14 10/16/2012 parenting

No Penguin For You!

Now that Will is a seasoned school veteran…you know, two months into JK, I’m starting to get into this whole school thang – and I love it.

I’m on the Board at his daycare; I’ve gone in to meet with his kindergarten teacher; and I’m looking forward to getting involved with his school.  I was a joiner in school, so I’m fairly certain this will continue as a parent.
BUT.  I have a little, little complaint so far…and before the end of the day, I need to know I’m doing the right thing.  It’s magazine fundraiser time.  You know it because I think every school does it.  And I’m all for it.  I’m a magazine addict and the savings are spectacular.

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What I’m NOT a fan of is the incentive prizes.  At Will’s school, there are incentive prizes for how many you sell.   He doesn’t give a crap about them.  What he is obsessed over though, are the penguins.  You see, if you sell subscriptions to certain magazines, you get a penguin. This is something that Will does give a BIG crap about.  Because you see, ‘Mooom – everyone has penguins now and I don’t.’  I ordered $300 worth of magazines yesterday, but I realize that none are ‘penguin worthy’.
This morning, I almost ordered another JUST to get him a penguin.  Then I stopped.  I think this is crap.  Is he going to be disappointed? Absolutely and I’m bracing myself for the tears tonight when he comes home penguin’less.  I don’t mind fundraising and I certainly don’t mind asking my friends and family to support the cause but I don’t think having incentives for fundraising is right.  Not at a school when the playing field is not always level.
What are your thoughts on this?  Should I get the freaking additional magazine and prepare myself for the next 14 years of this with tape across my mouth??
  • Ang

    As a PTA President, I will say that we tried to do a straight donation drive, letting parents know that 100% of their donation would be used for field trips, assemblies, and school events/programs (and it would be tax deductible!). Parents cheered that we were not going to try to sell catalog “crap” and that they could donate $50 and the school would get $50, rather than spending $100 so we would get $50. Then….it bombed. We added the stupid penguins two weeks later and donations came pouring in. Give the kids incentives and they will “remind” their parents. School districts don’t have funds for field trips, assemblies, dances, etc, so they look to PTA…read parents…to provide these funds. Those of us who work to make sure our kids get those things want to tear our hair out too…..It is equally frustrating on the other side of the penguins, I assure you!! LOL!

  • Laurie

    I AGREE! I SEND MY SON TO SCHOOL FOR AN EDUCATION…NOT TO BE PERSUADED TO HAVE HIS MOM (ME) SELL THE EXTREMELY OVERPRICED STUFF TO PEOPLE WHO REALLY DON’T WANT ANY OF THE ITEMS OFFERED FOR SALE AT THE PRICES BEING ASKED! MY SON IS ALSO WAY INTO THE PENGUINS AND I TOO HAVE SPENT
    WAY WAY TOO MUCH ON STUFF JUST SO HE CAN COLLECT PENGUINS. I AM SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING FINDING A WEBSITE AND SIMPLY BUYING THE D_ _N BIRDS DIRECT AND FORGETTING ABOUT THE FUNDRAISER! I’M WITH YOU ON THIS!

  • mysterygirl?

    ok all we need to know is where to BUY these instead of working your ass off to get a fraking key chain. if any one knows that would make my grand daughter so happy!! im just plain tired of this crap when the kids come to my door asking for some money in return for a mag…
    any help would be great :) thanks;)

  • Mom2Michael

    My guy is pretty keen on getting that fuzzy penguin too. He’s started his collection of the little plastic key chain guys, but a few of his buddies got the stuffie. However, I sent 12+ emails and he got the LED USB light and now he thinks that’s way cooler than the stuffie penguin :)
    I’m not getting another mag to get him the penguin. I reminded him he has lots of stuffies, and he is getting other cool prizes. He doesn’t need everything

  • Kath

    Oh, but to answer your question, I’ve gone both ways. One year I canvased everyone I knew and got enough magazine subscriptions to get the girl a stuffy. But last year? I didn’t buy one. single. thing. the school flogged as fundraisers (except Scholatics…I don’t mind Scholastics)

  • Kath

    Ahh, the muddy waters of school fundraising. Here in Alberta, school fundraising is only permitted to be done by non-profit school fundraising societies that are created and run by parents. Individual public schools and public school boards are not allowed to fundraise. They can, however, charge school fees. And they do. But for anything above and beyond what school fees cover (usually supplies and in some cases, field trips) its up to the parent councils to raise funds. I believe it is a similar situation in Ontario. So it’s not the school’s decision whether or not to run the incentive part of the program, it’s up to the parents doing the fundraising.

  • Jen

    1 more magazine? Get the boy a penguin.

  • Christine W

    I’m not a huge fan of the qsp fundraiser. As someone with 2 (soon to be 3) kids in public school I can’t justify buying enough magazines for all my kids to qualify for the freebies. I get that the money goes to the school but the whole thing just bugs me. They have a huge assembly and get the kids all worked up and then I’m the jerk who says no we can’t afford it. I decided to let my kids order out of the scholastic catalogue instead.

