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Staples: The next level of hell

When Dante created his hell he forgot the final level: School supply shopping.

To the schools and teachers that insist on handing out a lengthy supply list the first day of school instead of sending it in the mail over the summer like other disctricts, I offer you a hearty fuck you.

Do you know what it's like to walk around Office Max on the day after school starts, lists in hand, kids in tow and every person in that building fighting over the same things? Would it be asking too much for the managers of the store to stock more than a dozen packs of EraseMate pens, knowing that last year at this time, parents were pitching fits in the aisles because the store ran out on the first day of school?

Is it really necessary for a teacher to ask that her students get five folders, all in different colors? Have these teachers ever stood next to a fourth grade boy (not mine) crying that there were only purple folders left? Why, oh why do they ask for different colored marble notebooks? What is wrong with the standard black and white? I think the kids can tell the difference between the math and social studies books because in fifth grade, they know how to read! They don't need to color-coordinate their subjects and I certainly don't need to traipse around to five different stores trying to find everything in a set of red.

And parents. Could you please, for the love of my sanity, not let your tots run loose around the store while there about a million people packed into a building that has the capacity of about 1,000? I'm sorry I tripped over your adorable toddler's legs, but she shouldn't have been laying in aisle four crying for a bottle while you were in aisle six arguing with your teenage daughter about getting a nose job. And to the mother who gave me a dirty look when I pulled the little plastic frog out of her nearly-infant son's mouth: Too fucking bad. He had the whole thing in his mouth and you were too busy flirting with the copy boy to notice. And way to go, giving it back to the kid and letting him put it in his mouth again.

Back to supplies. Staples and OfficeMax charge double for every single supply that a small drug store like CVS or Walgreens sells. Too bad CVS and Walgreens sold out of the stuff three weeks ago when the grammar schools sent their supply lists home, like the other schools should do. Unfortunately for those stores, they didn't restock and that's why there was that scene with the manager and an irate father in the tampon aisle today.

And why the hell do we need to send in baby wipes and paper towels and tissues? What the hell do school taxes pay for? I'm ok with the highlighters and Sharpies and scotch tape and other sundry things, but jesus on a pogo stick people, you can't afford to put freakign tissues in the classroom?

Also, can you please be careful what you are talking about when you are on a very long line in a very crowded store? I do not want to hear about your bowel movements, I don't want to know the size of the snotball you coughed out of your throat today and I certainly don't need to know that you "suprised" your daughter by packing condoms in her suitcase when she went off to college last month. Put the cell phone down. Shut your mouth. Or try talking to your obviously lonely, ignored child who, by the time you were done yakking to your friend about bodily functions, was sitting on the floor picking his nose, eating it and talking to his imaginary friend.

Who's got a valium?


Honey, if I could fax you one, it'd be on the way.

hands out a V.

Next time punch the bitch in her mouth.

OMG I am glad my mom (who is retired) did all of the back to school shopping. We made the mistake going the weekend before school started for ONE pair of jeans... big mistake...
You should see the list J got... and the kicker... NO lockers. I do not want him packing around 10,000 pounds of stuff that should be in a locker.

Our WalMart is probably the reason your local stores couldn't restock anything - they've got one entire corner of the store devoted to school supplies, aside from the regular aisles.

My solution is shopping after 9:00p.m. Far from the madding crowd and all. I only have one child in school now (8th grade) and I fully sympathize with those who have multiple orders to fill...I've done that. Why teachers at the same school can't all come to some sort of consensus on required educational paraphenalia is beyond me.

As far as sending in Kleenex...have you ever used the stuff the school district has on hand for the teachers? The only difference between it and the paper towels is that it comes in a box. That way, you can't see the chunks of wood embedded in it.

Point well taken about people who bring extraneous children along on a shopping trip they know damn well is going to be craziness to the nth degree. I think they belong to the same category of humanoid that brings the whole family to the E.R. when one of them has a minor ailment, and they call in relatives to come on down and join in the merriment.

