Is Walmart Passing Out Fake Back-To-School Supply Lists?

Blogger Kelby Carr says that her local Walmart has totally fake but official looking back to school supply lists posted in their stores. The lists not only contain some extra supplies that are banned from the schools, but are actually missing some supplies. Here’s how she describes the lists:

…there is no way to describe these lists except as ones that are trying very hard to look official. They have a fax send line at the top of the page (who on earth faxed these, if not the schools?). They not only state the school, but also the grade level and they have various lists based on teacher. Each teacher has slightly different supplies required. If that doesn’t look like something official from the school, I’m not sure what would. Perhaps adding a medieval wax seal to each list?

Kelby was told by her daughter’s school that Walmart just makes up the lists on its own. That’s twisted.

Is this one rogue Walmart or some kind of systematic evil?

Truth About Wal-Mart Back to School Lists [Kelby Carr via BoingBoing]
(Photo: cupcake revolution )


Edit Your Comment

  1. cmdrsass says:

    Neither the summary or the article contain a copy of one of these lists as far as I can tell. So I guess we’ll just have to take your word for it.

  2. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I had a feeling a riding mower and shotgun weren’t required for 5th grade…

  3. thalensmom says:

    I know my local walmart has a whole square island dedicated to these things, but honestly, I’ve always just assumed they were for real. It would make sense for the schools to send out the lists to all the local stores. But making them up to look like real ones?! That’s just evil.

  4. perruptor says:

    It must be the parents’ fault, for hiring teachers who didn’t check with Wal-Wart to get their proper lists.

  5. Leiterfluid says:

    Since when is sealing wax “medieval?” Does the submitter not know that you can go to any Hallmark store and buy some (as well as a variety of seals)?

  6. B1663R says:

    Staples by my house has the same thing. they call it a “suggested back to school shopping list”

    Lots of crap that’s not needed, or that the school already supplies.

    Very misleading indeed.

  7. Leiterfluid says:

    @AlteredBeast: You obviously didn’t go to school in farm country :)

  8. Hawk07 says:

    Another issue with those school lists is how the teacher always has one or two items on there that don’t exist at 95% of retail stores. It’ll say like, “Liquid Gel Pink Pen”. WTH do you find those w/o going to arts and crafts store and paying $5 or more per pen?

    Also, it seems like half the stuff never gets used anyways.

  9. Robobot says:

    Maybe this just shows what a cynical consumer I am, but whenever I see those lists at Staples, Wal-Mart, etc. I assume they are advertisements with a back-to-school list layout. So sad I was right.

  10. timmus says:

    Where did this incident occur at? Los Angeles? Mumbai, India? Details!!

  11. The_IT_Crone says:

    Someone in the comments of the original article outlined one of the lists:

    By Zang on August 19th, 2008 at 7:01 am

    I picked up one of the lists that my local Walmart had in abundance and was amazed at what I thought the teachers were asking for…

    Pre-K thru 5th grade, Decker Elementary in Austin Tx, listing just Pre-K which is the LARGEST (Walmart@Norwood Park, I-35@183)

    4 Folders with brads and pockets
    1 scissors
    6 glue sticks
    1 ream of construction paper
    1 pack of manila paper
    1 comp notebook
    4 cans of play-doh
    1 package large safety pins
    1 ream of copy paper
    1 ream of white cardstock
    1 full sized backpack, no wheels
    1 change of clothes
    2 boxes of crayons
    1 pack of pencils
    1 box of large ziploc baggies

    Ok, wtf, a composition notebook for pre-k? bag of safety pins? 3 reams of paper and cardstock?

  12. ninabi says:

    When my kids were small, we moved cross country. During the unpacking phase I suffered a serious eye accident. Flat on my back, bandages on my face, my mother and sister flew out to help.

    Oh shit! School was starting the next day!

    They scrambled through the cardboard cartons for a few pencils, an old back pack, a few half-filled notebooks. All they found were “Barbie” crayons so my mother peeled the paper off of each one and stuffed them in a bag for my little boy.

    And we sent them off to school. Guess what? Nobody died.
    The school did not complain, the kids were able to do their work and classroom activity did not come to a complete halt because we neglected to bring construction paper the first day.

    Really, I’m finding that there’s a lot of waste involved from year to year.

  13. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @timmus: Srsly. I want to know what the banned crap is! Pop rocks? Beef jerky? Inquiring minds want to know.

