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PTA Stuff - when to let it go!

(22 Posts)
user1499370485 Thu 06-Jul-17 21:01:16

So, our school had it's Summer Fair last Saturday. For a primary school of approx 500 pupils, a whopping £6.3k was banked - not all profit, granted, but nevertheless, the most we'd ever achieved.

However, today the school office received an anonymous letter from a grandparent whose grandchild had visited the soft toy tombola and won a prize. Said grandparents were not happy with the soft toy prize, in fact, they were darn right disappointed - both them and their grandchild(ren).

Admittedly, the soft toys on offer (oh yes, you got to choose your prize!) had probably not been checked over as closely as they could have been, due to the number of volunteers/time constraints. They also mentioned that another prize was filthy and had to put in the washing machine...surely this is a given for any soft toy that isn't bought new?! Maybe not necessarily the filthy part, but certainly the washing machine for 'a fun water ride'. We've all been there with the class bear and it's adventures, let's face it.

Anyway, I'm digressing. I am a part of the PTA who helps to organise this particular summer fair, with the help of a small minority of dedicated parents and the teachers. The toys are donated by other parents in the run up to the day of the fair and we volunteer our time to the cause of raising funds for those little extras for the children at school. As treasurer I was counting the proceeds for 2hrs after the fair finished, preparing a spreadsheet on the Sunday evening so the stall holders could see how much they'd raised and then on the Monday breaking the change machine in the bank for the 2nd/3rd/4th time this year...and then crying when it was £150 out - I was clearly as tired as the kids at this point.

Don't get me wrong, even by turning up and spending your money on the day you are supporting us, I'm not denying that fact. What I am struggling to grasp is why the heck I, and several others, bother only to receive such a letter, which was cowardly not signed so we cannot even respond. Please someone, restore my faith in people and tell me why we do this?!

If I knew how to post the letter on here, I would...

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Thu 06-Jul-17 21:12:10

You do it because you have raised a fantastic amount of money for the school. It is always a few parents who organise such events but lots people really do value it and have a good time. I am sure the Head and staff will say thank you.

If your school is happy with this, when I was on the PTA we always had a bottle Tombola. It did not matter if it was tomato ketchup or whiskey! The main point is that it wasn't secondhand so no complaints. People can be grumpy so do not give them cause to be. We just had secondhand toy stall and you took your pick! That's where all the "tat" went. Children bought stuff for a few pence. Hope this helps.

Well done though! It must have been a great fair.

user1499370485 Thu 06-Jul-17 23:36:58

That's very kind BubblesBuddy - like I said, it was the most we've ever taken, securing well in excess of £4.5k profit for the school for a one day event. We do do a bottle tombola too, and learnt our lesson the hard way last year with a mixed alcohol/bottle tombola!!! This year we separated so we didn't have to wait for adults to turn up if they won a bottle of alcohol! They were as equally chuffed to win a bottle of shower gel, bless them. We funnelled in our entry this year and maybe made a mistake of what stall to put near the entrance, lesson learnt in that sense as they say smile

The new Head has already expressed her thanks, so that's lovely, but it still doesn't help that you get that one person, you know?!

Thanks for replying though, hope you have a great summer x

OP’s posts: |
fatowl Thu 06-Jul-17 23:37:43

You have to smile and nod at the complainers.
I'm not pta but I do run large events for Girlguiding and it will never cease to amaze me what parents complain about after me and my volunteer team have spent the weekend entertaining your child.
My favourite was "the leader doing the sign in didn't smile at me enough".

You've raised a fantastic amount, well done.

maudeismyfavouritepony Thu 06-Jul-17 23:41:51

However, today the school office received an anonymous letter from a grandparent whose grandchild had visited the soft toy tombola and won a prize. Said grandparents were not happy with the soft toy prize, in fact, they were darn right disappointed - both them and their grandchild(ren).

How sad. Some people have to complain. Let them, of all the people who had a great time, they are the tiny minority. You do a fantastic job. cake flowers

tellybear Thu 06-Jul-17 23:54:52

People complain about everything and will always complain. Perhaps the grandparents and parents can volunteer next year to help sort and wash the teddies? Send a blanket message out next year reminding grandparents/parents to help so the £1 teddy they won at the school summer fund raiser (which was donated/previously owned) is immaculate.

Well done for your summer fair and the amazing amount raised.

Neolara Fri 07-Jul-17 00:05:21

Some people are just miserable, whinging arses. I know it's easier said than done, but just try to ignore the complainers.. I bet literally hundreds of people had a great time at the fete and you and the rest of the PTA should be hugely proud of raising that amount of money. The school and kids will benefit massively.

