She thought I said “We fund!”

By Mir
September 23, 2008

Before starting this off I’d like to take a minute, again, to thank each and every one of you who bid on my Wii auction to benefit my kids’ school. I really thought, when I put that post up, that I might very well end up with $20 and a hearty smack to the forehead (my own, for being dumb, you see), so it really warmed my heart that y’all were so generous.

Also, our PTA president specifically asked me to pass along her thanks, as well, which was very nice because I am still feeling a little overwhelmed with the new knowledge that the entire group is apparently reading my blog now. *waving weakly*

With that, I give you our GORGEOUS winner: Naomi, who is also half of the duo behind Rock-N-Tot. Naomi totally proved her rockstar cred by bidding $375, and our little Title 1 school will be receiving every dollar of her bid. Thank you so much, Naomi! You are SUPER PRETTY!

So while I have money on the brain….

Monkey has played a couple of seasons of soccer here in Georgia, and he has enjoyed it very much. What’s not to like? There is grass! And running around! And SNACKS! All ingredients for a happy child, ’round here. What I have particularly loved about this league is that it’s very low-key; one practice during the week, one game on Saturday, and no official score-keeping. That’s my kind of sport.

Granted, you have the option, with this organization, of two different tracks. The first track—let’s call it Fun—is the one Monkey’s been in. The cost is minimal, the mood convivial, and it doesn’t matter one bit if your kid isn’t exactly an athlete.

The second track—let’s call it Serious—is a whole ‘nother situation. It costs approximately five times what the Fun track does, and they work HARD. This is for kids who can actually play soccer, and who want to keep score, and who travel to games and stuff. They have real uniforms and numbers, as opposed to the branded t-shirts the Fun kids wear. Also, I hear they actually have to be GOOD.

There was never any question as to which league Monkey would play in. While I can understand ponying up the money if it’s something your kid is truly dedicated to and good at, my child is neither. I doubt he would make the cut even if he tried out for the Serious team, and the very thought of the cost makes me light-headed. No brainer all around.

Well, registration came along this Fall and I signed Monkey up for a third season, but I was shocked to discover that the cost had doubled. Huh. Well, it was pretty cheap, before, so perhaps they are just finally taking a long-overdue inflation adjustment, or something. Okay. I paid my money and signed him up.

The time came for the coaches to contact the players, and I discovered that Everything Has Changed. Apparently Monkey and his pals have now aged into the next tier in the league—despite being in the Fun track rather than the Serious track—and now instead of 1 1-hour practice each week, they were to have 2 90-minute practices each week. Across town. (Previously our practices were at a field on this side of town.) Late enough that it would significantly interfere with the kids’ bedtime on two school nights.

We sat down and did some thinking about this (mostly in the form of me saying to Otto, “Do you BELIEVE THIS crap for a bunch of 8-year-olds???”), and then after some discussion with Monkey (whose firmly held opinions ranged from “Whatever” to “Well, I wouldn’t mind swimming, instead, if I still get to have a snack afterwards”), elected to withdraw him from soccer. It just felt like it was really going to be too much.

(And yes, now that he’s doing swim team, instead—twice a week, yes, but only for an hour, and not 30 minutes away, and not during bedtime—we always have a snack afterward, as the cornerstone of any good physical fitness practice is how many carbs your mother will let you consume in the car on the way home.)

Problem solved. In fact, problem solved beyond my wildest fuel-saving hopes and dreams, because for the first time my kids are in the same activity. Hallelujah and amen.

Except… I cannot get the soccer program to give me my money back. As Otto put it, the other night, it’s likely not a matter of malice, but of ineptitude. I have sent several emails and now I’ve moved on to phone calls. Just yesterday I was ASSURED that yes, of course, they’d be happy to refund our registration fee, and the person in charge will call me back FIRST THING TODAY. Needless to say, I haven’t gotten a call. Or a refund. And you can call me crazy, but I’m starting to get a little annoyed. Especially seeing as how I registered my kid two months ago, and withdrew him over a month ago. They’re not telling me “No,” they’re simply ignoring me.

What would be the family-pet-in-the-stew-pot equivalent for demanding that the local soccer association not ignore me? Deflated soccer balls scattered throughout their parking lot? Jockstrap missiles fired at their windows? It’s gotta be something cheap, because I’m still waiting for my damn money.


  1. liz

    You could borrow a bunch of kiddie pools from people around town and let Monkey and his swim team have practice on the soccer field.

  2. Stephanie Chance

    I would call every few hours until I got my money.

  3. Megan

    These people are volunteers. Volunteers dealing with hordes of 8-year-olds AND their helicopter parents. In other words – there is no threat you can use because they are already in the Inferno (they are split – some in the 5th circle with the wrathful and sullen, the rest edging towards circle 7 for the violent). It is very, very sad. This does not, of course, help get your money back…

  4. The Other Leanne

    Hello PTA folks! Pay no mind to Mir’s harassment scenarios! Really, she won’t hurt you!
    As for the soccer association, wave the Wii offer in front of them and then when you get your refund say, “oops, sorry, Naomi had a higher bid.”