  14. backbroken says:

    1982 Back to school list:

    Book Bag, Blue
    Lunch Box, Garfield
    Trapper Keeper 3 Ring Binder
    #2 pencils (Qty = 2)

    2008 Back to school list:

    iPod, 60GB.
    Macbook Air
    Motorola Razr Cell Phone
    Backpack, Waterproof Neoprene

    The times, they are a changin’.

  15. muckpond says:

    hey, i’m in my 30s and i still love shopping for school supplies. sue me.

  16. milk says:

    Is it wrong that I always geeked out when it was time for school supply shopping? I kept up with the day the elementary school lists were released, and bam I was at K-Mart with Mom or Nana. The enormous display of all the schools’ lists, virgin notebooks, unsharpened pencils… Heaven.

  17. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @backbroken: Yeah, that list is for kindergartners — what about the rest of the grades?

  18. MrEvil says:

    School supply lists are getting more and more outrageous and the teachers are getting ever more and more anal about what supplies the students have. I understand college instructors being nitpicky about what a student brings, after all most all college students are adults. But to require a composition notebook for PRE K? WTF? My Sophomore English teacher in high school accepted journal entries on sheets of notebook paper provided you had it folded into /stapled into your spiral journal at the end of the six weeks.

    I have a feeling that the ream of copy paper for PreK kids is actually so the teacher doesn’t have to buy any since the school district overspent on football uniforms and banquets at the district head office to buy freaking paper for the classroom printer. You’d be surprised what teachers are making students buy for the teacher to use in the classroom in some places.

  19. SadSam says:

    I have a question about school supplies, teacher buying supplies, etc. When I was a kid, my parents bought me school supplies for me to use. The school (I assume it was the school) provided things like paper, glue, art supplies, etc. Now it seems, based on my conversations with folks who have kids, that parents buy school supplies for the kid and also provide supplies for the class room or the school.

    When did the schools stop providing paper?
    And a follow up question, where the hell does my school tax payer money go?

  20. jamesmusik says:

    Target asks local schools for lists, but they aren’t given them and/or run out, so print up generic ones. I’ve seen clearly fake lists at OfficeMax and Office Depot as well. The unfortunate thing is, around here (San Jose), with the number of people in poverty, school districts basically don’t have school supply lists, because they can’t require families to pay for it, so people are getting duped into buying crap they don’t need to.

  21. categorically says:

    These back to school lists have been pushed by stores for years. When my Mom died I was looking through her files and I found one from Bradlees (how retro is that?) from 1972. Not sure if it was approved by the local school district or not, but I’m not sure why the fuss here?

    Walmart is evil for so many reasons beyond trying to move school supplies that aren’t selling.

  22. CJG says:

    “Is this one rogue Walmart or some kind of systematic evil?”

    That’s a rhetorical question, right?

  23. Werrick says:

    Retail seems to have caught on to the idea that if they market it right they can get an almost “Christmas” kind of frenzy going.

    My girlfriend works at a major electronics retail chain and she manages the computer department (among others) and for her “Back to School” is her Christmas.

    This is very deliberate and has been going on for a long time.

  24. Hedgy2136 says:

    My daughters school mailed a supply list to us. Wal Mart had the same list. Perhaps, Wal Mart decided to suppply lists when the school(s) did not.

  25. tedyc03 says:

    @Imaginary_Friend: probably things like crayons or other items that might prompt classroom conflict and is going to be supplied by the school anyway.

  26. waffles says:

    @B1663R: How is that misleading? It says that it’s suggested, which to me means that it’s a made up list that isn’t approved of in any way by the school. And the ones I’ve seen have no school name anywhere on them, which should make it even more clear that it’s a Staples made up list.

    I have to say though, the college list is kind of funny. Laptop? Nice to have, but not needed. USB drive? Isn’t that what email is for? Pencil pouch? I saw very few people using those in high school. Even less in college.

  27. Justafan says:

    My youngest daughter came back from her first day of middle school (in East KY) with the rumor that we had to go to Wal-mart because that was where the school supply lists were posted. I knew I smelled a rat. The teachers around these parts usually hand out their own supply lists directly to the students. Although is was strange that they didn’t do it on the first day.

  28. cinlouwho says:

    The Walmart near me has a photocopy of our school list. It is real because I downloaded mine from our school website and it is indeed the same. Some teachers do make up their own and bring them in to Walmart and Staples themselves. Someone mentioned to me that some schools will order all your kids school supplies for one fee, saving you time at the store! Sounds good to me!