BubblesBuddy Fri 07-Jul-17 00:07:00

I have always been pleased with a bottle of shower gel! I think you just need to find a way not to have grubby toys as prizes. It is easy for parents to jettison tat. You just need a tat stall to redistribute it to them but not as a prize. Or don't ask for it at all. You could always do a magic money tree!

viques Fri 07-Jul-17 01:07:39

What a miserable old git of a grandparent! I work for a charity and we have a lady who every year comes in with a heap of pre loved teddies and other soft toy animals that she has had donated or bought from boot fairs, charity shops etc, then washed ,brushed and restored to fluffy loveliness. What makes them look amazing is that she packages them up in new cellophane bags with gift ribbon bows. They really look incredible. If you could find a parent willing to take on the job then you could send out a request for old teds a few weeks in advance next year you could stop old grumpy knickers in their tracks.

Yokohamajojo Fri 07-Jul-17 08:48:50

My DS won a small bottle of own brand vinegar at the bottle tombola this year he was over the moon grin

It must be a particularly grumpy person to complain about a £1 teddy and then bother to actually write a letter to the school. I almost feel sorry for that person, must be a miserable existence

Well done for raising all that money

Rainbowqueeen Fri 07-Jul-17 08:52:30

I agree with Yoko, what a miserable person

Thank your lucky stars it would never occur to you to write such a stupid letter and remind yourself that you and the rest of the team are amazing for putting on such an awesome event.

olafisking Fri 07-Jul-17 08:53:07

We won a bottle of bleach at the tombola this year. Didn't occur to us to complain though I did post an ironic sadface on FB to give our mates a giggle. All for a good cause eh?

TeenAndTween Fri 07-Jul-17 09:04:55


We had a complaint once that a pencil that had be won had a broken lead. We replaced it, simultaneously wondering how anyone could be so petty.

Or put on your newsletter / twitter / whatever. 'Thank you for coming to the fair, etc etc etc. Finally, to the anonymous person complaining about the quality of prize won on the toy tombola, please contact us as we are sure that with your help organising next year we will be able to make the fair run even smoother.'

Fantastic amount raised.

user1499370485 Fri 07-Jul-17 09:21:49

TeenAndTween - that's exactly what we did, posted it on the school PTFA Facebook page. Without putting your name on, we couldn't address the issue personally, blah, blah. All the other parents were lovely and boosted us back up.

To tellybear and viques - we included that if anyone is willing to wash them for next year, we'd be eternally grateful, but that is some dedication that volunteer puts in!!!

Thank you to you all for your lovely comments. We will try to ignore the few who try to bring us down. Onwards and upwards as they say smile

OP’s posts: |
Wh0Kn0wsWhereTheTimeGoes Fri 07-Jul-17 09:27:50

I agree, how petty can you get? I help run our fair, I'm not even one of the main committee members but I must have put in at least 10 hours work on ours last week, most people have NO idea how much work goes into it. We check expiry on every item donated to our tombolas (bottles/sweets) when we are labelling them, it probably doubles the time it takes, all these little jobs add up to a massive amount of work, then people moan because of some trivial detail. Hold your head up, you did a good thing!

SilverDragonfly1 Fri 07-Jul-17 13:32:42

I help run shows at the charity where I work. My favourite complaint from a member of the public is 'This grass is longer than usual, why wasn't it cut?' Grass was ankle height and field is usually used for grazing...

I also get complaints from stallholders about people pinching an extra bit of room for their displays, people with pushchairs stopping in front of their stall while looking at a different stall, the queue for the face-painter (I would stop having a face painter in a heartbeat! What is it that makes everyone so desperate to have it done?) etc.

Still worth it smile

Lotsofsighing Fri 07-Jul-17 13:44:06

Oh god we've heard it all too -- shouldn't have real glass on the jam jar tombola as 'imagine my horror when I saw a child carrying one' and accusations of corruption on the teddy bear tombola. Oh and general 'it's not as good as last year'. Oh and people who think they're doing you a massive favour by volunteering but turning up late and not thinking it might include setting up and tidying. And breathe.

It's so hard not to tell them to f themselves. However, the ready-made, efficient answer is always 'fantastic, thank you so much, I'll put you down to staff it next year. It would be great to have someone so efficient' or 'good point, what do you think was missing and then you'll know what to do for the next fair'. That shuts them up...

Det54 Fri 07-Jul-17 18:22:45

I completely empathise with this, I'm currently my ds year 6 class rep have sorted out soooo much on behalf of the parents to create something special for our dcs and one mum stopped me in the street and said there had been a number of people not happy with the plans..... needless to say all from people not willing to put in their own time and effort, some people are just so ungrateful and ungracious, won't be doing this again

Leeds2 Fri 07-Jul-17 18:42:08

Dare I ask what constitutes corruption on the teddy tombola?! DD now at uni, but I still remember similar things going on back in my day. As in, the accusations from people who did nothing whatsoever to help.

Piratefairy78 Fri 07-Jul-17 19:42:40

I hear you. We had our summe fayre last week too and raised over £3,000. The current complaint is that there wasn't enough stalls and we should have some more. The head asked me join the conversation to introduce me to the parent as apparently they were volunteering for the PTA next year. The look on their face was priceless.

Dawnedlightly Fri 07-Jul-17 19:47:06

The office staff should have put the letter in the bin.

WellTidy Fri 07-Jul-17 19:49:36

Keep going. I bet the children had a wonderful time.

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