School Supply Stick Up

by POPSIE 1956

I continue to be amazed at the shake down school systems impose on families in order to prepare little Johnny & Janey (or in my case Chris & Zach) for the next school year.

I’m talking about the “Annual School Supply Draining Of The Wallets”.

We like to pitch in and get as many of the “required items” as we can to help our daughter and son in law out as best we can.

But every year it seems we’re forced to take out a second or even third mortgage for the kids to survive.

OK, I’m an old fart, but back in the Stone Age it was simple; couple of pens, couple of pencils with a good eraser on them, some composition books, a big blue binder, dividers, paper.

Today it’s like the kids are prepping for the next Moon shot!

Chris is getting ready to go into 7th Grade, Zach into 2nd.

If you’re not familiar with this rite of passage, please allow me to share what we must get the boys in the next couple of weeks.

First, here is the list for Chris, followed by my observations;



  • 1 Pencil Pouch-when I was in 7th Grade, I also had a Pencil Pouch-IT WAS THE FRONT POCKET OF MY SHIRT!
  • 2 packs of Index Cards-perfect for any 7th Grader to easily lose.
  • 1 package of #2 Pencils-OK
  • 1 package Blue OR Black Pens-Thank God in America we have a choice. Of course when I was in school I always used a red pen just to piss off the teacher.
  • 2 Highlighter Pens- Again OK, but I’m guessing they aren’t made of the same materials in the ones I used to use, when you sniffed them you didn’t care about class.
  • FIVE 3 ring binders, 2 in. with loose leaf paper and dividers-Seems abundant to me, all we needed was one binder…AND WE LIKED IT!
  • FOUR Journal notebooks for ELA (composition) 1-Social Studies & 1 Science (composition or spiral)-I can hear Chris now complaining of his aching back due to the weight of all this stuff).
  • 1 Calculator TI 34 Multi View (Math, Science)-Two things here; for one, wouldn’t just “Calculator” work? Does this one add, subtract and make babies? Two, don’t all these kids have phones…WITH calculators? Just sayin’.
  • MATH; Drawing compass and “Graph paper 1/4 inch (i package)-I may be wrong but isn’t a drawing compass the same as a protractor, that thing we used as kids to try and stick into other kids eyes?
  • 1 package POST IT NOTES (ELA)-Really? Wouldn’t that be what the Index Cards are for? They’re always gonna run out of these since they will only be used to get phone numbers for dates.
  • 1 Free reading book at all times! (library or other)-I strongly encourage reading, and perhaps this is for free time, but when I was in school and had free time, I DID HOMEWORK!


  • PHYS ED-3 Ring Binder 1/2″)-Don’t get this one. If I had this when I took gym I would be drawing fellow students in the shower and selling the drawings for lunch money.
  • Towel-File this under “Duh,” but I remember schools GIVING the kids towels, damn school budgets.
  • Girls-One piece Swim Suit/Boys-Swim Suit w/Liner & Draw string-Remember boys, we haven’t started Sex Ed yet, so keep “Little 7th Grader” hidden at all times. While we’re on the subject, where’s the “supporter?” Keep it covered but go Commando?
  • HOME AND CAREERS (Is this the PC way they now say Home Ec?) Binder with loose leaf paper & dividers-If you’re keeping account from above that’s now SIX binders, all of which should be lost by Christmas.
  • CHOIR; 2 pocket folder-Maybe to hold song sheets, but as mentioned about,we’re at SIX pocket folders
  • ART; Sketch book- Again, holding onto the past, schools used to just give these to students.
  • 2 black sharpies (fine tip)-See last statement.

So I will admit, probably the bulk of these items ARE needed, but my parents didn’t need a list, and they didn’t need specifically branded items (more on that later).

Now, onto Zach.


  • 3 DOZEN Ticonderoga Pencils- I know they are only in 2nd Grade, but they’ll go through 36 freaking pencils between September and June? Huh? And a specific brand too?
  • 1 Pair of Scissors-Makes sense, but perhaps with Zach we should add a gross of band aids.
  • 1 pack “Pink Pearl” Erasers-Am I missing something? Aren’t there already erasers? ON THE THIRTY SIX PENCILS!!!!!
  • 1 Glue Stick-I’ll reminisce about the old liquid glue I used to use and cross reference the similar reaction in smell from these as the highlighters from above.
  • I box of Tissues-Because School System Budgets blow and the schools can’t afford to give the kid a tissue like they used to.
  • 1 Art Smock (in a large Ziploc bag with name)-Cuz we can’t afford to get replacement clothes for your potentially messy children.
  • 3 Two Pocket Folders (1 red, 1 blue, 1 yellow)-Including Chris we’re up to NINE Two Pocket Folders, and WHY must they ALL be the same color?
  • 1 Box 24 Count Crayons-we get a break…I don’t see the “Crayola” (c) brand.
  • 2 Marble Composition Notebooks-We’re up to six including Chris.
  • 1 Pencil case or Zip Pouch-Better be pretty damn big, 36 pencils remember?
  • 1 Dry Erase Marker-Black- Have to make sure it’s not a Permanent, Zach likes to draw fake tats on his arm.
  • 1 Box Colored Pencils-So 36 regular black pencils aren’t enough? Couldn’t they just use the freaking crayons?

Here’s what gets me-you can go to any Big Box Store, and NOT ONLY do they have ALL of the above supplies, AND THEY ARE NOT CHEAP, but they also have THESE LISTS for the associated school system in that town IN THE STORE ITSELF, to put further pressure on you, especially if you are hurting for cash BUT HAVE TO GET THE LIST OF ITEMS TO THE LETTER.

Then try to shop when there are other parents/grandparents/family members doing so at the same time. There’s more yelling, screaming and back biting than at a Republican Presidential Debate!

Sigh. I just had to get it off my chest. Of course we love our grandsons and will do anything for them, no matter how much it costs.

Which is why we’re trying decide what we like the taste of better, Friskies, Nine Lives of Fancy Feast.

I’m just glad my mother didn’t live to see this.

Just think, if she wanted to get me an apple to give to the teacher, it would have to be organic!