  • Alice

    Our take on this is to ask around and see how many people want magazines, order a few that we want, and never mind about the incentives. I tell my kids that it’s not about them, it’s about doing our part, and yes, there are disappointments in life, too. Ha! I sound like such a killjoy on paper… But they do have a VERY stocked playroom.

  • Heather

    After having kids in school for many years now, I “prep” my kids every year now before they have their “magazine assembly”. I explain that we will get whatever magazines we want and need, but we will not be spending hundreds of dollars on magazines so that they can get some stinky prize that will break within a week. They come home, all excited after the assembly and we have the same discussion. I order the magazines on the double day, so everyone gets something – and honestly, they do grow out of it, cuz my 11 year old could care less now about the fuzzy penguins. So, you only have about 6 more years to go! ;)

  • http://www.soberjulie.com SoberJulie

    For the love of all that is bedazzled in the world they need to STOP this incentive crap with the moldable minds of children!!!!!! I’ll stop here because I think I’ve gotten my point across and I’ve vowed not to swear on public forums…..

  • Sara

    Hey Julie!~
    Thanks SO much for this!!! Let me say – I don’t want it scrapped at all – I think it’s totally worthwhile – and I agree a mandatory donation just isn’t the fair way to go – and like you – I got neighbours and family to contribute to my $300 mag order and could never have donated that amount myself. And I also get the incentives for ‘athons’ – I just didn’t like that these fuzzy penguins were tied to certain magazines….sort of annoying. Good to know that he’ll get a keychain BUT then I think about the kid who didn’t sell on magazine…and will get nothing. I need to put some more thought into it. I don’t know – the whole thing just sat oddly with me.

  • Julie

    omg…i just ran this fundraiser for our school! and i can understand your pain, truly :-) i’m not sure why he didn’t get a penguin cuz you’re supposed to with every subscription…unless he’s talking about the fuzzy ones? anyway, here’s my side of it…call it the “dark side” if you will ;-)
    people wanted the mag. drive scrapped and just propose that every family have a “mandatory” donation of $100. so, for our school that would mean roughly $20,000…if everyone donates which, due to family circumstances, not everyone can. so, realistically let’s say $15,000 (even though i think that is high). for me, i’m just mom and money is tight. my “fun budget” is $100 so if the school comes to me for that money i’ll say sure, but then that’s $100 i don’t have for magazines. by going to my friends, neighbours and family i actually raised more than $100 on behalf of my family AND i get to sit around enjoying my magazine schlock drinking a nice hot cup of coffee.
    right now, our school is looking at $18,000 in our pocket because of this so i will back this thing like no tomorrow. (our school loves its magazines!)
    also, with the profits we give our teachers free magazines for their classrooms so it doesn’t come out of their budget and we fill our library with a large selection as well.
    as for incentives…well, they’re all over the place. in charity marathons, read-a-thons, walk-a-thons whether it be gift cards, water bottles, movie tickets, baseball hats…they’re attached to every “a-thon” i’ve ever been involved with or asked to participate in. my hubby got gallons of “irish spring” body wash for doing a 10K earlier this year. it’s not a penguin but it still is an incentive. is it bribery? i guess so..but i know my hubby is grumpy when he doesn’t get a christmas bonus (incentive) from work at the end of the year.
    and on another note, i loved that the kids were excited about something. don’t you remember what you loved as a kid? it’s kinda like ralphie in a christmas story (okay, maybe i’m starting to get a little too crazy with my analogies!) i remember that something so insignificant to the grownups in my life meant the world to me. it was something i could work towards and gave me a wee spark of ambition. now, if we could only channel this excitement to math and other things :-)
    now, i admit…the keychains got a little out of control. i have more ideas on how to better distribute if something like this comes up again for next year. but, for the most part there was lots of trading, sharing and giving which i was hoping for.
    as for the ‘fuzzy’ penguin, it’s just an additional incentive from ‘rogers’. i happen to read the one that it’s attached to so no biggie here. but in the past i have just told the girls…i don’t read that and we are not getting it so you can get the XXX. setting them up for disappointment? yes i am. and with me as their mom they’d better get used to it :-)
    hope the view from “the dark side” helps!

  • Kaybee

    Oh my god!! I just went through this at the school I work at! Are they little plastic penguins on a keychain?? I work at an all-girl high school, and the penguin craze doesn’t go away as they get older. WTF??
    First of all, if the Penguin is the incentive for kids to sell magazines, then the penguin should apply to ALL magazines. It’s insanity that it doesn’t apply to all magazines. How is that fair??
    I would go into the school and demand a penguin for your son. I mean, you bought the damn magazines because the money goes to his school, right?
    OR – you could do what I do — next time, decline to participate in the stupid fundraiser, and just write a check to the school.
    I just bought 3 tubs of chocolate chip cookie dough, spent $45, and at the end of the day only $18 of it goes to the school. AND – I get stuck with 3 tubs of chocolate chip cookie dough I don’t need nor do I want!

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