really have 18 years.  there usually aren't room mothers after grade school (so beyond 5th grade :)



No, after that a perky teacher's pet (usually a girl or group of girls) does the organizing and YOUR CHILD will feel the pressure!

 Ugh :(
 

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Old 12-06-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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Question....do the teachers tend to use the money to improve the classroom?  That could be a differentiator to me.  I know at our school, if they receive gift cards, its usually used to purchase classroom items.

 

But yeah, 2 days/week....give $10.


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Old 12-06-2010, 03:58 PM
 
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If you don't want to give, I'd definitely send her a polite note saying you must decline as you have already purchased a gift (or plan to purchase a gift).

 

She should have left the amount open.

 

I'm a room mother for both my kids' classes, and I'm collecting money for a gift for the kindergarten teacher.  The other room mother and I hope that parents will donate (we said "any amount is great"), and then we'll buy a generic gift card from our school's gift card program.  (So the teacher can pick from local grocery stores, restaurants, shops, etc.)

 

Maybe instead of getting too many coffee mugs filled with candy or potted plants she can get something she'd really need/use.  (Not that there's anything wrong with coffee mugs and potted plants, but a teacher friend of mine is always giving away such items after Christmas because she gets so many from her students that she can't possibly keep them all herself.) 


Mom to dd (8), ds (6), and dd (1)

greeny is offline  
Old 12-06-2010, 05:41 PM
 
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If you don't want to donate, just don't.  Or give a lesser amount, if that works for you.

 

I don't mind this kind of thing at all if it's clear that it's voluntary and there's no pressure.

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