Back To School Supply Shopping Tips For The Lazy And/Or Exhausted

Buddy had a WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) Leader training meeting this afternoon.  Basically, he will help usher the sixth graders into Middle School, give them the lay of the land and a face they’ll know sort of thing.

Packing him a snack and preparing for what was essentially, a half day of school reminded me that the first day of school was eminent and we would need to go to **BACK TO SCHOOL SUPPLY SHOPPING** (That was said in the Monster Truck Announcer Voice.)


So, while Buddy was at the school, Bug and I headed to my least favorite place in all the lands…Walmart.  It really is cheaper there.  Really.

Last year, I parked my cart in an As Out Of The Way Place as I could possibly find.  Those Back To School Stations that Target and Walmart set up are mad houses!  I was not about to set foot into that lagoon of writhing piranhas.  Instead, I stay with the cart and send the boys in to get the items on the list.  It worked so well and really kept anxiety at a minimum.  Your gratefulness that you are not doing the actual hunting and gathering has to out weigh how incredibly slow it takes for children (who can’t find a gallon of milk that’s at eye level) to find things like pens and pencils in order for this to work.

Since Buddy was not with us, it was all up to Bug this year!  The cart and I hugged the paper towel aisle and I sent Bug into the piranhas with the mission to find #2 pencils.

“A package of 24 for each trimester,” I read to him.  “Oh, and your brother needs some too!”

“How many?”

“Um…it just says #2 pencils so…I guess it doesn’t matter.  You know what?  Don’t get him any.  He still has 3 or 4 from last year.  That should be adequate.”

On down the list we went.

“2 glue sticks.”

There were packages of one jumbo sized glue stick or three glue sticks or 6 glue sticks but not of just 2 glue sticks.

“Expo dry erase markers,” I’d read.  Five minutes later Bug would return with markers that were neither Expo nor dry erase.  “These are chalk markers, Dude.”


Mean time, I plucked up enough courage to venture in and get 4 pocket folders (blue/science, green/lang arts. red/S.S., and purple/math.)  A woman with three Turd Tornadoes whirling around her, was gathering pocket folders as well.  One of the Turds must’ve confused me for Mom and was dancing around me, sliding their hands of questionable cleanliness across my thighs.

“Ooopsie!” I said to the Turd.  Embarrassed, he whirled away back to the Mother from whence it came.

I ducked, dodged and scurried back to my cart that was safely nestled by the paper towels.  Bug was there with dry erase markers.  Not Expo.

“You know what?  I don’t give a flip,” I said more to myself than Bug.  “Good job, Bug!  I deem these acceptable!”

“Yea!  What’s next?”

“A plastic ruler.  Go!  GO!” I released my little minion back in to find the ruler.

Speaking of Minions…  If I never again see another one of those Despicable Me Minions I will die a very happy woman.  Those overall clad, little, yellow bastards are on everything!  Lunch boxes, t-shirts, back packs.  Every salty, sweet and/or otherwise processed food mutation you can find, has those minions on the packaging.  Diapers, Kleenex, toilet paper and memes, be they inspirational or for comedy, has a minion as their spokesperson.  I’m sick of it!  For the love of all things holy and sacred, I don’t want to see it ever, ever again.  The only minions I want to see are the flying monkey or hunched back sort, mmkay?

This time, I stood my post.  I was thinking about how easy it would be to rearrange the packages of paper towels into a little arm chair for me when another mom and son duo parked near me.

“Now, we are only getting what’s on the list,” she told him.

“Sort of like a scavenger hunt?” he asked.


Bug finally returned but with a wooden ruler.

“There are no plastic rulers left,” he sighed.  You know what?  He very well could be wrong but at that point I could care less.  A wooden ruler can measure just as well as a plastic one.

“That’ll do, Pig.” I said, patting his head.

“HEY!” he said offended.

“No, Bug…it’s a movie reference.  Have you never seen Babe?”

“Babe Ruth?”

“No, it’s a movie about a pig and this farmer…my word, what kind of up bringing have you had?  Forget it.  Go find a pencil bag.”

He found a beautiful blue and green cylindrical cotton pencil bag.

“Was that the cheapest one?” I asked.  I mean, there’s no way this biodegradable bag was cheap.

“Um…yeah.  It’s $2.99.”

I took the $300 pencil bag from the cart and quickly found the plastic/nylon .99 bags.

Bug and I both survived the fiery hell of Back To School Shopping sans a few things, one of which was felt tip pens, black; NO SHARPIES.  I kid you not, that is what it says on the list.  I mean, the first thing you think of when asked for a black felt tip pen is a Sharpie.  They also don’t specify what sized tip they want.  Any size apparently will do but for the love of Peter, Paul and Mary, please not a Sharpie!  We found no such cryptid and so we went to the Office Supply section of the store.

I had COMPLETELY forgotten how genius this shopping tactic is!!!  Last year we did the same thing for another supply and it’s like an oasis!  While everyone else is treasure hunting in shark infested waters we shopped in the serene Eden of the Office Supplies.

“Hey, look mom…packages of sticky notes!” Bug held up the neon cube that was so elusive over in the School Supply Section.  We found other supplies, like the plastic ruler and (if you can believe) a package of TWO glue sticks.  IN THE SAME STORE!  We still did not find the non-Sharpie black felt tip pens.

“We could check at Target,” Bug suggested.

Aw hell no.

“Nope.  We’re done.  The school is getting these fine working SHARPIE pens,” I decided.  “What are they gonna do?  Kick you out of school?”

I know my friends in Texas are already half way through the school year and some of my other friends start next week and so are probably already through the excruciating process that is Back To School Supply Shopping but let us all refer to this post in the future and remember to shop early, cheap, and head straight for the Office Supply Sections of the store.  Oh, and utilize those children!  That’s why we had them, right?!  They are small and can burrow into those dark and filthy tunnels of arms and legs while we sip Starbucks and kick back in the paper towel arm chairs.


About buddyandbug

Man and I moved from Texas to Colorado with Buddy and Bug. This blog is a chronicle of our adventures as we deal with homesickness and adjust to Mountain Living. “If you are a dreamer,come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer. If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!” ~ Shel Silverstein
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