Got Too Much Money? Kickstart This.

People have way too much money and no clue how to spend it.

Today I found out about the Potato Salad Kickstarter. I know it's been in the news for a while, but somehow I missed it. In case you did too I'll bring you up to date: this guy, Zack, really likes potato salad around the holidays, but he's never made it before. He decided to try and raise $10 on Kickstarter to buy the supplies to make potato salad. He wrote a funny little bit about how if you give him a buck he'll say your name while he makes his potato salad. It struck a nerve and went viral out of control. As of right this minute (10:55 am central time) he's raised $69,802.

Holy shit, right?

So, good for him. Fine. I'm not irritated with Zack and his potato salad.

What I am irritated about is that at the same time people were giving Zack money, Heather over at My Husband Ate All My Ice Cream was trying to raise some money for school supplies for kids who couldn't afford them. It's really important to help these kids, because it affects their confidence which then affects their ability to learn. (We need smart kids, people. They'll take care of us someday. Potato salad won't.) I can't even imagine being in a position where I couldn't afford to buy my kids pencils and crayons before the school year starts. When she told me about her project I was positive that she was going to tell me that many moms and dads felt the same way I did and that surely her campaign was going well.

Guess how much money she raised?




Uh huh.


I wish.





Shit, Jen, this really sucks. How little did people donate to children who can't afford school supplies?

NONE. They gave her project NO MONEY.

(Well, now I just donated, so she's got one donor. Big whoop.)

"Hmm, should I fund that potato salad guy or should I help needy kids? This is a tough one."
No it's not. Go fund yourself.
I'm just wondering what is wrong with us? Why would we rather give money to a guy making potato salad than to needy kids? I'm just as guilty too. I spend money on crazy dumb shit. Yesterday I didn't bat an eye when I plunked down almost 20 bucks so my kids could roller skate and give me two hours of uninterrupted time to write while they whizzed around an oval yelling "Look at me!" I drive through Sonic and McDonald's and drop a few bucks on drinks every week when I get a hankering for a little something cold and sweet. I won't even tell you what I spend on my Kindle downloads, but let's just say it would buy a shit ton of school supplies.

It irks me that people are willing to give their money to stupid shit like a guy making a potato salad while there are projects and organizations out there with a real need. I'm not saying don't give the potato salad guy any money. If you want to give him a buck or two, fine. He was entertaining and it's fun to be a part of something big and silly like that, but then at least give a few dollars to kids in need as well. That's the great thing about the Kickstarter and GoFundMe projects, it doesn't take much to make something successful. I've had two good friends now achieve their dreams of publishing books thanks to the generosity of friends, family and strangers. It's amazing what can be done! I'm just saying that if we all gave a few bucks towards school supplies we could make a huge difference in so many children's lives and that's pretty cool too. The potato salad campaign has shown what can be done with so little from so many.

Crap. He just crossed 70 grand. That's it. I'm ready to start a Kickstarter to tie my shoes. I need $10 for new shoelaces and then each time I tie my shoes I'll say "Namaste, (insert the name of each donor here)." If I raise $20 I'll tap dance once my shoes are tied. If I raise $40 I'll videotape myself tap dancing and saying "Namaste, (insert the name of each donor here)." If I raise $80 I'll send you a note that says: "(Insert the name of each donor here), Stop wasting your fucking money and buy some school supplies for needy kids. Namaste."

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backwoods mom said...

As a I fight breast cancer I see all these crazy money makers and those who really need it get no help! I may love potato salad but kids and life are more important!!!

Anonymous said...

I wish they offered a way to pay via PayPal, as I'm not comfortable with the credit card info thing right now after an identity theft debacle (they're caught and things are okay, but I'm still leery.) If this opens up, I'll so give!

Angela S. said...

This is me slow clapping.

Rebecca Jo said...

Preach it!!!! I saw the potato salad thing on the news & was like, "Really?"

Angela S. said...

No kidding backwoods mom. I have piles of medical bills from my cancer fight and I can't believe that there is 70 grand going to stupid potato salad.

kylee said...

and now, she has three!

Cherie said...

