Monday, 15 February 2010

If Only Smarties Had the Answer

Well here we are, safely embedded within Half-Term (again. already) but the end of school did not pass without (further) embarrassment on my behalf.

My son's school decided to do their bit for the horror that is the situation in Haiti.

For some (inexplicable) reason they decided what the people of Haiti really needed were tubes of Smarties emptied of the sweets and filled with 'loose change' (that and a WordSearch competition themed around earthquakes. Okkaaaaaay.......Apparently it was the idea of the 'Student Council'. In their defense their average age is 8, but all the same.....).

Only nobody told me about the need for the Smartie tube until the night before.

Now as tempted as I was to shrug my shoulders and send a cheque attached to a letter about Boycotting Nestle, the debacle over the 'Shoe Box for Operation Christmas Child Which Mummy Forgot and Tears were Shed Over' is still too fresh in my memory to brush such demands aside, so I found a 24 hour garage, bought the sacred Smarties (in the essential tube) and emptied the tube (hard work that bit).


Only it's not fine.

Because then I needed to fill the tube with 'loose change'.

This is all very well if you have any loose change and maybe start looking for it more than 10 minutes before you have to leave to do the school run.

What are you supposed to do if you presume you have 'loose change' (come on, there's ALWAYS loose change isn't there?) and you then realise that your change is significantly less 'loose' than you imagined - i.e. you can't find any?

My OH was away, my school run does not pass a single cash point in any form and the only way I could have found any more money for the bloody Smartie tube would have been to take a major diversion, withdraw a ten pound note, find a shop, buy something small and demand lots of small change and consequently deliver my child to school approximately half an hour late.

Even I drew the line at that kind of farce.

So what did I do?

I searched every coat, every bag, ever cushion of the sofa and came up with........

Four 2p pieces and three pennies.

There we are tragic victims of Nature's fury - 11p towards the rebuilding of your Nation.....

I toyed with idea of padding out the bottom of the tube with tissue paper but decided that sending in shreds of bog roll was even more offensive than the 11p alone so left it at that and prayed that my pathetic effort would go un-noticed (whilst secretly wishing the Connect Four counters would fit down the tube).

On arrival my hopes were dashed.

The teacher herself (not even her assistant) took the (very light) Smartie tube and smiling announced that my son could have it back as they would be taking them into 'Golden Assembly' and making a display of their contents on the stage (so I made the right call on the addition of the toilet paper then....).

Parents are encouraged to stay for 'Golden' Assembly (more on this curiosity another time) but I was out of there sharpish.

It's bad enough to be known as the woman with the mis-matched boots whose car smells like a (cheap) wine bar and forgot the sodding Christmas Shoe Box. To be known as the woman who donated 11p towards a global catastrophe would be pushing it methinks.


  1. Great post. I'm not sure what I should call you... Bridget?

    My name is Lucy and work for Samaritan's Purse and the Operation Christmas Child campaign. Thought I'd say thanks for your support. Keep it up.


  2. Well 11p is better than 0p, which is what some people will have (not) given, for whatever don't beat yourself up! L's school did a 'Hats for Haiti' on the last day of term and we were at school and I was looking round wondering why all the other kids were wearing weird hats (it was raining so I didn't really register before that point, assuming that L's friend that we walked with was wearing a police woman's hat to keep the rain off, and actually considered it quite an ingenious idea - given that he's a boy - but the design was perfect for keeping the rain off his head and face!), before I remembered. Oh well. I then rummaged in my purse and discovered I had one 50p in it and nothing else. So that was that, she took the 50p. I have donated elsewhere, and at the end of the day there are people in this country that don't have 'spare' change, so I think schools need to be careful how they deal with who has given how much etc (I'm guessing in golden assembly they didn't actually take each child in turn and empty out there tube in front of everyone - well I HOPE they didn't, if they did I'd be *very* unimpressed!).

  3. I agree with Ruth. Schools should be much more sensitive in these straitened times.
    Sue xx
    p.s. was it hard dealing with all those smarties?

  4. Glad to see another Nestle Boycotter out there, after this blip, keep up the good work. Not being able to buy a small percentage of chocolate bars is doing my diet the world of good!

  5. I've tagged you over at my blog, it's a really big issue, I hope you'll take part and play.