Why is the infernal cake stall business the job of MUMS?!

(59 Posts)
Chandon Wed 26-Jun-13 11:36:01

So, in our school y6 mums traditionally run a cake stall every single week for the last term, to raise money for the Y6 day out/celebration.

So.....we started getting organised. Interestingly, most mums in this particular year work, and just do not have the time ( or energy or inclination) to bake and sell cakes every week, at 20p each, so a lot of cakes need to be sold to reach our target.

Some working mums wanted to know if we could maybe just all contribute £40 and be done with it.

I have been thinking why I feel pissed off about the whole set-up, and I think it is the fact that t is not the PARENTS job to fundraise, it is the MUMS' job.

Considering the fact most mums this year work ( and even if they did not!) AIBU to feel angry that it is the women's job to fundraise through a ridiculously unprofitable and interminable cake baking project. WTF? is this the modern world or what?

Or should I just suck it up for the sake of "tradition" and don my apron and bake loads of cakes? I feel really annoyed, nobody expects any of the DADS to give up their time for this pointless exercise.

wannabeawallaby Wed 26-Jun-13 11:38:02

So why does it fall to mums? More fool the mums for putting up with it and shame on the dads for not getting involved.

Chandon Wed 26-Jun-13 11:39:10

So is it just our school? It is not normal, right?

dads all seem to work too, never seen a dad do cakes or cakestall

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Wed 26-Jun-13 11:39:39


The cake stall is the most inefficient profit-turner known to man - and women, natch - kind.

And I say this as someone who likes to bake. For myself to eat.

MalcolmTuckersMum Wed 26-Jun-13 11:40:44

More fool anyone who sells a decent home made cake for 20p. How on earth do you hope to raise money like that - and indeed - isn't it almost a criminal waste of money when you could probably do so much better from a similar investment. Work out what it actually costs you to make the cakes and weep at the loss you're making!

Ziggyzoom Wed 26-Jun-13 11:40:55

Does anyone actually dictate that it is mums only though. If it has just worked out that way then why don't you just buck the trend and have the dad of your household do the baking. I know if this was our school, wild horses wouldn't keep DH away from the cake stall and he would be quite happy to knock out a few lemon drizzles!

MalcolmTuckersMum Wed 26-Jun-13 11:42:11

Ha! Cross posts with Don - good to know it's not just me. Truly - find a better way of raising money - or increase the price of your cake. Otherwise you'd be better off buying a pack of Jammie Dodgers and selling them for 20p.

Chandon Wed 26-Jun-13 11:43:29

DH is never back from work in time ( teacher at a school half an hour away)

I am not sure it HAS to be mums, but it just always IS.

My anger is indeed about the fact it has to be the women, as well as the fact that it is just unbelievably inefficient a way to raise money.

But we cannot raise prices as, apparently, people ( ie the parents who do not bake but just consume) would be upset.

Startail Wed 26-Jun-13 11:43:48

You need to do a mix of events.
Here many mum's work, but it's the dad's who do long hours because so many commute.

Thus mum's do cakes and DHs run bars, BBQs, put up gazebos, run side shows and firework displays at weekend and evening events.

Yes the mums still do more as the help at everything, but we do try and remind the DH/DPs that they are their children too!

kim147 Wed 26-Jun-13 11:44:01

Here's an idea.

The year 6 are going on the trip. Maybe they can make the cakes and sell them.

A sort of mini Apprentice.

Who says its for only women? Or have you just assumed it is in a valiant effort to look for more examples of societys tendencies to put women in the kitchen?
I should point out, if its a womens only stall then thats utterly wrong but id like to know who says it is first.

LuisSuarezTeeth Wed 26-Jun-13 11:46:23

Maybe suggest other fund raising ideas for PARENTS? If its an expectation rather than written, it's not going to change unless someone challenges it.

MalcolmTuckersMum Wed 26-Jun-13 11:47:09

See? Good idea kim. And have a 'Dad's Bake Day' or BBQ or something - involve them - make it fun - get suggestions from everyone, not just the few (PTA veteran here, with scars to prove it) and sorry, but quit trying to make it a feminist issue and get with making some money. That, in this instance anyway, is the important thing here.

