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Will Work For School Supplies

September 25, 2009 Humor No Comments

Yes, it’s that bad. The requests stagger in. My child needs a 1.5 inch binder for this class, a 2 inch binder for that class. One teacher requested a four inch binder. A four inch binder? What’s my kid going to do with it? Copy down the Collected Works of Shakespeare?

A four inch binder is like a six inch high heel. It looks impressive and sounds good in theory, but the reality is all show and no go. For one thing, it will take a crane to hoist that four incher into an already overstuffed backpack. The kid will need traction after lugging it around, and I’ll need a new SUV with lots of cargo space.

It would stand to reason that one four inch binder would be more cost effective than four one inch binders. Wrong. The price was more than double, costing each student at least an extra ten dollars. Start multiplying that number by the number of students and I begin to suspect that teacher owns stock in Staples.

Another required item is the mini pencil sharpener. Apparently some of the classrooms no longer have “real” pencil sharpeners. That concerned me. What is next? Will parents be attending time share presentations for use of the desks? Will we get a free pizza if we bring our spouses? Soon, it will probably cost extra to upgrade to a window seat.

But back to the pencil sharpeners. At least that wouldn’t require a home equity line of credit. Those puppies were selling for a penny a piece during those lazy days of summer. Not that I needed them then because we must have about 27 of those little guys left over from last year. But according to my children, all school supplies must be new.

I would have argued, but who cares at a penny a pop?

It turns out that cost doesn’t matter when every store is out of stock. Rumors swirled through the office supply store. Customers bonded over their Wal-Mart and Target school aisle survival stories. It was like we’d experienced The Big One together and had lived to tell the tale. Mini pencil sharpeners had disappeared off shelves like batteries or toilet paper in a catastrophe.

I had a fleeting idea to buy a $20 battery operated desktop pencil sharpener. It would fit next to the four inch binder in the back pack that would now be so big and heavy that if it were luggage I’d have to check it and pay the excess weight fee to boot. For twenty bucks, I could have bought 2000 mini sharpeners just weeks ago. Ugh.

On the pencil aisle, a lady with a list as long as mine leaned over and asked me where to find the twistable colored pencils. I didn’t even know what those were. She explained they were pencils that never needed to be sharpened but they cost four times as much as regular ones.

Hmmmm. Tempting. Very tempting. But it looks like we are going used–I mean vintage–this year.


Jody Payne
Mom Living Out Loud

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