Joco Opinion

Snarky in the Suburbs: Try some of these sure-fire fundraisers and watch the PTA’s bank account soar

The Kansas City Star

I don’t know about you, but right now I’m completely stocked up on gift-wrap, cookie dough, popcorn and coupon books.

In fact, just when I thought it was safe to open my door and my email and venture into the office break room, the secondary onslaught of school fundraisers has started. Now, I’m being hit up to buy raffle tickets, magazines and partake in school carnival “underwriting opportunities.” This madness has to stop. Lucky for all of us I have a plan.

The problem, as I see it, is that kids are selling things no one really needs. So to more accurately target the desires of the suburban consumer, I have come up with what I think are four fool-proof fundraising strategies.

PTA Paintball: This would replace the “adult only” school fundraiser, where parents buy tickets to attend a party, with hopefully a hosted bar, and bid on auction items to raise money for their child’s school. While extremely popular in the past decade, enthusiasm and attendance for these kinds of events are waning. Sure, it was fun, in an “Oh wow, I didn’t see that coming” kind of way, to witness parents, fueled by alcohol, fight over who would be the high bidder on the third-grade class basket. But even that gets old year after year.

The paintball event would allow you, under the cover of “supporting education,” to “decorate” last year’s snooty homeroom mom with a direct hit and blast away at the PTA president, who rolls her eyes every time you ask a question at a meeting.

Get Out of Volunteering for One Year Raffle: What mother wouldn’t want to spend a couple or a hundred dollars for the chance to win a Get Out of Volunteering Card from their child’s school? Imagine the joy and sweet, sweet freedom this would bring you. Anytime you get an email asking for help or get harassed by Sign Up Genius you can just type back, “I’ve got the card.”

Even better, when you feel certain you’re getting bullied by the moms who have been known to surround the driver’s side window of your car at school pick up because you haven’t done what they think is your volunteer due diligence, you can just roll up your window while mouthing, “I’ve got the card.”

TMZ: The Suburbs: For a yearly fee, discreetly charged to your credit card, you can subscribe to a monthly digital newsletter that would be gossip central for your slice of suburbia. Want to know who got a brand new set of “twins” that answer to the name of Double D? This newsletter can let you know. Or curious about the neighbor who is “downsizing” but you suspect is in divorce mode? TMZ: The Suburbs can help. The beauty is anyone can write this. No real time has to be spent investigating or following leads.

For example, if you publish, “A certain mom with blonde hair that says ‘I go to the salon twice a month to maintain this Goldilocks wannabe mane,’ and has an acute fondness for XS Lululemon yoga pants (even though she should really try going up a size or two, just saying), was seen driving her import SUV away from the local fear of aging Surgical Center this morning” you’ve got it made. Because, you’ve just described more than half the women in Johnson County and you know at least one was getting something done. So bingo, you’ve got the circle of life of gossip. This is the kind that points a finger at many targets and gives the gift of speculation, thus fueling more gossip.

Police Ride-Aong Auction: I want to do this one so badly I would consider selling an organ to finance my attempt to be the high bidder. I mean, who wouldn’t want to ride shotgun with local law enforcement as, per your directions, they patrol the school dropoff and pickup lines? Even better they’ll be issuing tickets to all the idiots and the Rules Don’t Apply to Me parents, who for years have been wreaking havoc, threatening public safety and your sanity with their morning and afternoon behavior.

Think of the ecstasy you would experience as the Escalady, who almost every afternoon cuts into the front of the pickup line by backing up her rig right into the crosswalk, is asked to not only get out of her car but, in front of all the parents, is issued a DUI field sobriety test, because anyone who does this everyday, after repeatedly being told not to, surely must be drunk or high.

I say we start the bidding at $1,500. Do I hear $2,000?

Freelancer Sherry Kuehl of Leawood writes Snarky in the Suburbs in 913 each week. You can follow her on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, twitter @snarkynsuburbs and read her blog at She's also written a book Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School.