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Awkward voice teacher/fund-raising situation. Thoughts?


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So, my son's choir has held a series of fund-raising events in preparation for a tour this summer. (My son likely can't go, but that's another issue.)

 

Back in October, we held a silent auction, during which our family bid on and won a month's worth of lessons with our daughter's current voice teacher. At the time, I assumed she had donated the item on behalf of one of her other students. Only after the fact did I notice it was auctioned to benefit her personal tour account. (That's how the auction worked. The proceeds from any item sold went into the account of the person on whose behalf the item was donated.)

 

So, now we're sitting here with a voucher good for one month of voice lessons, at a cost about half of the regular rate. And I don't actually see how I can feel good about using it.

 

Under normal circumstances, my daughter would have her lesson each week, and we would pay x amount for those lessons. If we use the voucher, though, she effectively loses at least half of that amount. We could pay the difference, but she would still take an unexpected hit in her earnings for that month.

 

I've e-mailed her to ask her permission to re-sell or re-auction the voucher, which I think is the best solution. But the truth is that we were the only bidders at the time we purchased it. So, the odds of finding anyone else to buy it are very slim.

 

Meanwhile, we're still struggling to raise enough money to send my son on the tour. So, I can't feel good about essentially throwing away the money we spent on the voucher in the first place.

 

Can anyone see another solution that won't cost one of the parties a chunk of money?

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Since she is clearly "losing" money on the auction item, I would assume she donated it as a draw to get people excited about the auction and encourage more people to attend and bid.

 

There's definitely no reason to feel guilty using it.

Edited by dottieanna29
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Why would you feel guilty about this? She donated the lessons. You won the lessons. End of story.

 

If the offer was only good for new students, she should have mentioned that on the gift certificate. Otherwise, tell her how excited you are that you won, and claim your dd's free lessons.

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I understand. Because your child is already a student, the teacher will lose half the tuition you would normally have paid, so she comes out behind instead of ahead, and she might have been hoping to draw in a new client as well. I think you're very generous to consider passing the savings on to someone else.

 

Does your son take voice lessons from her as well? It might be a good compromise to pay for your dd's regular lessons and give your son the free month.

 

Cat

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What if you ask her to charge you the regular fee for the month, but if she will increase your session time instead? (or give you a couple additional sessions if she is booked on either side of your regular appointment)

 

You still pay the same as you would have.

She is out a bit of time, but not real expense.

You still get a benefit from it.

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What if you ask her to charge you the regular fee for the month, but if she will increase your session time instead? (or give you a couple additional sessions if she is booked on either side of your regular appointment)

 

You still pay the same as you would have.

She is out a bit of time, but not real expense.

You still get a benefit from it.

 

If you feel you *must* do something, this is what I would do, but I agree with those who say she auctioned it and you won it, so use it.

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I understand. Because your child is already a student, the teacher will lose half the tuition you would normally have paid, so she comes out behind instead of ahead, and she might have been hoping to draw in a new client as well. I think you're very generous to consider passing the savings on to someone else.

 

Does your son take voice lessons from her as well? It might be a good compromise to pay for your dd's regular lessons and give your son the free month.

 

Cat

 

Thanks for the understanding. I was beginning to feel like I was crazy for being concerned.

 

My son takes lessons with a different teacher (who has generously agreed to delay payment for the remainder of the year until after the tour). My daughter's teacher did suggest she teach our son for a month, but he's quite happy with his current (male) teacher.

 

What if you ask her to charge you the regular fee for the month, but if she will increase your session time instead? (or give you a couple additional sessions if she is booked on either side of your regular appointment)

 

You still pay the same as you would have.

She is out a bit of time, but not real expense.

You still get a benefit from it.

 

That's a very interesting idea.

 

She did say we are welcome to re-sell the voucher, if we wish. She also emphasized that I should be concerned about my son and his possible tour, rather than her financial well-being. So, I plan to put the word out that the voucher is available. But, if that doesn't work out, I like your idea as a fall-back plan. Thanks!

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I agree with the others. Use it and don't worry about it. That's what that these types of auctions go. You never know who is going to bid and what they bring.

 

I've donated to them in the past. You hope that you gain a new customer from them at a good price, but sometimes you get a current customer that got a great deal. But, you never know what's going to happen with it.

 

Use it. Enjoy it. Use the money towards your son's trip.

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Have you considered that, if no one else bid on them, she was a) charging you too much all along or b) not a very good teacher?

 

Absolutely not. She's a well-respected teacher who charges rates almost identical to the ones charged by other, less qualified, teachers in our area (including the one with whom my son works, who just sent two of his students to a third and final call-back for a Broadway show).

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Why would you feel guilty about this? She donated the lessons. You won the lessons. End of story.

 

If the offer was only good for new students, she should have mentioned that on the gift certificate. Otherwise, tell her how excited you are that you won, and claim your dd's free lessons.

 

:iagree:100%.

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Absolutely not. She's a well-respected teacher who charges rates almost identical to the ones charged by other, less qualified, teachers in our area (including the one with whom my son works, who just sent two of his students to a third and final call-back for a Broadway show).

 

If she's well-respected, she is probably quite successful, and can well afford to provide you with the lessons you won.

 

I guess I'm just not getting why it matters so much to you that you won the lessons and now the teacher will lose money because your child is already a regular student. If you weren't going to be comfortable using them, why did you enter to win them? (Not trying to be rude, just wondering!)

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If she's well-respected, she is probably quite successful, and can well afford to provide you with the lessons you won.

 

I guess I'm just not getting why it matters so much to you that you won the lessons and now the teacher will lose money because your child is already a regular student. If you weren't going to be comfortable using them, why did you enter to win them? (Not trying to be rude, just wondering!)

 

We've known this woman for a number of years. She only started offering private voice lessons a few years ago when she lost her "day job." She is a graduate of a prestigious conservatory program but took time out to raise her family. I can assure you she's not rolling in dough and grinding the face of the poor.

 

Again, I did not fully understand the situation when we bid on the lessons.

 

Thanks, again, everyone for your thoughts. I think we have a plan now.

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