  29. The_IT_Crone says:

    @SadSam: “When did the schools stop providing paper?
    And a follow up question, where the hell does my school tax payer money go?”

    1) No Child Left Behind. It’s Federally required, but not Federally FUNDED.

    2) Special Education. Obscenely expensive for kids that often need little more than babysitting, not “teaching.” I’m not talking about the ones that are teachable, they are expensive but it’s worth it.

  30. Norcross says:

    well, at least in Florida (which is backwards as hell), there is barely enough money for schools to pay the teachers, much less get supplies.

    Where does the tax money go? Not to the schools, that’s for sure.

  31. BytheSea says:

    @The_IT_Crone: Ummyeah, no way in hell does pre-k need lined paper or pencils, nor would a teacher allow them play-doh. A kid uses maybe 2 glue sticks a year, probably 1, and 1 box of crayons would last them most of elementary school.

    The list also leaves off a lot of things, like the box of tissues and reusable lunchbag.

  32. Xay says:

    @MrEvil: Many school districts just do not budget for school supplies any more. the budget was never that big anyway and elementary school teachers in particular have always spent out of pocket to set up their classrooms – that’s why they even have a tax credit for it.

    But these days, with large class sizes, dwindling budgets and a soft economy, teachers can’t even afford to do what they once did.

    My son is in private school, so I’m not surprised by his school supply list. I’d rather see my tuition money go towards maintaining facilities and teacher salaries – $20 on back to school supplies isn’t a big deal to me.

  33. dveight says:

    Seriously folks, I think that it is parents that are over doing this. Yeah, what Walmart is doing is fishy, but common on now. 1st day of school, send you kid there with a pencil, pen, 3 ring binder, lunch and a backpack. Have him ask the teacher what will be needed then go shopping for it; or get the stuff on the fly, but don’t depend on stores to give you a list supplies. It like depending on TV to babysit your kids.

  34. cf27 says:

    @thalensmom: It’s not just evil, it’s illegal. If they printed out the lists intending for people to believe that they were the official lists, then they’ve committed fraud.

    But, I don’t buy it — it’s an awfully big risk that involves some work (finding out the teacher names at local schools, faking a fax header, etc) and I just don’t see the manager of a neighborhood Walmart going through the effort. It would be much easier just to get the official lists.

    It’s more likely that they reused an old list or got the lists mixed up — Mr. Smith, the shop teacher who demands that you come to school with a set of chisels is different than Mr. Smith, the Kindergarten teacher, who wants you to come to school with a set of chisel-point markers.

    Around us, the schools and the stores don’t communicate at all — the schools have very precise lists “2 8-oz bottles Elmer’s White Glue,” “24-pack crayola crayons, primary colors,” etc… and the stores never have exactly what you need.

    @MrEvil: Schools have been pushing off a lot of the supply needs on the parents. This year, for example, every kid in my daughter’s class turned in 2 packages of Clorox Wipes.

  35. mike says:

    @B1663R: If it said “suggested”, I don’t see a problem with it. What Walmart is doing is a bit shady. Be honest about it by saying, “Although your school hasn’t put out a list, here are a few things that you’ll probably need.”

    I know its helpful for me to go shopping with a list because I’ll always forget something. And besides, I’d rather have too much stuff on the list and then mark out what I don’t need vs. having a barebones list then end up running back to the store for something else.

  36. wcnghj says:

    Wallly World does the same thing around here, I thought the fax line at the top was fake…

  37. bohemian says:

    This year the district sent out handbooks early that had all of the grade supply lists on it. Since this years list was a tiny fraction of previous years lists that I grabbed at the store I have to wonder if padded school lists are a common thing.

    At least this year nobody asked for a green ball point pen. It seemed like every year those were demanded and nobody carries them. Supposedly one small local drug store chain carries them. I am not making a 20 mile drive to a store I never shop at for one freaking green pen.

    Last year the teachers confiscated all the students dry erase board erasers at the end of the year. Some vague statement to the students about using them for next year. Never mind the only way to obtain a new eraser is to buy an $8 pack of eraser and multiple pens. On this years list, guess what… dry board erasers. The kid is getting sent an old rolled up sock.

  38. mdoublej says:

    At least in New York State, I thought the Lottery was supposed to take care of all of our educational expenses!

  39. mike says:

    @cf27: I’m not sure I’d go as far to say that it’s illegal. Stupid, maybe. It would be one thing for Walmart to fake school stationary and write a letter on that stationary saying that buying Crayola crayons are better because of the wax-to-colar ratio. But faking a fax header…eh. For all we know it was faxed by someone. Not necessarily the school, but it could still be faxed.

    Without a picture of the list, it’s hard to say.

  40. Bye says:

    @SadSam: Where have you been? My sister-in-law, who is a teacher in the midwest, has had to buy her classroom school supplies for at least the past 7 years.

    Not all teachers have the means (or caring relatives) to buy the school supplies that their districts won’t provide so sometimes that means the cost is passed onto the parents.

  41. bohemian says:

    @Norcross: Our money doesn’t go to the teachers or for supplies and books. Most of it goes to the football team. The school spends obscene amounts of money on this and then we can’t afford critical textbooks for required classes and the sad excuse for a school lunch is double what other districts charge. Rumor is the extra lunch fee is to help pay for the football team.

    I am to the point that they need to shut down team sports in the public schools. Let the parents run them on their own time and money like the soccer and swim leagues do. Put that money back into the classroom.

  42. hellinmyeyes says:

    No pics or copies of the list on the site. If she were truly so concerned or outraged, she could take the fifteen seconds to illustrate it. I don’t doubt the possibility, but I highly doubt the credibility of the poster.

  43. dragon:ONE says:

    @dveight: And then the night after the first day you find everything to be sold out at your local stores.

    It’s happened to us before. It sucks.

  44. Jesse says:


    Yeah, I noticed the lack of details to be a valid issue. What exactly was banned?

  45. rpm773 says:

    @dveight: This

    Just figure that the extra $5 or $6 spent is the cost of not doing your homework and calling the school directly to get the list.

  46. tc4b says:

    I teach in a school district with a tremendous tax base, so my list for parents (for third grade) is very reasonable (5 each folders and notebooks, don’t care what kind, pencils, erasers) and that’s it. I am able to order and supply all other needs out of my considerable classroom budget.

    Needless to say, districts vary WIDELY.

    If you don’t like the list your kid’s teacher sent out, first, have an amicable conversation with the teacher, then complain to the school board, the meetings are public. Be polite and intelligent, but make your voice heard. Make an appointment with the superintendent. Write her/him a letter, and get your friends to do the same. This is what I always wish parents would do when they have a complaint. At least in my district, parent voices count WAY more than those of teachers.

  47. PinkBox says:

    If you click the link, one of the comments lists some items from the pre-k list that they found at their local Walmart.

    It includes: 1 package large safety pins

    Safety pins? Really?!

  48. run_sunshine says:

    @The_IT_Crone: During my year of student teaching in a major urban district, the school ran out of paper for 3 MONTHS. No paper, no joke. My lead teacher refused to buy her own paper so she didn’t hand anything out for 3 months. This was the best academic magnet school in the city, and it couldn’t provide paper.

  49. xwildebeestx says:

    Come on, the OP couldn’t have possibly thought a 12 gauge shotgun, a bible, 5 different NASCAR t-shirts and the George W. Bush autobiography were required for kindergarten students.

  50. PinkBox says:

    @SadSam: I think it depends on the school. A friend of mine is a teacher, and she was given a (small) budget to buy some items for her class, such as crayons, glue sticks, etc. She said a lot of those items were extremely cheap.

  51. zeitguess says:

    Yeah, I’m long in the tooth, but back in the ‘olden’ days of the 70’s and 80’s when I was in school, we needed paper and pencils. I don’t understand why kids are now expected to bring Office Depot and Michael’s along with their PB&J. I grew up dirt poor. There would be no way we could have afforded all the bells and whistles that are expected these days.

  52. mentlyentl says:

    When I was an elementary teacher, we asked parents to supply things like a box of tissues and ziploc baggies. These are things that the school didn’t provide or ran out of. Not all families could (or chose to) but we used them as classroom supplies. And we were limited as to the number of copies we could make per semester. But I think the lists were actually from the county. I know I never made one on my own. I did spend a TON of my pitiful salary on supplies for my classroom, including copy paper.

  53. The_IT_Crone says:

    @run_sunshine: Yeah in my years I’ve seen a lot like that. Usually for us it was TONER for the printers, because the administration used the copy machines and never wanted to run out for themselves. So we would always have paper. But printers? Bah, there was NEVER a budget. I always had to scramble to get donations for toner for the entire school. Meanwhile the Spec Ed dept had like 6 mil budgeted for 10 kids. Not to mention the administration had air conditioning, while the rest of the school did not. The district headquarters had things like laser printers on EVERY person’s desk. Stuff like that. Tax money is awfully top-heavy in the schools.

    As far as the possible banned items go, there are a lot of choices. For instance, a lot of districts require that all backpacks be CLEAR so that they can’t hide weapons.

  54. Quilt says:

    You know what a kid needs for the first day of school? A pencil, a piece of paper and a lunch. They write down what their school supplies are on the paper with the pencil, and eat their lunch at lunch time. There you go. All problems solved. Maybe give the kid an extra apple to give to the teacher for cute sake.

    If they’re too young to know how to write, then guess what? The teacher’s probably going to GIVE THE KID A LIST.

  55. @PinkBox: Maybe for pinning notes to the parents to the students’ shirts so they don’t lose them?

    Do teachers still do that?

  56. Darkwing_Duck says:

    I agree. I see absolutely nothing wrong with passing out a list of “suggested school supplies” (just make sure it’s nothing banned), but this is fraud. And as a consumer, I would be offended at such a brazen attempt.

  57. sonneillon says:

    I don’t think the wife is going buy that 40in LCD screen as part of Walmarts list.

  58. Cyclokitty says:

    In the 70s and 80s we received our pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks from the school.
    The only think I ever had to buy in grade school was a protractor set in junior high for maths class. For high school I bought a couple of binders, a ream of notepaper, a ream of typing paper, pencils for maths, and pens. Ten – fifteen bucks did it. I think I used the same backpack from junior high to high school.

    6 glue sticks? Are the pre-ks eating them during story time?

  59. bagumpity says:

    That really stinks! I saw the big cardboard display in the Walmart last night with “find your school’s supply list” (or words to that effect) on it and thought “gee, what a nice thing for them to do.” I had no idea that it was a marketing ploy. No different than slimy direct-mail envelopes marked “official government information! open immediately!”

  60. Aesteval says:

    Walmart in Fishkill NY had a display with these lists. I had just
    assumed that the teachers and Walmart worked together to get this
    distributed (would be one hell of a marketing ploy for Walmart to have
    actual school supply lists available in store for students.) But if the
    lists are indeed not accurate, I hope that someone takes it upon
    themself to sue Walmart over false advertisement or some other similar
    deceptive practices issue.

  61. pax says:

    I work at a school in NYC and I can tell you a couple of things about my school situation:

    1.) Teachers’ individual supply reimbursements went down to $150 this year. That includes EVERYTHING–from scissors and markers to books to computer supplies. Good luck buying everything your classroom needs for $150 even if you shop the sales and buy used.

    2.) There are always a few kids whose parents are too poor and/or checked out to get the right supplies, some more than others depending on your school. Guess what? If you want that kid to have a binder, some paper, and some pencils, you, the teacher, are going to have to supply them.

    3.) Some curricula/overbearing principals demand certain supplies. If they want your Pre-K kid to have a composition book, I’m not shocked–sounds like Teachers’ College Reading/Writing Workshop to me.

    4.) Finally, you have some parents (some justifiably, some not so much) concerned about backpack weight. For these parents, you, as the teacher, need to design a system by which kids are not carrying home a library every night. A binder system works for me because the kids can leave the binders in school and just take home that night’s worksheet and notes, but then I have to send home a detailed supply list REQUIRING a three-inch binder. And if I didn’t? I’d have parents bitching and moaning about backpack weight.

  62. Darkwing_Duck says:

    @bohemian: Agreed. It is obscene to go to a school where they spend a couple million dollars building a baseball stadium and remodeling the football field when the library could use expansion, the computer labs newer computers, or even more teachers to reduce the class sizes about 10-20%.

  63. jimv2000 says:

    School supplies lists are scams anyway. All your kid needs is:

    * Pencil
    * Paper

  64. BytheSea says:

    @The_IT_Crone: For instance, a lot of districts require that all backpacks be CLEAR so that they can’t hide weapons.

    Do they still do that? That started when I was in school, 15 years ago, and parents immediately hated it because the bags weren’t big enough and they fell apart in about a month. In the 90s, we carried out 30 lbs of books + misc in giant camping LL Bean bags; I dunno how those clear bags would do the job. (Plus, privacy issue – tampons you can put in a glasses case, but what about the kid with an embarrassing medical condition?)

  65. dragonfire81 says:

    You know I did 12 years of elementary/high school and four years of college…and I NEVER used a teachers supply list at all.

