The day before school started, the school supply aisles at Target were widely empty. I wheeled my cart up and down, noting a few remaining boxes of crayons and some pretty sad looking book bags. I picked up exactly two pairs of school scissors and moved on. As it turns out, school scissors weren't even on my list.
After meeting with the teacher for my daughter's kindergarten class, I set off for Staples with two back to school lists in hand. The lists were incredibly specific (down to the color of the folders) and I managed to fill an entire shopping cart at Staples with markers (Crayola original colors, broad tip); sharpened #2 pencils with latex-free erasers; 2 pocket folders; composition books; pencil sharpeners (covered); tissues; hand sanitizers; soft pencil cases; and more. The final "damage"? More than $100.
As I was checking out, my cashier said, "Are you a teacher?"
"Nah," I said, "Just a mom." I flashed the two school supplies lists at him. "School supplies list," I mumbled.
"They're crazy this year," he said to me.
Yes, yes, they are.
Notwithstanding the issue that everyone is clearly freaked out about swine flu (I had a hard time finding a display of hand sanitizers that had any bottles left - and the boxes of tissues left were the ugly ones with the roses on them), the school supplies lists feel like they're getting more complicated. My cashier said that he had seen a couple that included dry erase boards - really? For grade school? That feels very over the top.
I paid for my school supplies and went home to separate and label them. All of the school supplies have to be labeled with your child's name - even the community boxes of tissues. So, there I was, Sharpie in hand, trying to figure out how to fit my kids' names onto ridiculously small items (ever try writing a full name on a pencil sharpener?). The whole process - from starting to shop to finally packing up - took hours.
I guess gone are the days when you just showed up with a pencil and a tablet...