Life in the So Called Space Age: School Supplies

After close to an hour wait, I draw closer to the registers and ultimately the exit.

So I’m standing in line holding what seems like a veritable load of school supplies for my daughter’s classroom and I wonder why I’m doing this. Every year, parents everywhere take massive delight with child-like glee in sending their child(ren) off to school. I am reminded of that classic Staples commercial where a father is happily getting supplies as his children watch with glum looks on their faces while the song, Most Wonderful Time of the Year plays on.

But coupled with that delight comes the dread of having to go to your local office supply store, whether it’s Office Depot, Staples or your local stationery, and deal with other parents who want the same thing for their kids. Some of these parents can be quite cordial and tolerant, realizing that we’re all in this together. However, the sheer amount of people is simply too much. Scattered supplies litter the floor at times, giving the store a gerbil cage appearance. Finding those extremely busy clerks who are constantly pulled left and right by other parents can be quite challenging. Even if you do find one, they can’t seem to help you locate that six subject multicolored heavy-duty plastic pocket folders that your child’s teacher is insisting you procure (I highly commend the staff for being totally available and helpful though). A lot of items are simply out of stock, prompting another visit on another day. Joy.

My daughter takes a picture at the end of the line. It goes up to the red shelves up ahead and then turns left and then ANOTHER left towards the three registers.

But the MASSIVE line I had to deal with tonight was unbelievably long and equally unbearable. The line literally wrapped around the outer fringes of the store. To make matters worse, there were only three registers open. Three! I spent close to an hour on that blasted line. I watched as children ran around causing havoc while their older siblings fared no better, horsing around while their parents watched with disinterest (or was it resignation?). I watched with amusement as people casually walked to the registers, “oblivious” to the long line that was plain to see, only to be sent away to the back of that line by diligent cashiers (thank you “Dee”). I sent my daughter off to go and explore the store or perhaps run into some classmates while I wondered how we can make this whole painful process any easier. I ask you this: how do your children’s school handle school supplies lists?

With all this technology around us, why rely on paper lists for these supplies? If it was up to me, I would have these lists emailed to parents over the summer. If no email is available, snail mail works just fine. Also, if the school has a website (either at the local or district level), why not post these lists on the site and save paper? I’m all for a greener alternative. A friend of mine mentioned that she received a list for her son on the last day of school. Huh. How is that for smart?! Another chimed in that these lists are posted in the store itself. I saw this once at Staples but I always felt that these lists were pretty much a thinly veiled marketing campaign by the store and not really an authentic classroom list.

I’m really curious. Comment and let me know how schools do it across the country (or the world for that matter).

Would LOVE to read your comments but please forgive me if I'm unable to respond at times...

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