Friday, September 7, 2012

School. Suppliage.

In 1975 my family moved from the outskirts of Toronto to Edmonton. What were the big differences?

Well we in Toronto we had a mediocre NHL hockey team and in Edmonton we were 5 years from having one.  My Dad had taken the commuter train to work in Mississauga. Two days of the marvels of the Edmonton Transit System and my parents were shopping for a new car.

As a 13 year old, I was sad to have left my friends behind, but I was the type of kid who was up for an adventure.  The first real difference happened on my first day of school.  I attended, was assigned a locker and handed a list of school supplies to buy.


In the Peel Board of Education in Mississauga all supplies were provided. I think in grade 4 my parents had to supply a geometry set. Apart from that, pencils, notebooks, textbooks were all provided.

On the first day of school, no doubt my mother, with a child each in elementary school, junior high and high school, breathed a sigh of relief that we were all back to school. We had moved into our house only days earlier and I am sure she was happy for the quiet house to get to the hard work of sorting out the house and making it a home.

Then her bubble burst.  My brothers and I all came home with school supply lists.   My Mom quickly found out that her relief was short lived and all four of us needed to go to Woodward's and buy school supplies.  It may not have been such a bad thing if we hadn't met every other child and their motherss in southwest Edmonton doing the same thing.

It was quite a sight: frazzled mothers pushing carts while children through binders, paper, pencils and glue into the carts.  My Mom was shell shocked.  Added to that we didn't know was some of the things on the list. What is a Keytab? And why did we need so many of them?

Fast forward 35 years and the school supply industry has come a long way. Teachers still make up lists, but now the free market economy has blossumed and businesses have sprung up where you can pay someone to put all those supplies in a neat little box with a handle, a cardboard briefcase if you will (that will fail on the first day of school ensuring splayed school supplies all over God's green acre).

For 6 six years I have paid an extortionate discounted price based on volume buys for the school. Each spring when we are just happy to have spring break in out sights, the supply order form comes home.

Oh sure, there are a few years I get burned. Like the year I knew Jackson had almost unused pencil crayons coming home from grade 3 so I declined to pay for them again in grade 4. But then he donated them to inner city kids. I didn't mind that he donated them. It would have been nice if I figured that out more than 12 hours before he was required to bring the supplies to school (Without a word of a lie, I found pencil crayons from my childhood and put them into his pencil box).

This year. Oh this year. Jackson is starting middle school, which also supports the free market economy with mass buys of school supplies.  But because he is an out-of-catching kid, we were not offered the packaged school supply buy.

So I shopped. And shopped. And shopped. And finally after a quadrant search of every place I could think of, found a USB on a lanyard (but buying a USB and a lanyard).

But I do question why Jackson will need a box of tissues in grade 6.  It seems brutally unfair that I have to send a box of tissues to school AND pay for the extra laundry soap and hot water to wash his shirts to clean boogers off his shirt sleeves.

Ever the rebel (well, not really), I reject the notion that Jackson will need three 36 gram jumbo glue sticks in grade 6.  What is this, kindergarten?  That many glue sticks in the proximity of 11 year olds can only lead to gluing toilet paper to the parking lot.

So I reject that requirement. I will not send that much glue to middle school.

I sent three 22 gram regular glue sticks.

1 comment:

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog