Monday, September 26, 2011

Mum Sense

It's homecoming week at my son's high school.  The big game is on Friday night and the dance is on Saturday night.  My son is a Junior this year, and he asked a young lady to the festivities.

It is traditional for the boy to give the girl a mum corsage to wear to school on the day of the game.  When I first heard about it, this is what I was envisioning...

But this is The Great State.  Everything is bigger in Texas.  And sometimes gaudier.  And if it's both big AND gaudy, it's perfect!  I present to you the Texas mum corsage.

Really.  You can't make this stuff up.

Mums typically have a backing to which you attach an artificial mum(s), stuffed animal(s), ribbons, braids, charms, and bells and whistles (literally).  You can also add lights and even a little mesh bag filled with Hershey's kisses.

The mum my son bought = $80.

 The average mum probably costs around $80 and can go up to over $200.

Is that crazy or what?!  The girls also are supposed to get the guys a similar-looking but smaller version called a garter that they wear on their arm.

What do you think it costs to actually make one of these?  My guess is that the average mum adds up to about $15 in materials if you buy in bulk and maybe $20 in labor (it might take an hour or two to make one if you know what you're doing). That's a pretty hefty profit!
I suggested to a couple of co-workers that their kids spearhead a drive to bring the sense back to the mum tradition.  One has a son who is a football player and the other has a daughter who is a cheerleader, popular kids who could sway the masses.  These particular moms also think it is ridiculous to spend this kind of money on something you wear for only a few hours, especially since you also need to pay for a dress (or suit), a restaurant dinner, and homecoming dance tickets.  Wouldn't it be a good idea, I suggested, if there was a smaller, less ostentatious mum you could buy whose proceeds would be donated to a worthy charitable cause, like maybe towards those who lost homes in the Texas wildfires?

Unfortunately, no one wants to be "first" in trying to change a tradition, especially a teenager.  What we need is to somehow make it "cool" to have a mum that celebrates helping others and is worn like a badge of honor, not the badge of horror there is now.  In my opinion, we need some sanity in this mum madness.

I would love to hear some ideas on how such an idea could be successfully implemented!

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