Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fundraisers for Grown-Ups

Right off the bat let me throw out a quick disclaimer: I may offend some of you with the following observation but, it is just that. An observation. Try not to take it personally if you are one of the "fundraisers" I'm blogging about. In fact, I am a big fan of entrepreneurship and an even bigger fan of any excuse to get out of the house sans kiddos so keep the invites coming! I rant because I love. Besides, this blog is all in good fun. Just go with it.

Lately I've taken notice of all of the work-from-home, Tupperware-type businesses that are popping up for stay-at-home moms. Maybe they popped up along time ago and I'm just now fully undergoing this suburban rite of passage. Whatever the case may be, I have been smacked full in the face with the gambit of in-home parties: Pampered Chef, My Thirty-One, Premiere Designs Jewelry, and...well...Tupperware. Just to name a few.

It began to dawn on me just how much these set ups have in common with school fundraisers - or, at least, the ones that I used to do when I was a kid.

Parallel No. 1: Mark-Up

Everybody along the line needs to make a profit so, while these products typically really are great quality, the price is inflated so that the consultant - or marching band, boy scout troupe, youth group, etc. - can take a cut and the company still makes money. Would the same product cost significantly less at Target? Absolutely.

Parallel No. 2: Peer Pressure

Do you really need a $79 casserole dish or an $18 roll of gift wrap? Uh, no. But your sweet friend has gone through the trouble to set out a cheese tray and a few bottles of wine and host the gig at her house. Much like the doe-eyed child at your front door with their Mom smiling sweetly at you from the street has braved the elements to come ring your doorbell. So, of course, put me down for one of each.

Parallel No. 3: The Joy of Delivery

Just about the time you completely forget that you even ordered anything at all, there is a knock at the door and - surprise! - your order has arrived. Ah, the magical powers of catalog orders. Sometimes delayed gratification really does trump the instant variety. It's kind of like when you make real mashed potatoes instead of spuds from a box. Sure, they take longer but they are so worth the wait.

Truth be told, in-home merchandising and school fundraisers are both genius ideas that have obviously stood the test of time. I just think it's interesting that we end up doing the same things as adults that we did as kids. We just add wine so that it feels more sophisticated and grown up. Cheers to that!

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