Friday, November 08, 2002

Get your hands off my cupcakes!

Big to-do at one of our local elementary schools on Election Day this week. It wasn't in the interest of any candidate or ideology, and it didn't involve hanging chads or electoral improprieties of that nature. It involved parents, but didn't have anything to do with outrage over kids getting a half-day off school (I might have marched in that parade). At the most basic level, it was a dispute between two deeply cherished American rights: the right to vote, and the right to hold bake sales.

The Home and School Association at this particular palace of learning had chosen, as Home and School Associations will, to hold an Election Day fund-raiser. And, as is not uncommon in our town, they chose to hold it in the form of a bake sale in the school gym, right by the voting booths. Within 100 yards of the voting booths, apparently, because an election official decided their bake sale was in violation of voting laws and they had to vamoose. To which the Home and School president said something along the lines of, "You'll move these cookies only when you pry them from my cold, dead hands."

Things kind of mushroomed from there. Senior citizens, outraged by having their right to home-baked goods trampled upon, started paying $5 for 50-cent cupcakes in a show of support. (Why they can't be that generous when it comes time to vote for the school budget, who knows.) More election officials arrived, and so did some city councilmen, and finally those brave local politicians solved the problem, as local politicans will, by throwing money at it: They bought out the bake sale so that everybody could go home happy. Next time, the bake sale may be off; but this time the parents made about twice as much for their donuts and pastries as they've made in elections past.

And what do we learn from all this? I'm hoping we've learned that you can make a lot more money from fund-raisers if you let people pay you to stop having them. Heck, I'd pay top dollar to get out of hawking gift wrap and chocolates next year. Really, Home and School organizations, get with it. There's money to be made.

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