1” binders, 1 1/2” binders, 3-pack of glue sticks, gallon size Ziploc bags, sandwich size Ziploc bags, hand sanitizer, enough paper towels to soak up Lake Tuscaloosa, enough Kleenex to blow the noses of the entire population of a small country, permanent markers (because parents love when kids ruin clothes), enough Clorox wipes to disinfect a pig farm, and 10,000 #2 pencils.
The point of this article is not to question the items on the list. I believe at one point or another, teachers and kids will eventually need them all, if not more. The question is, why do we all still go buy these items individually?
I’m not a big fan of waste, especially when it comes to money. A typical school supply tally costs the average mom and dad somewhere between $150-$300 per student, depending on the respective list. Plus, it sends all parents scurrying off to the store, where we are confined to one small area, sentenced to crashing buggies into one another while looking for the freaking composition notebooks.
So, why don’t we do something 21st century, and buy in bulk? Surely, it’s been tried before, but maybe it’s time to give it another spin? I ran a few numbers (of which I do not have the room to post here), and based on one sample, we could potentially get the cost down to $70-$90 per student on the respective list reviewed.
Of course, there are barriers to all new ideas, and this one comes with plenty. But I would happily hand the school $100 just to avoid the chaos of having to go individually. I’d gladly collect or online order the 30+ items on the list. Plus, it would save parents time and money, and would most likely mean leftover cash for the schools to use throughout the year (not to mention eliminating the excess trash from all the individually wrapped items).
In the meantime, look for me in the Target school supply area. Crashing into my buggy is acceptable, as long as you’re willing to help me find the composition notebooks.
I tweet insignificant things @ozborn34.
Derek Osborn is the Executive Director of PRIDE of Tuscaloosa by trade and writer by hobby. He lives in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Lynn, and their daughters Savannah and Anica.