Chandon Wed 26-Jun-13 11:47:19

It is not written down that t should just be the mums, it is just the unwritten tradition.

Startail Wed 26-Jun-13 11:48:38

Cakes are not as good as they used to be as ingredients have gone up so much people are begging to resent seeing them sold for less than they cost to make.

MalcolmTuckersMum Wed 26-Jun-13 11:48:53

Well unwrite it - whilst keeping it good humoured and concentrating on making money! You sound a bit jaded with it all - that can come across to everyone and before you know it people perceive it as a negative thing. It doesn't need to be - it can be great fun with fantastic outcomes.

Chandon Wed 26-Jun-13 11:49:29

Fair enough malcolm.

I used to run a hot choc stall in winter, much better margins and low input ( so good steady fundraiser) but school does not like it as risky ( hot liquid)

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 26-Jun-13 11:49:41

Blame the mums themselves if you want to blame anybody - same as for school 'collections'. It's the mums who seem to want to put themselves forward for tasks like this; the dads seemingly have a lot more sense.

freddiefrog Wed 26-Jun-13 11:49:59

I've been having this argument with school for years over cakebakes.

What's the point in me spending a fiver or so on ingredients to make cakes that they sell for 20p each? I'd rather just give them the fiver and be done with it

At our school it doesn't just fall on the Mums, although it is predominantly the women who do it. School just want helpers, they don't care what sex you are

Chandon Wed 26-Jun-13 11:51:23

Jaded....yes, Have been doing t for too long.

But you see, I feel I can't bow out as I am one of the few part timers so they count on me.

MalcolmTuckersMum Wed 26-Jun-13 11:51:44

I can make 12, for eg, lemon drizzle cupcakes presented in a box for around £3 using decent ingredients. If you saw them you'd happily pay me £6 for 12. If I charged you 20p each it would, as I said before, be a criminal waste of money and potential. Find different ways around the 'people won't pay more than 20p' problem. They will - you just have to help them think it's a great idea!

fancyanamechange Wed 26-Jun-13 11:52:00

Bunch of mummy martyrs.

LtEveDallas Wed 26-Jun-13 11:52:43

Ohh I was pissed off about this only yesterday.

I work full time. DH is a SAHD. DD is 8.

Maybe once a month I do a school pick-up, and only if I have finished work early on a Friday. In 4 years I have maybe taken DD to school twice.

DH was on the 'Friends of the School' when DD was in reception (but couldn't cope with the bitchyness!). He helps out at every sports day, helps walk the kids to the pool on a Wed, is always there for DDs assembly or special occaisons.

Yesterday he was approached by one of the teachers (someone who has known him for 4 years) and asked "We are looking for help at the school fete next week. Could your wife run the cake stall and make some biscuits to sell"

Now previously (Xmas fair 2011) I made shed loads of biscuits that DH and DD hung from a christmas tree and invited kids to buy and decorate. My only contribution was the baking, DH and DD did all the 'work'.

DH pointed out that I would probably be willing to make the biscuits, but certainly wouldn't run the stall as I would be at work. Teacher replied "Oh, well there is no point in having the stall if she's not there to run it. Could she help out with teas and coffees instead?"

DH just said "NO, she's at work" and walked away.

Bloody woman.

juneau Wed 26-Jun-13 11:52:54

If you all banded together and refused to do it, they'd have to come up with some other idea! We had a cake sale today for my DS's year. Some of the mums baked, I went and bought two packets of fairy cakes from Sainsbury's and that was that! I'm not spending the day baking for the sodding school - and I'm a SAHM who apparently 'has the time'. Pah! It's my time to do with as I wish and with a toddler to care for I don't wish to spend my day baking.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Wed 26-Jun-13 11:53:37

20p a cake is madness.

A fiver a cake is bad enough, but 20p is seething-with-resentment territory.

