Red Apple Mom

August 29, 2011

I Should Have Bought Stock in Staples & Office Depot This Year

Filed under: Back to School — Red Apple Mom @ 4:08 pm
Tags: , ,

$266.68 – that’s what school supplies cost me today for a 2nd grader, 6th grader and a 9th grader.

Wow.  How come our parents never spent that kind of money when we went to school?  I’m 44, so it’s not like it was that long ago.   On my first day of school, we brought some loose leaf paper, a binder and some pencils.  And forget the backpack.  We used a grocery store bag.

What’s changed?  Do my kids really need all this stuff?

Is anyone else shocked by the long lists required by our schools today?



  1. I’ve been disgusted for years, too. My solution is to reuse everything possible from crayons to binders–I refuse to dump perfectly good stuff in the landfill prematurely. Also, in invest in a good backpack that lasts 4-5- years. A $60+ one (sale price) won’t suffer from broken zippers, etc.

    Remember elem. school bookstores where you could buy the basics for cheap? Why not bring those back?

    Comment by msmarmot — August 30, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

  2. I do remember having to buy a $95 calculator in high school, almost 20 years ago.

    Some of the items do seem ridiculous. The colored folders, 1 green, 1 red, 1 blue, etc. annoy me now. Why do they have to be so specific?

    However, do keep in mind all the teachers your kids deal with. The music teacher, art teacher, school nurse, etc do not have classes to bring in supplies and are probably getting charity leftovers from the other classrooms. If you want them to be able to blow their nose anywhere, that tissue has to be coming from somewhere.

    I wish each teacher could customize the list to what they really want/need. I come from a family of teachers and each one of them spends around $500/year out of pocket on things they need for their classroom. Meanwhile they have closets filled with pink erasers. Sad.

    I wonder what the free lunch/homeless/poor kids do. I hate that my daughter’s FCPS school has the kids put their names on everything. Wish we could just toss it into a common pool, that way no one feels they have to spend too much to buy their kid “the best.”

    Comment by mjp3md (@mjp3md) — August 30, 2011 @ 9:06 pm

    • Great points – it’s heartbreaking to think of any child not having the supplies required! Thanks for commenting.

      Comment by Red Apple Mom — August 30, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

  3. I’m 41 and what I remember was a basic list of # of notebooks, folders, binders, looseleaf paper, graph paper, pens and pencils. We carried our books in our arms, and brought our lunch in paper bags.
    The current lists, where everything is itemized down to the smallest detail (like the colors of the folders, or the type – the type! – of pencil eraser) is ridiculous.
    Don’t get me started on the sending in of paper towels, tissues, clorox wipes and bandaids – I find that absolutely disgusting! In a school district that we pay over a BILLION dollars for their budget, that parents are sending in basic toiletries and cleaning and first aid supplies is just a joke. I mean, wtf? Are we going to be needing to send in toilet paper for them too?
    I was shocked to see this when we entered the school system 2 years ago, but wrote it off as ‘just in the elementary schools’. I was then corrected by my friend (who had a 16yo at the time), that she still had to send in tissues, etc. for her high school.
    So, yes, the itemized school supply lists are out of hand, but so is this concept of the parents having to send in toiletries and first aid products. That billion dollar budget needs to be closely analyzed!

    Comment by seeford — August 31, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

    • The FCPS budget is actually $2.2 billion! I wonder if the 1000+ FCPS administrators who work in the plush central headquarters building have to bring in their own tissues and disinfecting gel? 😉
      Thanks for sharing my pain on the crazy, itemized school lists. So glad I’m not alone!

      Comment by Red Apple Mom — August 31, 2011 @ 10:50 pm

  4. 44? You are just young! 😉

    I also remember bringing in my own basic supplies and not spending an inordinate amount of money for all these different things. Frankly, I think in Jr. High School (as we called it back then), I varied the colors of my folders all by myself so I could tell them apart! Why does some bureaucrat have to take time to make decisions like these for us?

    The other thing I notice is that the PTAs use these lists as fundraisers so they can overcharge parents who seem to be willing to pay for the “convenience.”

    By the way, Staples usually has weeks when you can get the supplies for free or for pennies, if you follow their e-mails.

    Comment by isophorone — September 1, 2011 @ 9:01 am

    • Thanks for the tip Isophorone. I’ll remember that in January when my school puts out the inevitable request to replenish the glue-stick and loose leave paper suppllies!

      Comment by Red Apple Mom — September 1, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

      • I buy some extras of glue sticks, markers and paper now, when they are only $1 each, just for that January request…

        Comment by seeford — September 1, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

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