And Visions of Dollar Signs Danced In My Head

No, I am not getting a raise. Or a bonus check. Or any sort of monetary congratulations/sign of appreciation for my kick a*s year last year, so don’t get excited. The dollar signs belong to me. Or at least they used to. Now they belong to Staples.

I have just returned from my annual pilgrimage to that mecca of office supply-dom. And I have to say that it was quite the roller coaster…full of dramatic twists and turns (which comes as no surprise to Mr. Mimi who thinks I am constantly working to win some sort of trophy for dramatic performance…untrue….flattering that he appreciates my flair for the theatre, but untrue).

Let me begin at the beginning. As I enter Staples, I am a flurry of energy, attempting to recall everything that I had previously listed on my To Buy List. (Alas, the beloved To Buy List was left in another purse…you can lead the organizational horse to water…). I grab a cart and am off! My first priority…plastic tool boxes on sale for 99 cents each. (Which yes, sounds like a good deal, but I do think it is slightly bullshit, because they USED to go on sale for 25 cents each just a few years ago. Geez. I sound old. I also complain about the prices of eggs…)

I emerge from behind a giant display of notebooks and….there they are. But wait! There are stacks upon stacks, but there are only two colors – pink and purple. Now, I am all about “you get what you get and you don’t get upset” but I am also all about avoiding unnecessary complaining. I mean, I can’t stick a little boy with a pink tool box. And don’t get all gender-y on me either! Boys can absolutely choose pink shirts, backpacks, tool boxes, etc (Mr. Mimi happens to look very sexy in a new pink power tie), but I do NOT believe in forcing the pink upon them. Not because I worry about their disappointment. Because I think I might explode if they even THINK about complaining about something I have provided them at my own expense. Selfless, I know.

I immediately abandon my cart, crestfallen. I am about to leave, when I run into a friendly salesperson (a rare, rare finding at Staples in my experience). There is a glimmer of hope.

Me: “Um, do you happen to have any more of those plastic tool boxes?”
Him: “There’s quite a few right there, miss.”
Me: (He called me “miss”! Maybe I’m not so old after all….) (Insert dazzling smile) “Yes, but I teach *** grade and I can’t imagine giving my boys a pink tool box…” (maintaining dazzling smile)
Him: “Well, of course. Let’s see…”

And he leads me back to another display filled with blue, green and clear tool boxes!! Hooray!! I thank the kind man and practically skip back to my abandoned cart. I eagerly count out 22 tool boxes in a variety of colors.

I then move onto those wonderful cardboard displays which I have convinced myself are full of fabulous deals. I understand that they are probably not huge deals, but just having them be separate from the other merchandise and stored in a jaunty cardboard bin makes them feel more special.

I begin to toss all kinds of goodies into my cart…

Crayola Crayons and markers, bottle after bottle of Elmer’s glue, fun erasers, a pencil sharpener, glue sticks, pencils, and dozens and dozens of two pocket folders.

My cart starts to look like my classroom threw up in it…it is a rainbow colored vessel brimming with brand new, shiny school supplies.

My heart is practically bursting. (Seriously, I think I may have giggled as I piled twelve new colors of dry erase markers into my cart…)

And I’m done. I wheel myself over to checkout, where another pleasant (wow…there are two!!) salesperson rings me up. I load pile after pile after pile of stuff onto the counter, watching the register tape spew out of the cash register and begin to touch the floor (really, it did reach the floor).

It was almost like a switch had been flipped.

I was angry.

Why the hell am I spending my money (not to mention my time on this gloriously sunny day) buying school supplies which should be bought be either THEIR PARENTS or THE SCHOOL??!?!

Have I ever told you that I have NEVER (NOT ONCE) been supplied with a pencil? That’s right…seven years of teaching and not one damn pencil. The city for which I work spends all kinds of money catering lunches and employing all sorts of d-bags who have never set foot in a classroom yet get to tell me what to do and NO ONE has even THOUGHT that MAYBE they should give the teachers freaking pencils???

Perhaps the kids can imagine the pencils. Or like a magician, they will come falling out of my a*s. But no, those things don’t happen, because I buy them. Every year. I buy them.

Don’t even get me started telling you that I have also never been supplied with paper…we don’t have time for that one …and it’s already been done!

$233.58 later and I still have to hit up Costco.

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