MalcolmTuckersMum Wed 26-Jun-13 11:53:54

Well Chandon - when we reached that stage - and most PTAs do - we had a radical re-think and presented the school and parents with the option to change or sink. They gave us a chance and we trebled the income in just one term. It can be done - but you do have to go in in a 'don't fuck with me' grin kind of a way.

happyyonisleepyyoni Wed 26-Jun-13 11:55:21

Yes, don't ever waste your time and money on expensive ingredients, if these are for the kids to buy they are just a vehicle for icing and sprinkles. IME the ones that sell fastest are topped with dolly mixtures or other sweets.

how about "Ice Cream Fridays" if you can get hold of a freezer, buy a load of lollies in amultipacks from the supermarket and sell them at £1 eachin the playground after school. We've made an absolute fortune doing that for our PTA.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 26-Jun-13 12:01:23

Why do you let the school dictate to you? If fundraising IS the job of the parents - and I don't actually believe it to be so - then it needs to be viable. Otherwise just call it a 'fannying around waste of time and money' event and don't dress it up as 'fundraising' because it patently isn't.

Everybody's time is precious and at least covering costs plus a reasonable 'profit' is needed. Otherwise, bung them the cash you would have spent and tell them why.

I really do think that lots of 'mums' like to complain but would be heartbroken if they were taken 'out of the loop'. Sorry to say it but I think men would really think about what the output is supposed to be and work towards that as the goal. Probably many women would too but for some reason... they do this; ineffective and pointless really.

curlew Wed 26-Jun-13 12:01:48

Why do you charge 20p for a cake?

We charge 60p for a big decorated cupcake, 40p for a small one and 30p for home made biscuits. It's a big primary school in a very disadvantaged area. We make about £60-80 profit per cake stall. (Well, almost profit- people put in receipts for ingredients, but not for time- they donate that)

And as for why it's mothers- you tell me. All our publicity and so on talks about parents, never just mothers- but it's overwhelmingly women who do stuff.

But sort out your pricing!

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 26-Jun-13 12:02:07

What Malcolm said - your time, your rules.

freddiefrog Wed 26-Jun-13 12:13:42

We've tried several times to overhaul our PTA fundraising events. Some of it has worked and been really successful, but they still insist on the bloomin' cakebakes. We've shown time and time again that they're not effective ways of raising money, and over time cake donations have dwindled to almost nothing as parents are getting annoyed with making cakes that are then sold for next to nothing

We've tried suggesting all sorts of ways to make them more profitable - selling drinks and providing tables so it's a more social/afternoon tea sort of event, presenting plates of mixed cakes for a couple of quid, anything really, but it all falls of deaf ears

Our head has recently changed the way the PTA works as she was fed up with all the back stabbing, bitching and arguing. We now make suggestions and ideas for events, and we organise ourself into smaller groups and run with them. The cakebake stalwarts do their thing, and others do their thing. It works really well now, we don't have to argue our ideas with the PTA chair anymore

kim147 Wed 26-Jun-13 12:17:01

Best thing we did was a talent night with "unusual" voting.

The public vote was based on how much money the children got in their box. So each child was sat on the stage with a bucket - some rich parents put a lot of money in so their child won.

I was a teacher so had no idea this was the plan.

Fillybuster Wed 26-Jun-13 12:23:29

I have sympathy....had a similar rant at DH last night about our school 'fun day' (hah!) this weekend. Each class has a stall, and then the PTA (or PITA a I like to think of them) reps from each class set up a rota for the mums to sign up to for 30 mins each. So (in theory) I'm down for 90 minutes of stall-running, solid, on Sunday afternoon, whilst dh mooches about with our dcs who neither of us get to see all week....angry

Admittedly, there's not many ftw mothers in the school but that isn't the point!! Why can't dh serve candyfloss or manage the guess how many sweets in the jar competitions?

(By the way, he will be covering at least one stand, obviously...and possibly the only father in the place to do so....)

SoftlySoftly Wed 26-Jun-13 12:24:03

Because dads and mums like me are too sensible?

They'd ask how much the trip is, divide cost by parents, ask for cash.

Job done and a huge sigh of relief from most normal people!

If all these hard-working professional men and women floated the idea at work of selling a product for 20p that cost 25p to make they'd be laughed out of a job.

Right now, taking MTM's figures as typical, you are taking the available cash to pay for a Y6 day out (£3 spent on making cakes per Y6 family per week) and throwing away 20% of it (given that those cakes will then be sold for only £2.40). I suppose that's fine if you don't actually like your Y6 kids very much or you are worried that they'll get spoiled if they actually have a nice day out, but otherwise it's just irrational. You need either to actually increase the amount of available cash through the medium of baking (i.e. put the prices up) or just collect the money directly and immediately have 25% more money to spend on the day out.

You've got (probably) a huge range of solid commercial/business experience across the assorted Y6 parents; you can't possibly be the only one who sees that this is madness. Make a stand!

BackforGood Wed 26-Jun-13 12:28:01

I don't understand why it isn't the Yr6s who are making the cakes, and manning the stall ? confused

Ilisten2theradio Wed 26-Jun-13 12:31:21

One of the biggest fundraisers in DD'[s school was a clothes swap evening.
Clothes were donated beforehand.
Some parents were persuaded to be models for some of them - Catwalk type of thing, and then people mooched through the rails, tried on in the toilets, and paid a small amount for anything they wanted.
There was a paid bar which made quite a lot and snacks too.

MummyPig24 Wed 26-Jun-13 12:31:30

I have made some brownies and fairy cakes for the cake stall at sports day tomorrow. To be sold at 20p each. I like baking stuff for us to enjoy but I don't particularly like doing it so they can sell them.

I'm a sahm so I suppose I apparently have time, it's not how I would choose to spend it though!

kim147 Wed 26-Jun-13 12:31:56

Year 6 could do car washing, face painting, gardening - I have worked at schools where the year 6 have had to come up with plans to raise money.

MummyPig24 Wed 26-Jun-13 12:33:14

We also do 'Ice Cream Fridays'.

DontmindifIdo Wed 26-Jun-13 12:33:24

I'd bow out, just because you work parttime doesn't mean you can waste your time and money on something so stupid. So what if it's tradition, if noone is prepared to carry on the maddness of making cakes to sell at a loss when they are time poor, then the tradition will die on it's arse unless the teachers deciding you have to do it this way start baking themselves.

If it makes you feel any better, when you 'resign' from baking and organising duties, hand over £20, that's like giving them 100 cakes. If you rocked up with 100 cakes I bet no one would think you weren't doing enough.

Personally I agree it's unfortunate that it falls to mums, but that's because a) woman tend to be the ones who've either given up work or reduced their hours so have more time (you just have a year that hasn't quite so traditional) and b) men tend to not try to "do it all" so if they work full time they are quicker to say, "sorry, I don't have the time to help out with X at the school, but here's a fiver to the funds." - the working parent guilt of trying not to let having DCs effect work and not letting having a job effect anything child-related, does seem to be a more female problem.

But then, schools are a nightmare for this, in most primary schools the bulk of hte teaching staff are woman, and they aren't able to just have time off to go do things at their DCs schools, yet even though they are staffed by working woman, so many schools really don't seem to be able to comprehend that the mothers of the pupils might have similar time pressures to them.

HelgaHufflepuff Wed 26-Jun-13 12:33:57

Who said it has to be the mums? Has the school actually said it's the mums job, or is it just a case of dads not bothering to get involved?

CissyMeldrum Wed 26-Jun-13 12:38:01

The year 6's in our school, have a fayre with little stalls and this year there was no cake stall the children managed to raise £600 maybe you could get the year 6's involved they would have a lot of incentive to work hard and make lots of money.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 26-Jun-13 12:38:09

You need to raise prices.

We doubled our prices at the summer term cake sales this year and were sold out within minutes despite there being at least one plate of cakes from every child in the school.

We made a really decent amount of money.

TempusFuckit Wed 26-Jun-13 12:38:54

YANBU with the mums thing. Challenge it directly.

As to the silly cake prices issue, why not write "this cake cost £6.20 to make" on the top and see what it's priced at then?