    For the most part I’d buy some essentials for the first day which usually consisted of:

    – Ruler
    – Something to write with (Pen, Pencil, Crayon, etc. depending on grade level)
    – Something to write on (note pad, lined paper, construction paper)
    – Binders, duotangs
    – An eraser
    – A calculator (for grade 4 and up)
    – Backpack (if necessary, didn’t need one every year, I made mine last)

    Anything beyond that the teachers would tell us about at school but I never did bother with the lists, official or not and I never had a problem with not having the right supplies.

    Should a reasonably intelligent person really even require one of these lists? I’d think most parents have a decent idea of what basic school supplies their kids should need.

  66. Quilt says:

    This is why I love college. Sure, I pay for the classes. I pay for the teacher to be there. I pretty much pay for their supplies, but I know what I’m getting for it (a badly organized program).

    When the time comes to buy supplies? I get a single 200 page notebook, a pen, and a pencil. That usually tides me over for an entire semester. My memory takes care of the rest. I don’t even carry any text books to classes unless I will actually be using it IN CLASS.

  67. Raanne says:

    @Quilt: ha – when i was in college i would have a separate 3 ring binder for each class so i could keep my notes separate, a divider so i could put my homework in the back, and i always carried all my books with me (for classes i was going to that day) – no wonder i gained weight when i left college – i wasn’t carrying around 30 lbs anymore…

  68. tc4b says:


    Sorry, folders and notebooks may also be necessary.

  69. waffles says:

    @BytheSea: I know or a fact that they do in some districts/schools that are deemed more dangerous. There’s a choice between clear plastic and a mesh one. Neither of which would suit me.

    @Quilt: I’m a dork, I bring books. And I at least get a separate notebook for MW(F) classes and TR classes. But yeah, the minimalism is great.

  70. Quilt says:


    HA! Yeah, I used to do that, but I found I never used my text books. I also found that my 3 ring binder kept losing paper. My bag was a pain in the ass too. I just dropped everything that I never seemed to need. I prefer to travel as light as possible.

    I could probably go through a week of college with a pen and a single sheet of paper. I might not even need the paper, because I could write all my notes on handouts.

    Shit…I might just try that this year.

  71. dopplerd says:

    I never remember going school supply shopping. Maybe a note book and a pencil.

    Why don’t prison wardens start posting “Report to prison supply lists” for the new inmates? Maybe that would help lower some tax burden.

  72. crazydavythe1st says:

    @The_IT_Crone: That particular Walmart REALLY is pure, systematic evil. It’s had other Consumerist appearances.

    Seriously though, why not just paper and pencil? In most cases, you’re not going to need your scissor skills to survive in college. Or the real world.

  73. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    My brother’s kids have a back to school list, and the older one’s is:

    4 folders (english, arithmetic, history, computer classes)
    1 box of coloring pencils
    1 pack of #2 pencils OR mechanical pencils w/ extra graphites

    1 calculator
    1 pack (50 sheet?) lined paper
    1 pack (50 sheet?) unlined paper

    That’s it.

  74. Nick1693 says:

    @backbroken: That, or WalMarts “a changin'” the list.

  75. BeeBoo says:

    I read the original blog Consumerist is referring to. It doesn’t seem particularly reliable. She says some of the items are banned but doesn’t say what they are. The details are vague. Consumerist could do better than to take such a fishy story without checking it out or asking for clarification of details.

  76. Robobot says:

    @jimv2000: When I was in school some teachers would send students to detention or otherwise discipline them for not bringing in all their “required” school supplies. Even more teachers graded kids on bringing in all their supplies. Usually it would count as a homework grade or a quiz grade.

    Scam or not, teachers pretty much punish kids for not having supplies.

  77. samurailynn says:

    I was in Target last night and noticed a lady buying a huge stack of clothes for her little girl. Then I realized they were probably back to school shopping. I remember doing this with my mom too, but now I’m wondering why it’s necessary to buy an entire year’s worth of clothes for your kid all at one time? Wouldn’t it be easier to buy a new outfit or two, once every couple of months?

  78. Etoiles says:

    @paxetaurora: I wish they’d given a damn about backpack weight in the early-to-mid 90s, heh. I complained to my parents sophomore year after walking home (~1-2 miles — not long, but not short) with a backpack that later proved to weigh 43 pounds. And they wondered why I wanted a ride on the days I needed to bring the French horn, too?!

