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Reality Check: Pushy Fund-Raiser

Q. How can I get my coworker to stop pressing us to buy her child's fund-raiser stuff at work?

A. Well, some of that $20 wrapping paper is kinda cute, even if there's enough on the roll to wrap only one present. And who could pass up a ten-gallon tub of pink and purple caramel corn? Okay, jokes aside: Office workers across America sympathize with you, but moms also understand the pressure not to send a child back to school with only a few lines filled in on those order slips.

So don't hate the player, hate the game  -- and see what you can do to change the rules. Try telling your boss there's been some grumbling about excessive fund-raising at work, then suggest she make a rule that from now on, anyone who wants to hawk fund-raising goods should leave the order sheets in a common area (like the lunchroom or near the coffee machine) so that coworkers can decide for themselves whether they want to buy. That way, those who want the overpriced chocolate-mint cookies can still get them and those who don't, don't have to, sans guilt.