TempusFuckit Wed 26-Jun-13 12:39:23

In icing of course!

kim147 Wed 26-Jun-13 12:42:50

Year 6's are very persuasive at getting people to buy things. In your face buy these cakes now kind of persuasive.

happyyonisleepyyoni Wed 26-Jun-13 12:47:07

DontmindifIdo has a good point.

Most staff in primary schools are women and many of them are mothers.

So why do schools seem to think that mums are all sat at home waiting for the next order to bake cakes etc?

Our head teacher is a case in point. She suggested that "mums" should all meet up for coffee after school drop off to discuss PTA stuff. Well thats the Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary out because we all have jobs!

insanityscratching Wed 26-Jun-13 13:21:12

Y6 are doing their own fundraising at dd's school.HT gave them £200 and they have used that in an enterprise project. Stalls have been running all week selling sweets (from pound shop bagged up in individuall portions) keyrings (made from Hama beads), trinket boxes (bought cheap and decorated) cocktails (value lemonade, fruit juice, food colouring etc) Biscuits (value, half coated in chocolate dipped in sprinkles) cakes (again value and decorated) Raffle (prize donated) Lucky dips (sweet and balloon). Past years have made £600 plus profits, they have sold out every day so far within half an hour so should do well again this year.

kim147 Wed 26-Jun-13 13:25:37

Reception class I worked in had the idea. We "made" biscuits - just like above. Coated in chocolate, decorated with sprinkles.

Job done.

Rice Krispie cakes.

Simple and cheap to make. And profitable. Alan Sugar would approve.

kim147 Wed 26-Jun-13 13:26:56

Add some coffee / tea, few ice creams and lollies. Flapjacks and cookies. Children like simple stuff - none of these fancy cupcakes or massive cakes.

Chandon Wed 26-Jun-13 14:15:05

Oh this is a good thread, I was sort of just venting but niw have some GOOD ideas!

I am supposed to run the blasted thing...with good grace ( I nly shw my jaded dark sde on MN)

So I will
- get te y6 kids to do baking and help at stall
- supplement with Asda donuts if not enough comes in
- if we simply get no cakes, will chnge concept to Ice Cream Friday
- we will increase the price to 40 or 50p ...?!
- last but not least, I will change my attitude to a positive can-do one with a bit of bossiness thrown in and challenge the status quo, in a positive manner, where required!

Just felt I inherited a dud concept....

Change is good

juneau Wed 26-Jun-13 18:41:57

Its 50p per cake (fairy cake, cup cake, etc), at DS1's school. I think that's pretty reasonable.

LiegeAndLief Wed 26-Jun-13 18:49:15

We do ice cream Fridays too. No freezer necessary, just a big coolbox. Makes a fortune and I'm sure it's more cost effective than a cake sale.

Do it as 50p per cake or £1.30 for 3.

We do this at our school after a boycott by myself and three other mums. We found it increased takings rather than the original trial of 50p per cake.

Sold as 1 for you, 1 for child and one to take home. Or 1 for each child and one for mum.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 26-Jun-13 19:39:55

I must agree if you have a problem with it, don't do it.

Make your dhs do the flippin cakes grin. If they won't and you don't want to, don't do it.
I just used to buy them and take them in, nobody knew any difference.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Wed 26-Jun-13 19:40:53

So when people talk about 'cakes'... They're actually talking about cupcakes?

Snog Wed 26-Jun-13 19:41:41

My dp often does the baking for cake stalls.
I think up to one cake stall a term is fine but one a week is ludicrous.

curlew Wed 26-Jun-13 20:10:39

Absolutely cupcakes. Things that kids can eat on the way home. But we always have some bags/boxes so that people can take them home. We always do it on a Friday so people can buy cakes for the weekend.

The best sellers are usually ones with sweets on. I buy Morrison's own brand frosting in vanilla and chocolate, and put a Minstrel or a malteeser or a Haribo on each cake, then sprinkle with glitter. I make muffin sized ones- they cost pence more than small ones to make and look much more impressive- they sell for 60p each. Money for old rope, a cake stall if you do it right. We do one a fortnight. People know when it's going to be, and come prepared with money. £60-80 every time.

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