A Post About Shopping For School Supplies Wherein I Rant And Curse.

When I was a kid I loved to go shopping for school supplies. I loved the pencils with perfect pink erasers, the sharp tips of never-been-used crayons and the clean white pages of spiral notebooks with funny covers (my favorite one ever had Miss Piggy dressed as Cleopatra and a brief history of Egypt inside the cover).

You know what I HATE now?

Shopping for school supplies. It makes me cringe almost as much as the memory of how I also used to like fried bean burritos dipped in ketchup. Blech.

But it has to be done. And– having learned from past experience that Target and Staples woefully underestimate just how many supplies people with children have to buy–it had to be done yesterday. Even that was cutting it a bit short since school starts in 8 days (yes I’m counting down).

So, picture me now wandering the two “school supplies” designated aisles in Target– where said supplies are strewn about the floor and those actually in bins or on shelves are in the wrong places– clutching the two page list of things kids can’t learn without, muttering “what/where in the hell is this thing?” to myself while Girl 1 keeps asking for things not on the list–like the box of 64 crayons– and Girl 3 plays Do Whatever Possible To Get Hit By A Cart.

So then I say things like, “If you think you need 64 crayons then you can piece together the 6400 crayon remnants in the bottom of the kitchen drawer and take those to school!” All the while feeling guilty because one year my mom did buy me that box of crayons. With the sharpner. And man, was that cool.

I may have also said this, “If you stand in front of this moving cart one more time Girl 3, I will MOW you down!”

Other things said to no one in particular while digging through the THOUSANDS of notebooks–none of which had Miss Piggy covers– to find the packages of looseleaf, wide-ruled, two hole punch paper, only to discover it had three holes, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WHO MAKES THESE PAPER TO HOLE RATIOS UP??”

And when did loose leaf paper become all the rage? It’s as impossible to find as large pink erasers, which can never be bought in packages of two–like you need. No, they only come in singles with about 20 of those pencil top erasers. Which are not on The List. Plus, I don’t need 100 pencil top erasers! I have thousands already from years past when I had to buy that stupid combined package which Target refuses to believe no one actually wants.

I have had one bottle of glue at my house for three years. So how will my child use an entire two bottles in nine months when they don’t even do art anymore? I’ll tell you how. Because they turn all the supplies into the teacher who divies them out when needed. I’m fine providing supplies for kids whose parents can’t afford to (I’m a registered Democrat, so I have to be), but I don’t want to supply glue to that one weird kid who spreads it all over his hand, lets it dry, and then peels it off like dead skin. His parents should have to bring in four bottles of glue.

You know what else can’t be found? Protractors. I thought I had found one, but it turned out to be a compass. And I thought to myself, If I have been misremembering what a protactor is for a quarter century now, is it really that important for my fifth grader to learn how to protact? I mean, I have never had to stand in a soup line, beg for money on the streets, or overdosed on drugs, despite my protactor deficiencies. And I’m guessing if I ever do any of those things, I won’t be thinking If only I had kept up my protractor skills.

Also, I am not buying any Kleenex or Clorox wipes this year because 1) I am not afraid of germs and
2) I have seen the stockpiles teachers have of these things. They are prepared to battle the Flu Apocalypse when it comes.

So that is my rant about school supplies. I just hope Girl 2 doesn’t find out I ripped into her brand new, perfectly pointy, package of colored pencils while still in the store because I had nothing else to use to cross off the things on the list buried in my cart under all the glue.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

19 thoughts on “A Post About Shopping For School Supplies Wherein I Rant And Curse.

  1. Heather Justesen says:

    Okay, this totally had me giggling. They still use protractors in school? There isn't a computer program to do that *for* the kids (Sorry, sarcasm. When first graders are using calculators, there's something seriously wrong with the system, so kids actually learning how to use protractors is kind of refreshing….if you can find one. And yes, I thought of a compass at first too!


  2. Anonymous says:

    I think we may have been separated at birth! I feel the EXACT same way about school supplies. This years list bordered on totally ludicrous. In fact so much so that I'm still not done and school starts on, ahem…Thursday. But THIRTY pencils and SIX erasers? And the scribblers of the the EXACT dimension and page count of which they need 4 of and it only comes in packages of 3. Yes…that was brilliant. Of course the two boxes of tissue, two cans of wipes, one box of bandages and a box of spoons…what's next? Toilet paper!?Ah…now I'm ranting Great blog!!


