Usually, I love a good stroll down the office supply aisle. There’s something deeply comforting about looking at a colorful selection of writing utensils and notebooks. (That’s not just a writer thing, right?)
But August means that it’s time to take a deep breath and gear up for the obstacle course also known as school-supply shopping!
Every year, we lurch around the store, while I try to accomplish the following:
- read the school-provided lists with one hand and steer the cart with the other,
- find the best deals that will fulfill the obligation, and
- navigate the crowded spaces filled with many other irate supply-list shoppers.
When my sons were much younger, I ALSO had to:
- keep things moving and the snacks flowing,
- clarify repeatedly that no, we can’t get anything off of THAT list because your grade uses THIS list, and
- explain that although you are indeed picking things out, you won’t be able to keep them because they are headed for the “community pile,” so we don’t really need to spend fourteen hours deciding between the green folder and the blue folder.
I have an idea: why doesn’t the school or district order the supplies themselves? We’re already paying fees for books, technology, and field trips…how about just add one more fee to that and keep the rest of us out of the school-supply equation?
(Pause here to recognize that many individual teachers go above and beyond to buy supplies themselves for the classroom–that, too, is an issue given the not-even-remotely-substantial-enough salaries that teachers receive, which could be a whole other post topic. Short version: teachers deserve so much more.)
Anyway, if the school ordered supplies in bulk, they’d be in a position to negotiate discounts, which could save parents money versus when we buy things ourselves! And everything would come out of the community pile (rather than going into it) so it would be like the school was giving the kids presents. Win-win!
Would love not to do this Odyssey of The Absurd every year–especially since it feels as though the list sometimes creeps beyond expected items–or at least feels like it does. Folders, pencils, and lined notepaper? Happy to buy those. Garbage bags, cleaning supplies, and reams of printer paper? Not so much.
Husband’s response to the news that we had to provide EIGHT large glue sticks one year: “Well, then I better see something glued come home Every. Single. Day.”