Saturday, August 04, 2007

Notes From My Knapsack 8-12-07
Jeff Gill

Making the List

Cruel though it may be, the Little Guy and I needed to make an outing for school supplies.

The official lists come out around August 15 for many classrooms, and most of the more specific supplies run out by August 1, so there’s a note of guesswork even with the general “recommended supplies” list in hand.

A more paranoid person than myself might suspect that there’s a malign conspiracy to get people to buy up large stocks of stuff they won’t actually need, but I’m not saying that. Quite.

Two packs of permanent markers are nowhere to be found, but the dozen multi-color pack that no school asks for are in bin-stuffed surfeit. Sure, name brand glue is available for a nickel and the store brand for two cents (don’t tell me that isn’t a classic “loss leader” strategy), but the flimsy folders with characters from movies that came out a year ago and more are surely making up the profit margin.

The Lovely Wife does some strategic shopping through the year, and Grandma, former teacher that she is, buys up clumps of supplies on sale and then much later finds the caches at odd intervals, bringing them to her grandkids along with assorted sacks o’ fun.

No matter what, we still end up with a few items that are a) unlocateable, or b) must be purchased at ridiculous, extortionate, swingeing prices. The protractor with the non-Euclidian extension, scissors with the latest anti-cutting protection device, or notebooks no taller than eight inches with exactly 92 pages, lined.

So we wander about some of Licking County’s famed mercantile establishments. My heart sinks when I see at one that shelving with interesting fall craft supplies are being stripped even of the mark-down tags that we’re there a couple weeks ago. Why are the fall crafts going away? To make room for Christmas stuff, of course.

Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeee…….

Where Christmas d├ęcor reigns, school gear must take a back seat. Backpacks, in fact, take a back seat, shoved aside with their remaining selection of Hello Kitty, Josie and the Pussycats, awkwardly drawn muscle cars, and two Transformers book bags. Lunch boxes? Don’t ask.

If you haven’t bought back to school clothes yet, you should know that the racks are filling with parkas and snow boots. We all know September is often one of central Ohio’s hottest months, but don’t go looking for short sleeves or flip flops. I’d rather try to find a snow shovel right now than an outfit for the boy, unless he’s going for a start of the school year field trip to Greenland.

All is not lost. You can count on one thing this time of year – if you want a school folder, t-shirt, flip flops, seat cushion, pocket protector, or tissue holder with a large, scarlet and gray Block O on it, with buckeye leaf garnish, they’re easy to find.

Go Bucks! (Wonder if there’s an Ohio State logo Wii out there . . .)


Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio; he’s quite aware that school starts in ten days! Send him alerts on back-to-school supply sales through knapsack77@gmail.com.

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