I'm not cut out for school supply shopping. It is not for the faint of heart, and I've come to the conclusion that I just don't have what it takes. I hear other people excited about school supply shopping - "coordinated backpacks and lunchboxes! new pencils! clean pencil box! Pink Pearl erasers!" I missed that gene. I despise shopping for school supplies. Here are some of my gripes...in no particular order.
1. Where do the scissors go? Every year, my children have scissors on their supply lists, and every year we have to buy new scissors. I don't get it. Scissors are made of metal. Shouldn't they last more than one year? Our household scissors manage to cut things for years and years. Scissors shouldn't be consumables like pencils and erasers. School scissors just disappear though. Do teachers get to the end of the year with buckets of scissors in the classroom and then throw them away? Or does every pair of scissors break before the end of the year? Over the course of the elementary school years, I will end up purchasing 18 pairs of scissors (six of them left-handed for Elise ordered from Amazon because nobody can be bothered to stock kids' leftie scissors). Not a single pair of scissors has ever come home with my child at the end of the year. Maybe there is some secret black market for used scissors and the teachers are supplementing their meager budgets by selling off scissors at the end of the year? I've never figured it out, but if anybody knows the answer to the scissor mystery, leave me a comment.
2. "Can I have...?", "But, Mom, I NEED...", "Mom, my friend has this, and it works so well.", "Let's just buy these too in case I need them.", "My teacher says felt-tip pens are just as good as ball-point pens.", "This isn't on the list, but I KNOW we'll need it.". Sigh. Next year I think I'll hire a professional mediator to take with us on our school supply shopping trip. The constant negotiations drain me.
3. Clorox wipes, tissues, printer paper, and hand soap. I just think it is a sad state of affairs that our school budgets are so small that teachers aren't supplied with the very basics to keep their classrooms functional. I don't mind buying these items. I certainly want the teachers to have them. It just makes me angry with our state legislators that they are depending on parents to supply these basics. What about low-income schools where parents can barely afford the pencils and folders that their own child needs? Do those schools go without hand soap and tissues?
4. The *&$#% folders. Every year. The folders. What is it about the folders? Four years ago, I ranted about the scarcity of plastic folders. Three years ago, I complained about often requested but hard to find orange folders. This year wasn't too bad, but of the very small list of items that we didn't find at Target, a blue plastic folder with pockets with prongs was one of them. Retailers need to understand that these folders are the bane of every mom's existence this time of year. If a store were to advertise that they have a full-time employee dedicated to keeping all colors of all plastic folders (pockets-only, prongs-only, and pockets with prongs) stocked at all times, they would instantly become the number one shopping destination for all harried moms. Do you hear me Target? Staples? Just imagine the profits.. and we're not just talking folders here. These moms will be buying the TI scientific calculators, ear buds, Spiderman backpacks, Hello Kitty thermoses and 32 gb flash drives from you and you alone. All you have to do is keep your folder section fully stocked - orange, red, blue, purple, green, and yellow. Always. I don't think there has ever been a year that I was able to get every folder on the lists at one location. This is a problem that deserves a solution.
Thankfully, school supply shopping here is nearly done. We have a few things to return, and we are still missing a... wait for it... a folder. Yes, the one thing we are missing is a yellow plastic folder with pockets and prongs. It is always the folders.