  5. Jean

    Megan is dead on. I don’t think it’s that they don’t want to refund your money. It’s more a matter of who writes the check and when will the money it’s to be written off of be deposited and who has to authorize the refund before the check can be written and we’re all volunteers here, see, and we can only do what the organizers let us do and so on and so forth.

    Mohammed could move mountains quicker than many of these organizations could honor such a request. Still, it IS a royal pain to have to keep after them, especially when you’re right. I have no suggestions other than to put them on your call and pester list for Mondays and Fridays. Best of luck! And Go Swimmers!

  6. Katie

    Is there a place you can show up in person? I hate going that route too (although I can’t stand the phone calls either) but sometimes if you do the “I’m here and I’m not leaving until this is fixed”, someone will take pity (or be so annoyed) that they’ll figure it out.

    Right now? I’m dealing with a bill that we didn’t need to pay that accidentally went to collections. It was a canceled insurance policy at our old house and the insurance company has said three times that yes, we don’t owe them anything and it shouldn’t have gone to collections. But of course the collections people are a bunch of hungry pit bulls and are still calling and I have no idea how to get this to stop.

  7. All Adither

    Be extra squeaky, Mir. Be extra squeaky.

  8. Andrea

    It is hard to be patient, and if you are anything like me, you desperately want to cross this item off your list and not have to devote any more brain cells to thinking about it. I have enough to remember! I’m currently repeatedly following up with my mortgage company (apparently it was sooo hard last year to pay my town tax by Sept 30 when I gave them the info in JULY. It’s not a good idea to finally get around to paying it in NOVEMBER instead! Grr.) AND with our old car loan (traded in the car and don’t want to make another payment that will get lost in the atmosphere somewhere).

    Anyway, this happened to a friend of mine with soccer camp. She had paid with a credit card, so she did a complaint with the credit card and things got done.

  9. mamalang

    I lovew the swimming practice on the soccer field idea. I’m still chuckling over that one.

    They call those “serious” leagues “travel teams” here. I’m with you on that whole process.

  10. The Other Lori

    Do you have an email address for this organization? If you do, I have one word for you…SPAM.

  11. jennielynn

    Sounds like a squeaky wheel situation. Keep at it. Maybe let them know you’ll be charging interest.

  12. Nic_Bune

    Hmmm. If there is a place you can go, perhaps you should buy a box of donuts and stage a sit-in. “You don’t get any donuts until you honor my request, and I’m not leaving until you honor my request.”

    Volunteers want donuts. Management wants you out of their office. You want your money. There’s only one solution here, and when one side wins, everyone wins. If you can get them to see that, the path to resolution will be obvious and followed quickly.

  13. Wendy

    mmmm…. donuts…….

    what? oh. right. soccer and money. I’d probably just call every hour or two until I got to talk to the right person and then I’d make sure the knew I had their name and number on speed dial and I would be calling again regularly to see where things stood. And then every time I called i’d be so super sweet and over the top nice it would be sickening. “Oh. Hi again. I’m so sorry to be calling you again. I don’t want to take up too much your time. I know you are very busy. I was just wondering if maybe in the last 15 minutes anything has changed? I know I’m being terribly annoying. I very much apologize. Nothing has changed yet? Oh, yes, I see. People you have to get in touch with. Of course. Thank you so much for your help. I’ll check again in 15 minutes. Thanks! Bye!”


  14. bob

    city hall. talk to the mayor or maybe your alderman/councilman/whatever. (see – ’round here, my dentist is my mayor and I can just stop by on my way to work to talk to him.) so go on by, tell ’em I sent ya’.

    that’ll work – totally.

  15. Katie in MA

    I’m with All Adither. Call twice a day. Then three times a day. Keep calling and calling and calling and then they’ll pay you to go away. Which is sort of the point.

  16. dad

    I know it’s a matter of principle, but be careful not to spend a dollar of your extremely valuable time in this persuit for every dime you are entitled to recoup. Be kind. Be persistent. If that doesn’t work I have a friend from Detroit….

    You should spend your time being pretty…and sarcastic.

  17. Kim

    I had a similar issue with swim lessons. I was unsure of which class was correct, so registered for 2. I knew before the classes started which was appropriate and dropped the extra one. I never got my money back, so I called. First someone assured me that I would get a refund. Then someone else called and insisted that no one ever said refund, and that class I would get a credit. Then when the alleged credit never appeared on my account, they promised to register me for a class at the next registration session and that I would see the class in my account when I logged on to register for other classes. As expected, nothing was registered for me on the registration date. When I emailed to get an update, I was told that all the classes were full (well, duh) except for one swim class at 8AM. On a Saturday. What stone-hearted mom can get a preschooler up early on a Saturday to go to a swim lesson where they can’t even play in the pool afterward (the pool doesn’t open for fun until 11AM). I complained again. Magically a spot opened in the 9:30 class on Saturday which was better, but still not popular with the 4 year old who wants to be able to play afterward. This is a fairly new facility, and maybe they are still working out the kinks, but I would think the county would have this all working smoothly by now.

