Friday, August 12, 2016

Shopping For Back To School Supplies Is Insanity

On Monday morning, as I sat down with my cup of coffee, I started to make a "to do" list for the week.

One of these items was to go shopping for back to school supplies.

No worries! I love to shop and I just have to get a few boxes of crayons and pencils! I got this!

I head over to our information drawer (i.e. junk drawer) and take out each of the kids school supply lists. As I start to look through the list, I am starting to feel a bit nervous.

"Ticonderoga #2 pencils presharpened". Who's Ticonderoga?

"Pocket folders, Poly, with Brads, one of each color - Yellow, Red, Blue and Green". What's a Brad? Does "Poly mean "polyester"?


How to best handle this so I don't miss anything?


I remember my friend, Amanda (i.e. Back To School Sensei), mentioning that she took all of her kids school supply lists and compiled a master list. That sounds like an excellent idea!

After compiling my master list and fortifying myself with two ginormous cups of coffee, I drop the kids off at my mom's and head to the store.

Let's do this, snitches.

After parking and heading into the store, I grab a grocery cart and I have a spring in my step. 

This will be a piece of cake.

As soon as I enter, I see a wall to my left stacked full of folders.


I immediately find the four colored plastic three ring binders I'm looking for.

This isn't going to take long at all! I wonder what I can do with the rest of my free time...

I continue on to the the large "Back To School Supply" section. I figure I will grab the crayons and the markers first.

I glance at my list to see what I need. 8 boxes of 24ct Crayons.


Next up, markers! I need 3 packs of 8ct Thin Markers and 4 packs of 8ct Thick Markers. I look in the bins only to find 10ct markers of both kinds.

What kind of tomfoolery is this?!

I look at my list and look at the bin. I look at my list and in the bin again. I guess I am magically hoping some appear in the bin.

Suddenly, I recall there is an office section in the back of the store. I bet they are back there! Plus, I bet it is a lot less crowded.


Heading to the office section, I can't help feeling smug as I know I will find everything I'm looking for without as may people around.

Wrong, Kemosabe.

Looking through this section, I see they too only have 10ct markers. There are no 8ct markers to be found.

Guess what?! You are getting two extra markers! You're welcome.

Looking around for glue sticks, I find none so I head back up to the front of the store.

15 glue sticks?


My kids are going to be gluing the HECK out of some stuff at school. For real.

I wind my way back to the "Wall of Folders". This thing is ginormous. It almost rivals the Greek Parthenon in size.

I find the "Folders with Pockets, Poly, with Brads" on my list. Spotting the poly folders on the shelf. I bend over to look through a box. Grabbing a folder, I open it to find pockets inside and three tabs.

Are the tabs these so called "Brads"? Is that what they mean? If so, why didn't they just say "tabs"?

You know what? Yes! Let's say that they are!

After going through another box and not find the colors I need, I decide I am going to plop my backside down on the nasty dirty public floor and search each one of these blasted boxes for the stuff I need.

Bending over like that is giving me a back cramp and my hiney is sticking up in the air.

Sorry people. A mama's got to do what a mama's go to do.

10 minutes or maybe 30 minutes, I honestly lost all track of time, I find all the folders in the colors on the list.

Finally. Deep sigh.

I go in search of the composition books. I need regular composition books and the ones for K-2 primary composition books. I easily find the first and cannot locate the later.

I wonder around aimlessly for about 10 minutes until an older lady who works here takes pity on me and asks if she can help.

I take in her kind smile, her headband and her matching wrist bands.

This is a lady who means business.

"Please", I hear myself say, "can you please help me find the primary composition books? I have looked everywhere and cannot find them."

She smiles and replies, "Yes! They are on an end cap over here. Follow me!"

So I follow her to the alleged end cap and locate the composition books.


After thanking her profusely, I head off to search for the presharpened Ticonderoga pencils. I find tons and tons of pencils. No Ticonderoga.


I make my way over to another section that has pencils.


Where are these flipping pencils?!

I spy the same nice lady a row over. I subtly maneuver my way over to her and sheepishly ask if she can help me again by locating these mythical Ticonderoga pencils.

She smiles and motions for me to follow her.

She takes me right back to the main "Back To School" area. She immiedately goes to a bin which lots of items on the top - none of which are pencils - and pulls out a box of the pencils.

They do exist!

"How many do you need?" she asks.

"I need 10 boxes of 12 presharpened," I reply.

Another mom is within earshot. She pipes up, "I need some of those presharpened pencils too!"

Listen, lady. I'd be happy to share. But if there is only enough for one person, that person is me. Capiche?

The kind store worker produces one box. Scratches her head and says, "I think I know where more are."

She ambles off with me close behind. And the other mom hot on my trail.

The store worker walks halfway across the store and we find a box crammed in among many other items. She starts to hand me the number of boxes I need.


I look at the pencils and I lean over to look at the price.

Wait. WHAT?!

What gives with the cost of these pencils being three times the normal amount? Why are they so expensive? Are they made with the blood of unicorns?

I don't get it.

Deep sigh. Lots of deep sighs.

She says, "What else do you need?" I tell her about the Name Brand ultra fine black markers and the Name Brand Dry Erase Fine Point Black Markers.

She turns and heads to the back of the store. Back to the Office Section.

Happy thoughts.

Once there, we of course find only half of what I need but I decide I'll take it.

I'll look again another day. 

I ask her if she knows where a pink wedge eraser is and she responds that it is at the front of the store.

"I'll go it get it", she says.

"Oh don't trouble yourself! I can get it. Thank you so much for your help," I sincerely tell her.

This poor woman has been running herself ragged to help me. Now I know why she wears the headband.

I stomp back up towards the front and give a meaningful glance at the school supplies.

Screw it.

At this point, I don't care if I have to make a special trip, spend $10 in gas, for one tiny pink wedge eraser.

Mama is all shopped out today.

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