School supply shopping hell? Apparently you didn't read the right textbook.

feh. one color folders, one color notebooks, and home depot for four other colors of spray paint.

The local Wal-Mart and OfficeMax both have an entire display with supply lists from local schools. Nothing to mail, and parents who forgot their list have something to fall back on.

They have the lists here as well. It would be nice if they actually stocked the stuff on the list.

I don't think I ever had a supply list sent home in advance, ever. We just got them on the first day of classes, then had a grace period of a few days to get them. As for the towels/tissues/etc., these days, that's where cuts are being made -- a lot of teachers are having to buy basic stuff like that out of their own pockets, and they don't always have the cash.

We got our supply list the last week of school last year so we were lucky. Normally, we just use the one from the year before to get most of the stuff. Out here, we were able to find everything, notebooks, paper, markers, etc dirt cheap at both WalMart and Target.

You will find that the teachers who do NOT have kids have the more extensive lists. The teachers who DO have kids understand the chore of school supply shopping much more than those who do NOT have kids. Here in our district, the teachers are to create such a list before they check out for the summer vacation. Then the parents get a copy at registration and there are extra copies at the local stores. You'd think that so-called professionals would extend such a common courtesy.

Oh, that's what it was. I live right near a Staples, and when I drove past it this evening it was totally mobbed. I was wondering what they were giving away.

Boy, the things you miss out on not having kids....

"It's The Most...Wonderfule Tiiiiiiime of the Yeaaarrrrr"


They can't send out supply lists early at my daughter's school because a lot of the teachers aren't even assigned to the school until the last minute. Schedules are still being worked out in the first couple of weeks. Yes, I miss elementary school, and getting that list in July.

What irks me is the teachers who each insist that the kids get a three-ring binder (width specified) for their class alone. You can't get one binder with dividers.

Ahh. Have to add that one to the "Why We Homeschool" list. That'll be reason number 107... or 108. I'll have to check.

I'm with you, Michael, although homeschooling has disadvantages of its own. Most of the books and other materials have to be bought new...we spend about $250 a year on that. For my son's biology course this year, we splurged and spent about $300 on a microscope and slides. But to be completely honest, I've always wanted one anyway, so it was as much for me as for him. You can get cheaper ones.

But we DO have the advantage of not needing color-coordinated folders and boxes of tissue.

Curt, you don't have tissues in your home?

Back when I was in high school (small rural school), we always seemed to suffer a severe kleenex shortage come winter time, when everyone has colds... because they use them all up in September-October. Every year, it never failed. You'd think they could have planned their kleenex budget a little better or rationed them just a tiny bit.

Which is worse: running out of kleenexes during cold season when the school buys them or having each kid buy one box of kleenexes for the whole class to share for the school year? I personally would rather pay $1.99 (or whatever the price is by now) for a box of Puffs just so I don't have to use brown paper towels in the bathroom.

I have lots of Valium. We need it here in the Shadow Government due to the stress level. My wife will really appreciate this post.

I'm a high school math teacher. I tell my students, on the first day of school, that they should have at least a divider in their notebook so they can keep their math papers in one general location. Add to that a couple of sharpened pencils (mechanical is better!), paper, and a pen to correct their work with, and we're set.

My 2nd grader, however, has the list from hell. I understand about Kleenex, but why isn't the school providing markers?

we're in school supply hell, too. living in germany, we can only depend on the base to stock the stuff. they put out the supplies after july 4, and while we picked up the most common supplies, we had to wait til we actually started school. oh yes, they put out master lists for the elementary and middle school...but the teachers don't follow that! that would be too easy! the high school teachers post nothing, and of course, they're out at the base. no idea when more is coming in. i honestly believe that the teachers all went to see what was out of stock before sending home their requirements! thank goodness for the local wines!

