Thursday, October 7, 2010

"World's Finest Chocolate"

I'd like to offer my many thanks and simultaneous apologies to all the friends, family, and neighbors who graciously took part in our school fundraiser these last few weeks. By purchasing some "World's Finest Chocolates," you helped my kid get the bribe--er, prize--of a free ticket to a magic show while scoring some supplies for our favorite kindergarten teacher. Trust me, that wonderful woman needs all the help she can get.

Did you notice the quote marks in that title? In case you didn't, I'll repeat it. "World's Finest Chocolate." Yep. Normally, misplaced and misused quote marks are my major grammatical pet peeve. (Yes, I'm dorky enough to have a grammatical pet peeve.) Here, the only people being quoted here are cynical marketing people who were charged with test-marketing brand names. This chocolate is, in fact, not only not the world's finest chocolate, I'd hazard to say that it's not even in the top twenty.

Frankly, I'm surprised to discover that it's even made with actual, real chocolate. I thought for sure that it would be made with "chocolatey favored" ingredients. Yes, it's just that "good." (Who am I quoting? That's marketing for you!)

Why "World's Finest Chocolate"? I get a flower catalog that advertises bulbs for school fundraisers. I could sell the HELL out of bulbs. I would personally buy enough bulbs--300-500 bulbs every fall--to win that kid every prize they had. But no. "World's Finest Chocolate." At least we got caramel. That seemed to help.

This school fundraiser has been a challenge for me. A long time ago, in a place far, far away--Missouri--my mother (Hi, MOM!) was president of the PTA. And she got it into her noggin that, as PTA president, she needed her adorable children to be the top-sellers of fundraising merchandise. Not that I, personally, sold any of the junk. Mom was all about twisting the arm of everyone in the world. And she got results. I won a bike. And a year later, my sisters split the top prize. While I loved that bike, the pressure Mom put on herself wasn't a lot of fun.

The Kid's school had a lot of cool prizes The Kid could win for selling "World's Finest Chocolate." I had to break it to him that he wasn't going to win the remote-controlled cars or any of the other fun toys, because I'm not going to spend two weeks of life pushing subpar chocolate onto the world. But if he sells one box, he gets a free ticket to a magic show. (Parents must purchase their own, so we're still out). So we sold a box.

But we had an unexpected ethical dilemma crop up. Two wonderful people--my sister Hannah and our neighbor Donna--bought large amounts of chocolate--$7 and $5, respectively--and then refused to take their chocolate. They told us to keep it for our own uses. Which is sweet and thoughtful--or it would be if the chocolate were really worth eating. The Kid, ever resourceful, wanted to resell the chocolate at a direct profit. Perhaps we should stop telling him bedtime stories about Warren Buffet and Daddy Warbucks. But, ethically and morally, that's kinda wrong. So we aren't. If we have any of it left by Halloween, some "lucky" trick-or-treater will get some "World's Finest Chocolate" in their treat bag.

I may have missed my "calling" in marketing.

1 comment:

MOM said...

You failed to mention that after the two years of insane fund raising on your Mother's part.........That there was NO MORE..........Hate it , Hate it.....Money was just donated to the cause. And yet, I know teachers desperately need the money instead of having to spend their own on supplies. Especially elementary teachers.........So you go, "World's Finest Chocolate"