    In general, though, you’re right. Most teachers are pretty much totally in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation with regards to what they ask the kids / families to provide. The only teacher I ever knew who didn’t get into that bind was married to a very wealthy plastic surgeon and so had the money to buy all the kids’ stuff herself.

  79. North of 49 says:

    In grad 6/7 I had a teacher who was anal about what the school supply lists were. You HAD to have his favorite coil bound notebooks in 3-5 subjects etc etc and not indivisual books for individual subjects. I got mine sent home with me and told to get the right things. (I hated that teacher, but for other reasons – the school too)

    In Highschool, it was 8 binders, 1 inch or bigger, for the 8 subjects, etc etc etc. I bought 1. I stopped using my locker because of the vandalism (and other reasons) in the school and was carrying everything in my backpack instead, so room was at a premium. Guess what? I didn’t need the 8 different binders!

    Last year, I didn’t get my son’s school supply list till the last minute even though I had been bugging the schools and more and had registered him in January! *grrrsnarl*

    This year, we moved, and I have a choice of 2 schools to register him at – the one I went to (paragraph 1) or a different one. The second one has a school list out and the supply list for the two different first grades, as well as the rest of the school’s grades, are on the one sheet. Its a little ridiculous, but here I know where that tax money goes.

    Administration staff – the secretaries, vps, principals, and on up. The janitors, etc etc etc.

    At least now, the ministry of education has been told that they can no longer charge parents for summer school fees! but that means less money during the rest of the year.

  80. samurailynn says:

    @Quietly: That’s probably because when Jimmy shows up without anything from the list it’s really annoying for the teacher and makes it harder on the entire class. But then Johnny has everything on the list except the colored pencils, not quite as annoying or inhibiting to the learning environment since colored pencils are only needed once a year. If the teacher punishes Jimmy, but not Johnny, the teacher will get in trouble for not treating the kids equally. Therefor, if you don’t have everything on the list, you get punished.

  81. JaguarChick says:

    My local Walmart did this last year. I showed up to Meet the Teacher night with a bunch of supplies my son didn’t need and only some that he did. Almost half the parents in my son’s class did this, because the lists were in a rack in the front of the store and had “Henderson Elementary 2007-2008 School Supply List” as the header of the list. There were racks for all the different elementary schools in our town, so it did look official. I’ll have to stop by and see if they are doing it this year, since so many people are doubting the original story.

    This year, I printed the list from the district webpage and went to walgreens and cvs when they had their 1 cent sales. Significantly less stress than dealing with walmart and walgreens actually HAD the specified supplies.

  82. North of 49 says:

    @EtoilePB: I remember bringing 50lbs book bag home when I was in grade 4/5 and pretty much from then on. No wonder my back is fubared.

  83. azzy says:

    @xay: $20 on back to school supplies isn’t a big deal to me.

    If only $20! I have a 1st grader and a 3rd grader, and the supply list is insane. Baby-Wipes, Purell, Lysol, just the chemicals alone cost over $50.

    I’m perfectly fine buying supplies, but shouldn’t cleaning supplies be provided by the school?

    Oh, and then there are those teacher requests which don’t even exist anymore due to the school supply shrink ray or other reasons.

  84. pax says:

    @Quietly: And we should reward children for being unprepared? Outside of the situation where the kid’s family is desperately poor and/or checked out (and you can talk to the guidance office, generally, and find out who these kids are), then, yes, I have no problem punishing kids for coming unprepared. Would I be punished if I came to school without a lesson plan or the necessary supplies to pull it off? Hell yes! Pull that shit two or three times and a teacher can lose his/her job. That’s the real world, kids. If your parents can find you that one particular Hannah Montana t-shirt or pair of Air Force Ones that you simply MUST have, finding a 3-inch binder at Staples the week before school starts isn’t going to kill anyone in terms of money or stress.

  85. Xay says:

    @azzy: Thankfully, his list doesn’t include chemicals – our school district banned hand sanitizer last year and his school followed along. The only atypical school supply items were paper towels and tissues.

  86. cf27 says:

    @paxetaurora: Recognize what you’re talking about here — the school sends home a list of “required” supplies that goes well beyond the student’s personal supplies. Telling the student “you need a notebook” is one thing; telling him “you need to bring in a bunch of clorox wipes, paper towels and trash bags” and then punishing him when he doesn’t is extortion.

