Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back-to-School Supply Shopping

It starts innocently enough--your child gets a cheery letter from his kindergarten teacher with a list of things he'll need for the school year: a nap mat, some crayons, a couple of pencils, a pair of safety scissors, and maybe a box of Kleenex to contribute to the classroom community.  Add a lunchbox and a backpack, and you're done with back-to-school supply shopping--no sweat. But each year the list of supplies your child needs gets longer; soon you're colored pencils, markers, highlighters, erasers, composition notebooks, index cards, Post-it notes, notebook paper, folders, and three-ring binders.  Plus, if you have more than one child in school, you're juggling multiple lists, tastes, and preferences, and back-to-school shopping is starting to feel a little bit stressful.  By the time your kids get to high school and they still need all of the above plus graphing calculators, the stress and expense mount.  But all of that is nothing compared to when they leave for college and in addition to all the usual school supplies, you're searching online for cheaper-than-bookstore-priced textbooks, as well as all the things they need for their dorm rooms: wastebaskets, lamps, mini fridges, fans, under-the-bed storage boxes, closet organizers, laundry bags, shower caddies, extra-long twin bed sheets, laptop computers, printers, surge protectors, and ethernet cables.  Then a couple of years later when they move to a townhouse or an off-campus apartment, they need pots and pans, mixing bowls, dishes, vacuum cleaners, extra furniture, cleaning supplies, and shower curtains.  You think back to your first child's kindergarten supply list and realize the only thing worse than all the back-to-school supply shopping is going to be the first year you don't have to do it anymore . . . .

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