My best friend hurt her back and her job does not pay enough to pay her bills despite working her butt off to get a college degree. She had a job at a greenhouse to make ends meet, but it was seasonal and was a truly bad idea with her back. She is looking for a new job, but positions in her field are very few in our area and all of her job experience is in things she is no longer physically capable of doing. She started a GoFundMe to try and make enough money so that she does not lose her trailer and can afford food until she can find a new job. She has made next to nothing and won't let me donate any more. Potato Salad Guy is starting to piss me off. I hope he puts some of that money to worthy projects such as your friend and mine. said...

In fairness, have any of you attempted to ask for money like he did? I mean, obviously it's not a real cause, but he took the time to ask....

Kim said...

I am kind of on the fence with this one. I think it's hilarious and interesting but like others and yourself I am also pissed that so much money goes to this guy and the people who really need it continue to struggle. Total bullshit.

Momma O said...

I throw money at stupid stuff sometimes, so I have no problem throwing some at a worthwhile cause, like school supplies for kids. It's a no-brainer!

The Shitastrophy said...

I have an indiegogo campaign going for my mental health anthology...only three people have funded it (pst...I'm one of them) and I know the other two. At the same time there is a guy with almost a million in funding for a machine that simulates blow jobs for guys. So yeah...that's awesome.

Jen Piwtpitt said...

Thank you!

Rellie said...


Bethany Davidson-Widby said...

You have totally summed up my frustration....when I think about how many women our organization could educate with $69k it makes me want to swear off potato salad for good!

Phoenix said...

I know how it is. My family is essentially homeless and couch surfing with family right now. We lost our home because I could not pay the rent since I had to go on disability leave from work and funds ran out but doctors still cant figure out whats wrong with me.

We are still fighting to find a more permanent place to live. Its myself, my wife, and our two boys and the family dog. We have the option later in the year to move to Kentucky to stay with family on a more permanent basis but because of some other issues we cannot do that until mid september at the earliest, and possibility not until closer to the end of the year or beginning of next year.

We did a gofundme thing, trying to raise a couple grand to be enough to pay for a place for a few months. All we wanted was a roof over our heads. Even a small studio with one bed and a bathroom would suffice until we can work through things and get down to Kentucky.

However, not a single person donated. One or two people even tried to insinuate we were a scam. I wish I could have let them hear my youngest saying "I wanna go home" and my oldest would say "We have no home." ..and listen to my wife spend her nights nearly crying herself to sleep.

I won't go into any more big stories about it, but needless to say that the money was for a good cause, and it would have meant that we would have a permanent place to live for at least the next few months. Instead, we are living out of what we can fit in the car and park outside family member's houses to stay at temporarily.

Maybe I should start a kick starter for potato salad or something frivolous. Then maybe we might get some funds.

RachRiot said...

Ri-damn-diculous! There are people with real needs and real problems, like spider veins. Please, give what you can to my Scerotherapy fund. My legs are a tragedy no eyeballs should have to endure.

Monica @ M double M said...

I think the whole point of this is that other, more worthy projects are going unfunded on KickStarter & GoFundMe. So yes, they have attempted to ask for money like he did.

Unknown said...

I have a friend trying to raise money on for a retainer for a family lawyer so she can take her dead beat ex-husband back to court. But, hey! Potato salad for everyone!

Periwinkle Paisley said...

Kickstarter does not support not-for-profit projects. They only do projects that are able to be shared in some way with the people who donate. The reason Kickstarter works is that people feel like the are a direct part of the end result. It's not that anyone thinks potato salad guy deserves or even needs 60K worth of mayonnaise and potato money, it's that everybody gets to jump on the viral bandwagon with him. People don't really feel it when cancer research gets funded or, in your friend's case, when the kiddos get their new supplies. Thank you letters and premiums are cool, sure, but it's not the same as being part of the excitement of seeing the project succeed.

It's all about perception. Scenario A. These kids desperately need supplies. Please donate so they can start school with everything they need!

That's nice and some people will get on board with that.

Scenario B. Be a part of the 1,000 Pencil Project in which, if we reach our goal, the kiddos will use one of said pencils to write YOUR name on a giant piece of paper that will be posted online where you can see it and brag to your friends! (Who in turn will want their names up there too.)

Well, damn! I want to see my name scribbled on a giant piece of paper. I'm in! The perception shifts from one of giving something to someone just to be helpful to being a part of some bigger cooler thing.

A jaded view to be sure, but it's effective, the kiddos get their supplies, some much needed writing practice and you and everybody else gets to see how awesome you are. Win-win.

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