  18. Billie

    I wish my son would go back to soccer. The kid plays fall-ball (baseball) 3 times during the week. No nice Saturday mornings. Monday thru Thursday. grrr… AND!!! It is a half an hour of practice before the game and then a 2 hour game!!

    Katie, you need to send the collections agency proof that you don’t owe the debt (if it is still within 30 days). If it is past 30 days you will probably have to contact the credit bureau. If you don’t want them to call you, tell them that from here on out they are only allowed to contact you through the mail. It may take a day or two but then it should stop and if it does not you can call the BBB or the Federal Collections something something…lol. Good Luck!

  19. dgm

    I was going to suggest calling the press. Well, that and not paying for swimming, then telling the swim people to go collect it from the soccer people. That way you can wash your hands of it.

  20. Randi

    They did the same thing here for Toad for baseball – it wasn’t too far away, but the practices were fairly late into the evening – to the point that we’d get home, grab a glass of milk, brush teeth and go to bed. And he is SEVEN. Do they think we’re trying to raise star athletes or something?!

  21. Flea

    Go to their office and stand and wait for someone to cut you a check. If that doesn’t happen, wait there until the person who can cut you a check comes in. Don’t leave till it’s in your hand.

  22. Jackie@agsoccermom

    I am sorry that the treasurer isn’t getting back to you in a timely manner. I would email her/him again and copy it to everyone on the board, (they should have the board meeting calendar on their website) just state I will be there on at the next board meeting on such and such date to pick up my check. The treasurer can’t sign checks by themselves, they will need another board member’s signature.
    Board meetings are open to anyone signed up in soccer, as of right now your still signed up. Try to remember too, that these people lead different lives so they may never see each other but on the soccer fields. At our board meeting there is always check signing going on because of this. Sorry it’s so long, but I wanted to help.

  23. Mom101

    Well since you’ve got the PTA reading now…put them to work! I bet they know people. Or know people who know people.

  24. Karen

    I just hate it when simple things are so hard.

  25. ATLCheap

    Flea’s got a point. The camp out approach works.

  26. Deputy's Wife

    I had to comment on your practice comment. My oldest son (he is 8) has started his second year of activities and my middle son (he is 6) is on his first year. Last year we were rookies. Signed up for everything without thinking things through. This year, we have some experience under our belt.

    What I can’t believe is the practice schedules! 90 minute practices? Two or three times a week? And the cost of it all! Good grief! I told our local rec board that these were small children wanting to have fun, not semi-pro athletes looking to make it in the big leagues.

    This year we cut back. Way back. The boys have been told to select two activities for the entire school year. That’s it. And we narrowed their choices according to scheduling and affordability.

    It is no wonder there has been a huge drop in high school kids going out for sports. I am thinking by the time they reach high school they are burned out.

  27. Lauren

    You need Face Time. Corner someone (nonviolently) before a practice.

  28. Tootsie Farklepants

    Last season my youngest son ended up on the waiting list for softball (there are a lot of damn kids out here) and the parks and recs sent my registration fee back to me stating that when they found a spot for him I could pay the fee. They found a spot. I walked my check in. I got a call from them days later wondering when I was going to pay.

    Oy. Vey.

    Godspeed, Mir.

  29. rose

    Not sure how their schedule works, but give them a week for things to settle down. Don’t call them over and over. These are parent volunteers and your town is smaller than you think it is. The person you drive crazy today could be on some committee with you for something else next week.

  30. Premenopaws

    I served on our local youth baseball board for five years. As others have mentioned, it’s all a bunch of volunteers, and if your soccer board is anything like ours, it’s a few people trying to do the work that should be spread out over many people. They are probably getting bombarded with complaints like “my kid didn’t get the coach he wanted”, “my kid didn’t get put on the same team as his friend”, “my kid didn’t make the SERIOUS league and he’s really really good so you all suck”, “why can’t I sign up now even though the deadline was a month ago”, etc, etc… My advice, if you haven’t already done this, is to try to speak directly to the treasurer and find out when he/she cuts checks. Ours got very good at ignoring complaining parents (even those who had good reason to complain) and he ONLY cut checks once per month. No exceptions. Good luck.

  31. Mom on the Run

    Soccer is a time drag, for sure. My kids never progrssed past rec. My youngest is on his first rec. team. Very low key. One practice and one game per week. We’ve also done the swimming thing as well. More practices, but the atmosphere of swimming is so different to any other other organized sports. Swim coaches are better trained. Our coaches give the kids incredibly detailed instruction, which is a far cry from soccer. In soccer and basketball, the coaches are mostly moms and dads who try their best to make sure the kids have a good time, but are not trained. We have had soccer experiences where our kids learned nothing each week. But, for the most part soccer is about playing with your friends and getting a snack.

  32. Aimee

    Part of my job is collections for my clients. Call up. When you get a volunteer, ask who’s responsible for writing checks. Get a name, and if possible, a number. Don’t take no for an answer. Call that person directly, explain the situation and politely but firmly demand your money back. Talking to a lower person on the totem pole isn’t going to help. If all else fails, e-mail ME the number and I’ll browbeat them. I’m good at that. ;)

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