One day I won’t have to buy any school supplies, and then I’ll be sad. Maybe.

Even back in elementary school, when you could buy the prepackaged supplies for your children from the school, I didn’t do it. I guess I figure there’s so little opportunity for individuality when you’re sitting in a classroom all day every day, that if my kids wanted pencils with swirly designs instead of the boring yellow kind, and a SpongeBob SquarePants spiral notebook instead of the solid green variety, then that’s what they’ll get. After all, we do live in America.

Now that my kids are older, though, school supply shopping isn’t as big of a deal. My 12th grader figures that since he’s pretty much already a graduate, he can probably get by with one spiral and a mechanical pencil for the year. Still, even with a shorter list, the whole school supply concept is intriguing…. 

Congrats to all you people whose last names start with the letters M-Z. Your colored construction paper was waiting for you in a large, shiny display with big arrows pointing to it right after you stepped into Walmart. Those of us who are A-L’ers had to search every aisle for the manila paper (again), to no avail. We even have to ask a Walmart associate for help. This means we have to walk up and down those same aisles a second time, watching someone else not find manila paper. We are immediately filled with regret that we asked. And if you’re like me, you also regret that you dressed the way that you did, because now you have to hunt down manila paper at another store, and you’re in your pajama pants and flip flops. While that is perfectly acceptable attire for a trip to Walmart, the patrons over at Office Max will likely judge you. 

I’d like to personally thank everyone who has bought their assigned 2 boxes of Kleenex. There are approximately 2 kids in every class who are allergic to everything and use 3/4 of the total classroom supply. One of those two kids has the last name, “Hopkins”. 

In high school, your kid can buy good grades by bringing extra supplies. Hey, I’m not criticizing. I’m happy he can get a free 100 if his mom buys a pack of AA batteries. I think it’s an excellent life lesson:) 

Dry Erase (no odor). Sorry, but those don’t exist. Trust me, I’ve sniffed them all. (At WalMart, of course, as this is the only place I think it would not be seen as abnormal behavior.) But it’s probably okay, because if you can control the misuse of those scissors and rulers you put on the supply list, you can probably also yank that marker out of Johnny’s hands when he seems to be getting dizzy at the board as he labors over long division. 

I like how the pink eraser has stood the test of time. Also, Elmer’s glue. Not the sticks, but the liquid form. You can’t spread a layer of glue stick on your hand, blow it dry, then peel it off and pretend you have leprosy. 

“In addition, teachers may require additional supplies.” You thought you beat the system by shopping early. But just when you’ve checked off the last item from your list (manila paper, of course), you see that little loophole of a statement at the bottom of the page. Guess who’s going to be back at Walmart next week with a whole new list? Lucky.

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Donna Wright

What is manila paper? Never heard of it.

Glue sticks are boring compared to elmer’s glue or my favorite: rubber cement.

One year I was shopping in our local university’s bookstore (Univ of South Alabama) and found spiral notebooks for lefties for the exact same price as the regular ones. Who knew they even made those? My son really liked them because he didn’t get that indentation of spiral wire on his arm when he wrote.

Two years ago I was in target just as they were putting out Halloween stuff and they had a bin full of pencils on clearance. Pks of 12 for .18 cents. I filled up my cart with the entire load. They are still being used at our church but I’m on the lookout for another pencil deal.

Good post. I love school supply shopping.

Cynthia Hopkins

Really? It’s cream-colored drawing paper. I guess it’s a regional term. Or maybe it really doesn’t exist. Someone just thought it would be a funny prank to pull on all the A-L surnames:)


Am I the only mother who doesn’t buy the more expensive lotion dipped tissues? I have one child (the middle one) who is emabarrassed by this habit so this year I decided to splurge and buy the soft tissues. Who knew I would be standing in the paper good isle for 5 minutes trying to decide between Every Day, Kleenex Cool Touch, Antiviral, Ultra Soft, Expressions or Lotion?

Thankfully, I saved some time by being married to an O’Teter. I didn’t even have to slow down to grab the colored construction paper and chunk it in my basket as we passed the display! : )


The school list this teacher turned in for this school year is not the one they kids received… there were three MAJOR things left off. As much as I hate sending parents back out, I’ve got no choice. At least I didn’t ask for the dreaded manila paper, aren’t I a nice teacher!

Donna Wright

Hey, I taught school and still we didn’t use manila paper or cream colored drawing paper. I must have missed that class on using it.

Those school supplies are a blessing for some teachers. My nephew is teaching in an inner city school where half the kids showed up without supplies. He got his church to help but the parents who brought stuff are a Godsend for him. I did not know they made so many “flavors” of tissue. I buy the big box at Sam’s. I need to slow down on my next trip down the paper aisle.

Thanks for the laughs (and the memories), Cynthia.

Nancy Garling

Cynthia, I read this on the train yesterday on the way home from work, and I was laughing so hard that the lady behind me asked what was so funny. I had TEARS streaming down my FACE! Great post–NG

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