  3. Melinda says:

    I JUST had a conversation about this exact subject just this morning. I am SO IRRITATED about school supplies, and I'm not okay with provided supplies for parents who can't afford it, because I pretty much can't afford it, so why should I buy their's too? HUH?! HUH!!!?? Okay, deep breaths….I'll be okay…


  4. Melanie Jacobson says:

    I buy less and less every year. Because whether he needs it or not, I know what my kids is NEVER going to use. Like a compass. So he can live without. Also, he's the kid that does the glue/dead skin thing. I'll bring you an extra bottle on Sunday.


  5. Maggie says:

    Wow, I had this same rant on Facebook last week. School supplies have gotten outrageous! And, in addition to the FOUR boxes of 24-count crayolas my daughter needs (DO NOT BRING ROSEART, the list says) there are also cash things they need. $7 for a recorder. $5 for film developing (Really? No one develops film anymore). $6 for a subscription to Time for Kids. SO ANNOYING! By the way, we also have daughters 1,2, and 3 (plus baby boy 1).


  6. Beth Freestone says:

    Yes, our school has very specific requests as well–36 sharpened Conestoga pencils. Yes, try to find those! 2-hole punched paper? I have never heard of such a thing!Remember Trapper Keepers? OMG, we couldn't get them until 4th grade and I remember having dreams about the day I would finally get one (Furry Kitty on the cover of course). I also got the 64 crayons one year and was devastated when the sharpener broke–the agony….I'm not a campaigner but still love your blog!


  7. Enjoy Birth says:

    One really cool thing about Journey school – I don't have to buy any school supplies! A strange miracle. However for T1 I don't get his list until AFTER school starts. What is that all about???


  8. Angie Cothran says:

    Brittany, I feel your pain. I think for me, even worse that having to dive head first into a waist high bin of post-it notes (looking for the right color), is getting to the check out stand and hearing, “That will be $300.00” Yikes!


  9. J.R., Amber, & Co. says:

    So the wonderful thing about living in Burley is that “King's” sells pre-packaged bags of school supplies for EVERY grade and EVERY school in the county. I walked in, picked up 3 paper bags full of necessary supplies, paid for them, and left. It took about 15 minutes total (including parking and walking the long distance from the parking lot to the store). But I guess you can continue to live in school-supply-misery in So Cal if you choose.


  10. Alyssa says:

    I agree with everything you said! This year I thought it would be fun to let each child have the list and find the supplies themselves. Never do that– it just adds exponentially to the chaos in the school supply section.I had to think hard about what a protactor is… and I may be the one person in the world who actually has to use one for work.And did Beth just say OMG?


  11. Katie Gates says:

    Hello Brittany, Greetings from a fellow Campaigner and a fellow So Cal resident. This was an entertaining post. I've never had kids, so I've not experienced school supply shopping from the parent's perspective. Which means: all my memories of the event are good ones! I enjoyed reading your bio, too. Good for you for keeping your Idaho values, and I agree that Botox is crazy. (I know you didn't say “crazy,” but you mentioned the food poisoning, and an injection of food poisoning into one's face is crazy.)I look forward to reading more of your posts. New follower!


  12. JoAnna says:

    Like your post about school supplies – I spend most of Friday buying supplies for my daughter (age 11) who is about to start secondary school!I am in the same (chick lit) group in the writers campaign, dropping by to say 'hi'


  13. Nadine Feldman says:

    Yikes, what a pain! I don't have young children, so I know to stay out of the stores during back to school shopping days. I'm a fellow Campaigner who has stopped by to say hello. Nice blog, even if you had to have a rough experience to get the great writing material! 🙂


  14. Melanie Stanford says:

    Hey, we're in the same campaign group.My kids school has this thing where you can order all their supplies online. You just enter their name and grade, click and done. School supplies straight to the classroom. Reading your post makes me thank my lucky stars for that!


  15. Su says:

    I have the same protractor/compass problem. I just feel like a piece of plastic that only sits there and does nothing interesting shouldn't have an 'or' on the end.Ah, school supplies. They're only fun to buy if you don't have a prescribed list.Also, I hate the “communal supply closet” idea. It doesn't in any way reward kids who use their stuff wisely, and it puts an undue burden on parents, I think.


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