Been there, done that. One year, a teacher specified the exact colors for the five folders; that's when I (and all the other parents) found out that apparently no one was selling white folders that year.

My kids are in 7th and 10th grades, and by now I have a pretty good idea of what they need. I watch the ads for places like Target and Walgreens during the summer, and pick stuff up when it's on red-hot sale. Still, there are frequently items - sometimes big ones - that we don't find out about until the beginning of the year, such as my 7th-grader's math teacher requesting a calculator with "as many functions as possible" when his perfectly good old one just had the Basic Stuff on it.

The teachers in this area have gone one step further - the math and science departments (so far) in my older son's high school have flat-out asked for donations of a certain amount, and one school has asked for a $300 donation for each child. (We're still thinking that one over.)

"...my 7th-grader's math teacher requesting a calculator with 'as many functions as possible'..."

Whoa, red flag. If the teacher had any kind of overall lesson plan for the year, had glanced through the textbook, etc., she or he would know what functions the calculaters need to have.

A $300 donation for each child? Do they offer any kind of itemized list of what they need that money for? Can you deduct it on your taxes?

They probably do know what exact functions are needed for the year, but don't want to put the parent or student in the position of buying nothing because they can't afford the $100 graphing calculator.

My two cents:

Some of the "official lists" come from the DISTRICT, as opposed to the SCHOOL. For instance, the "official list" indicated two boxes of kleenex per pupil; unfortunately, it wasn't until "meet the teacher night" 7 days into the school year that the principal informed us that "really, one box will suffice." Having been a Girl Scout volunteer (with meetings in the school), I had uncovered CABINETS FULL OF KLEENEX. Literally, walls of cabinets of kleenex. Not only did I say to myself, "duh, I think I'll scrimp next year on the Kleenex Pledge Drive," I seriously questioned the facility management wisdom of using dozens of linear footage for the storage of kleenex. Especially when, in my experience, the kleenex was kept on the teacher's desk, which meant that, except in the "most foreseeable of circumstances" the sneeze would have long passed into history before a tissue could be applied. I sent a packet of "travel tissue" with my child to keep in her desk.

I've also had "required" notebooks returned unused at the end of the school year -- yet the same number is requested for the next go around.

Bad enough is what they DO include on these gawdawful lists -- try being a parent in a class of 19 kindergarteners squeezed into a toddler sized chair, diving for one of the 4 available permanent markers furiously scribbling student names on EACH AND EVERY crayon(8),pencil(12),marker(10),glue stick(2) on opening day: Would it have killed them to mention this requirement beforehand?

I hear you on the $100 dollar graphing calculator!!! Not only did my sons school send home a letter saying that he has to have one, but they specified the brand and model (the most expensive one made) and made sure to let you know that if you bought any other brand (cheaper) it would make it harder for your child to keep up. The new text books purchased go hand and hand with this calculator. They sent this letter on a Friday, and the calculator was needed on the following Monday. I thought I was done with school supply hell, had taken a deep breath and a valium and now this !!!!!!!!

Makes you wonder how we ever learned algebra without graphing calculators. In my case, without calculators at all - that's how old I am. Well, maybe they came in (were affordable at all) around my junior year in HS.

i know how you guys feel. i am in 8th grade and it is stress full when two days before school starts u have to get supplies AND clothes. i mean , fuck it stresses me out and im the one in school, and i think schools should understand how it is.

i know how you guys feel. i am in 8th grade and it is stress full when two days before school starts u have to get supplies AND clothes. i mean , fuck it stresses me out and im the one in school, and i think schools should understand how it is.

i know how you guys feel. i am in 8th grade and it is stress full when two days before school starts u have to get supplies AND clothes. i mean , fuck it stresses me out and im the one in school, and i think schools should understand how it is.

i know how you guys feel. i am in 8th grade and it is stress full when two days before school starts u have to get supplies AND clothes. i mean , fuck it stresses me out and im the one in school, and i think schools should understand how it is.