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Old 11-18-2012, 07:36 PM   #1
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Am I being an unreasonable volunteer?

I agreed to take on a volunteer position for an activity DD is involved in. Part of this job involves coordinating the orders and purchase of items for the group. Let's just pretend it is tshirts and sweatshirts. (it isn't but it is a good analogous example) We don't NEED the shirts, they are just a fun part of being in the group.

Our vendor is a semi- local guy that works out of his home. He lives in our area but is another town over in an area at least 20 mins away that I NEVER have any reason to go to. I have been there once several years ago and it was hard to find and difficult to get to. The group gets none of the money that is paid for the shirts-- it is not a fundraiser of any type so everything above cost is his profit. The group actually pays for one tshirt for everyone so the vendor is guaranteed several thousand dollars. Some families order extras so that is additional money he makes and the sweatshirts are an additional order done later that is again, all money that goes to him. He does come out and work with us on them, collects the initial tshirt orders at that time and delivers the initial tshirt order when they are in.

The person that did this position before me did it for about 6 years. She is a superwoman SAHM that was on the board of every activity her kids did, devoted 80 hours a week on her volunteer jobs, did a great job and is a friend of mine. I, however am back to work and can't devote that time to a volunteer position and frankly didn't even when I wasn't working. She also, through her course of working with this guy for the activity, started actually "working" for him as sort of an unpaid assistant. She helps him with his business and he lets her have all the tshirts she wants for her family for free at any time. So I called her to let her know that I had some additional orders that came in and there were some issues that needed to be fixed (wrong sizes, wrong names). My intention was to give them to her since she "works" with him. She told me I needed to deliver the orders and checks directly to him. I don't go over to where he lives ever and I don't have time to be delivering things to him! I told her this and she said that I would basically have to suck it up and do it because that is part of the volunteer position. HE is the one making money off of the orders, the group gets nothing out of it. I get nothing out of it (he did offer me a free shirt for "all my hard work" 3 months ago that I never received). She did finally take them but at this point I am still waiting for several corrected orders and reorders but he won't deliver them to me, I am supposed to go get them. ( I haven't even been called and told they are even ready though) Right now I have about $1000 in sweatshirt orders sitting on my desk that I was told I have to take to him. I told her that wasn't happening and I would bring them by her house this week for her to take them over.

There are plenty of vendors that are much closer to me (and the group location) that would love to have our business, would be happy to deliver and pick up, and probably could work with us to also make it a fundraising activity so we get something back. But this person has been doing it for years, is well known, and I know there will be some major pushback and a lot of hard feelings if I suggest going with a different vendor next year. I do know if I have to use him again next year I will not be taking any orders after the initial order that he picks up and I will refer everyone with an issue directly to him to deal with from now on.

I guess the question is, am I being unreasonable to think that if he is the one that is making all the money then he needs to be willing to come to me? If I am being unreasonable then I will happily step down and let someone else take it on (but believe me, no one is knocking down the doors to do it!)
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:40 PM   #2
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Would shipping the orders and "shirts" be cost prohibitive?
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:41 PM   #3
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No, I do not think you are being unreasonable at all!
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumbo4x4 View Post
Would shipping the orders and "shirts" be cost prohibitive?
I considered it-- but a lot of the money is in cash so I really can't mail it and the product is not really conducive to mailing-- I don't think he actually does any shipping since his clients are all local. And since I know other vendors are more than willing to pick up and deliver it isn't like it is an industry standard that I go to his location for everything like it is with some things.
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:44 PM   #5
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No, he makes a profit, he needs to earn it. If I were you I would think a better use of my time to find another t shirt/sweatshirt vendor. Looks for a screen printing business. You can probably save money and time. This guy is probably overcharging you in addition to sitting on his rump. He wants the profit, give him another vendor to compete with. I bet he will be willing to come to you then. I'd shop around.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:02 PM   #6
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What was you understanding of the position when you accepted the position? I don't see a 20 minute drive to be too much out of the way.

