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Children as salespeople

By Meg Miller
Posted Monday, January 19, 2004

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At the last Perry Harrison School PTA Advisory Meeting it was announced that again this year our children will be asked to sell the products pushed by "The Candy Man" company. This is the school fund raiser and the PTA has NO say in whether or not we approve of this type of fundraising. I and some others voiced their concern but this is solely the principal's decision.

Our main complaint is the competition used to promote sales. The children have a sort of "pep rally" to get them all jazzed up for this money maker. They are promised the usual trinkets and parties for the top saleskids and the coup de grace being a ride in a Limo to lunch for the big cheese "top saleskid". So be prepared when your child comes home begging for you to sell this stuff so he can WIN.

I don't care for the message this sends. I also think it discriminates against the kids whose parents may not work at a place that allows selling or may not work at all, OR just may not BE THERE to assist in such ventures. So the child with the "less involved" parent may feel like they are punished when they can't participate in the rewards.

What are we saying to these kids? Some of you may point to girl scout cookie sales. Well, I'm not wild about those either but that is the ONLY option the organization gives girl scouts to raise money. AND the product is a good one---who doesn't like girl scout cookies? Last year we had many disappointed customers with the "Candy Man" program, whose products are overpriced and in some cases, of questionable quality. The school also has OTHER options to raise money for the general fund. I repeat: THIS IS NOT A PTA SPONSORED FUND RAISER.

North Chatham is beginning their second year of a very successful fund raiser, one that raised $10,000 last year (the same as our "Candy Man") And all the kids do is READ.

They have a read-a-thon. They also have a pep rally--- to get kids jazzed about READING. Then they get "Aunt Lucy" and grandpa to pledge a certain amount for every page read. The REWARDS speak for themselves....there's no limo ride. I do think there may be some ice cream parties involved.

The schools are always in need of money...some more than others. Folks don't want taxes to go up so our schools are always scrambling to come up with funds. This money goes to the general fund which does everything from pay the phone bill to help disadvantaged kids get what they need. I'm certainly not saying we don't NEED this money.

I would be interested in any opinion on this subject, pro or con. These are my opinions and observations and not those of the Perry Harrison School PTSA. (disclaimer???) There is a PTSA meeting on Feb. 17th, with further input then. Also if any other school is doing something other than SELLING bric a brac to raise funds, I'd love to hear about your successful program.

Also, please try to attend the following: Board of Education meeting at Northwood High School on January 26th at 7 p.m.

These folks are discussing building and NOT building schools for YOUR children and they need to hear from ALL of us...not just the few. Thank you.

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004
From: Peter Theye
Subject: Candy Fund Raisers at Schools

The reason schools, not PTAs, have fund raisers is that the Board of Education does not fund running the schools adequately. At North Chatham School the office and our booster club raise over twenty thousand dollars to pay long distance phone bills, faxing, middle school athletics, gym maintenance, student and teacher supplies, etc.

It is so short sighted of the current school administration to view athletics as outside of the education of middle schoolers!

Many times these candy fund raisers use OUR CHILDREN as puppets that are hooked into selling trash. It should be illegal, it should not be necessary for our school to be forced into this position.

I wonder where the parents are? Why aren't they concerned about this kind of activity? Why do they allow such poorly funded schools? Why don't parents mind all the testing? One wonders.

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004
From: "Kira Dirlik"
Subject: Children as salespeople

This really gets my dander up, too. I don't know what changed, but we never had ANY fundraisers when I was in school (and the gym was equipped). When my kids came home just about in tears (from Hillandale Elementary in Durham in the early 80's) at the prospect of having to go door to door like a Jehovah's Witness to sell something, maybe it was magazines at that time, I really was astounded. I told them they were NOT going to do this, and to just tell their teacher, apologize to their classmates, but on BIG principle, this was exploitation and ridiculous. And no way was I going to
subject my friends nor fellow workers to something so outrageous by doing the selling for them. They were extremely relieved to not do this and to have a valid reason.

There were school sports days, carnivals, and wonderful plays put on by the kids. A donation at the door could have been requested (the carnival did raise funds), and for those who could not afford to pay, they were still more than welcome to join the fun.

"The Candy Man", indeed. What a very appropriate name!

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Children as salespeople

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