nablopomo_novemberI love the first couple of days of the month. Not only does it feel like a fresh slate, but there’s the added joy of finding NO NEW BILLS in the mail.

But today’s mail included an envelope addressed to “Parents of” from my daughter’s college – with the notation:


Naturally, I opened it right away — only to discover that it was a solicitation:

Subject: Send your student a Final Exams CARE Package

I guess I was mistaken by thinking the days of buying magazines, candy and wrapping paper to raise funds for school ended with graduation. Apparently, my daughter’s college gets a cut from parents who order “care packages” sent through their vendors:

“The success of this program helps us to support all of our student activities. All you’ve got to do is select the Care Package you want. Our goal is to get each and every parent to participate.”

OK. I get it. And it’s not like I haven’t been sending my kid little care packages anyway: Aside from shipping her items she forgot to pack, we’ve ordered her little trinkets from her favorite stores, novelties and favorite food items. I was planning to send her something this month anyway — so this might just be a little more convenient.

“Ordering is a snap. Just write your note and seal it in the yellow envelope… Your card and package will arrive just in time for exams.”

There’s just one problem with this service: the “tasty and wholesome foods” in the different care package options are mostly JUNK: Rice Krispie treats, Pop-Tarts, Wheat Thins, Ramen, Oreos, Slim Jim… etc. etc.

I’ve never been a strict adherent to healthy eating. I think there’s a time and a place for junk food (in moderation). But most of the stuff in the packages are not foods my daughter likes. She’s in an apartment-style dorm with a full kitchen and no meal plan, so she and her roommates have to shop for their own groceries. I’m pretty sure they already have a stock of M&M’s and ramen on hand.

I actually had another option in mind for a care package: Something just as unhealthy — but better quality — which she isn’t going to be able to find at her local Jewel/Osco. Something like this.