It seems like you made some assumptions as did the other mom. I see no reason why the other mom should have to take the orders. Also I have never see a company drop off orders without someone paying for shipping.

If you cannot met the requirements as you now know them, then you should talk to the head of the activity about finding a replacement.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arielle22 View Post
What was you understanding of the position when you accepted the position? I don't see a 20 minute drive to be too much out of the way.

It seems like you made some assumptions as did the other mom. I see no reason why the other mom should have to take the orders. Also I have never see a company drop off orders without someone paying for shipping.

If you cannot met the requirements as you now know them, then you should talk to the head of the activity about finding a replacement.
There was actually not much information given to me about the position. This is just a small part of it and I was basically told you just "take care of getting the orders and distributing them when they come in".
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arielle22 View Post
What was you understanding of the position when you accepted the position? I don't see a 20 minute drive to be too much out of the way.

It seems like you made some assumptions as did the other mom. I see no reason why the other mom should have to take the orders. Also I have never see a company drop off orders without someone paying for shipping.

If you cannot met the requirements as you now know them, then you should talk to the head of the activity about finding a replacement.
I agree-
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:12 PM   #9
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youre not being unreasonable. I would ask the vendor to come pick them up or find someone who can.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:13 PM   #10
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I'd switch to someone that picks up and drops off if their price is the same. If their price is better, I'd definitely switch. No reason this man has to keep getting your business if there is someone offering a better deal.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:17 PM   #11
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I don't think that she should have to do it but she is being compensated by the vendor to work for him and when I told her that I was not able to take things to him she said she would just take them. I think HE should be the one to come and pick this all up and deliver things, like the corrected orders that I have been waiting 2 months for--he screwed them up, he needs to fix it and get them to me. And the additional orders-- I didn't have to accept them. I could have told them that the initial order deadline was it. He is the one benefiting the most from me taking in extra orders.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arielle22 View Post
What was you understanding of the position when you accepted the position? I don't see a 20 minute drive to be too much out of the way.

It seems like you made some assumptions as did the other mom. I see no reason why the other mom should have to take the orders. Also I have never see a company drop off orders without someone paying for shipping.

If you cannot met the requirements as you now know them, then you should talk to the head of the activity about finding a replacement.
But the issue is with the vendor, not the volunteer position. It is unreasonable to expect that the position description include dropping off and picking up orders just because they've always used the same person when there are other vendors closer and willing to do more of the work (especially for those orders that are being re-done because the vendor messed up). I think the OP needs to just go with it this year but look at finding a new vendor next year.

OP, does your friend work for the vendor from home, or does she really go to his place of business on a regular basis? If she doesn't go there, then I do think you are stuck dealing with going over there on your own. It wouldn't be reasonable for her to make a run over there if she doesn't already do that. Since the long-standing practice has been for the volunteer to do all pick-ups and drop-offs after the initial order, I think you need to suck it up this time, since making a change was not discussed previously. That being said, though, I don't think there is anything wrong with looking for a vendor for next year who can serve the needs of the organization better than the one you are using now.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:20 PM   #13
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Not unreasonable at all. I was involved in Little League for 9 years, we changed uniform vendors and soft drink vendors almost every year based on who gave the best deal, and best perks.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:30 PM   #14
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I'm going to be the dissenter here. Yes, I think you are being unreasonable. You are basically demanding that he deliver to you because you pay him. Not knowing what the item is and using the example of shirts, I do not know of any vendor who would personally deliver. We always have a volunteer go pick up our shirts/jerseys/whatever. Sometimes it's the volunteer, sometimes we ask if someone else can do it if the volunteer can't for whatever reason.

20 minutes is nothing, really. If he normally delivered and now he won't that's a different story. Sounds like you either need to use a different vendor next year or you need to find a different volunteer. (I'm thinking the latter would be the best.)
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:35 PM   #15
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I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. He is the vendor, you are the customer. He isn't treating you like a customer, he is treating you like an employee. So let him know that this isn't working for you and there is someone else who has offered you a better deal including pick-up and delivery. If he doesn't change his ways, then find someone else.

Good luck!
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