    Plus, many of the decisions about what to buy/not buy are made by parents — are you really going to punish a 1st grader because his mom said “there’s no way I’m buying trash bags for the school”?

  87. coan_net says:

    I picked up a list from Wal-Mart and just sent the items today for my son’s first day….. and this article made me go double-check the supply list that is also on the schools website.

    Everything the same. I would guess if Wal-Mart can’t get a supply list from the school, it just makes one up with a best-guess list – but I would be pissed at Wal-Mart if they did this – I would consider getting the local newspapers involved so others will know not to shop there for school supplies in the future. (but my Wal-Mart is good, so i don’t have to worry about that.)

  88. dveight says:

    @Dakota Courtois: Alright, I’m assuming that this is for elementary school, so really, do they have to have it the next day, or even that week. Last I recalled its not like those grades are even going to really count in the long run.

    @rpm773: Not really sure how this relates to what I said. Sure, call the school and get their list or spend the extra money.

    From my experience, schools will always will try to tell you to get more then you actually need because you “might” need it later. Stores will tell you to get more then you need because they make money off of it.

    I think we all need to calm down, this is pretty much for elementary school. Anything 7th and up, then follow Inglix_the_Mad’s list.

  89. Gopher bond says:

    When I was a kid you were issued a number #2 pencil and a flappy paperback notebook. I always tried to make those two things last the entire year by writing small and faint. Eventually, the teach would get so sick of me using my inch-long #2 pencil sans eraser and throw it away and issue me a new one. They’d also yell at me for writing so small. I guess efficiency was never praised.

  90. Shadowman615 says:

    I really would like to see an actual photo or something to see what she means by “official looking.”

    I’m guessing, per the kindergarten example posted above, the scissors and safety pins were the banned items?

  91. CorrieCJ says:

    For those people who doubt… here are my kids’ lists. They attend public school in NYC. These are given out on the last day of school, along with report cards. On the first day of the new term, kids and parents have to shlep giant shopping bags of stuff. I’m waiting for them to ask for toilet paper, since I already provide paper towels, baby wipes, tissues and soap.

    My daughter was in public pre-K last year and she most definitely used notebooks – by the end of the year she had learned all her lettters and was starting to read.

    3 notebooks, 2 packs of 24 Crayola crayons, 2 large Elmer’s glues, scissor, 4 pks of pencils, 1 4-pk of playdoh, 16 2-pocket folders, 2 boxes tissues, 2 boxes baby wipes, 1 bottle liquid soap, 1 roll of paper towels, 1 box gallon-sized ziploc bags, 1 pk straws

    4th GRADE:
    9 marble notebooks, 2 spiral notebooks, 14 2-pocket folders, 2 pks looseleaf paper, 1 pad graph paper, ruler, scissors, 1 box Crayola crayons, 1 box Crayola markers, 1 pk computer paper, 1 pk dry erase markers, 1 Elmer’s glue, 2 boxes tissues, 2 rolls paper towels, pencil case, pencil sharpener, 2 erasers, 3 pens, 3 packs post-its, 2 boxes ziploc bags, 2 pks index cards, 2 containers baby wipes, 1 bottle soap, 2 bottles hand sanitzer

    I’m laughing because with all this other excess, they think he will get through a whole year with just 3 pens??? I could lose 3 pens in one day!

  92. Quilt says:

    @cf27: ” Plus, many of the decisions about what to buy/not buy are made by parents — are you really going to punish a 1st grader because his mom said “there’s no way I’m buying trash bags for the school”? “

    I was just thinking the same thing. It’s not like the kid is going to Staples on their bike with a credit card. The parents are buying the supplies. Though if a parent chooses not to buy everything on the list, they should be ready to defend that position witht he teacher. Send a note with the kid for the teacher saying why you chose not to buy kleenex for the class. Leave a phone number for the teacher to contact you if it’s a big deal, and ask little Billy about it when he gets home. If he got in trouble for it? Call the teacher up and work it out.

  93. Ninjanice says:

    I don’t even remember having to bring anything to school the first day until middle school. We were all issued essentials- a couple of #2 pencils, a pen, an eraser and a small box of crayons (after 4th grade you got colored pencils). Some teachers would ask all the students to bring in a box of Kleenex if their family could afford it because the school didn’t provide any. Usually we knew who the poorer kids were and someone would bring in an extra box for them to donate so they didn’t feel bad.
    In middle school, we had to buy folders for each class, notebooks, pens, pencils, colored pencils and a binder to keep everything in. Beyond that, everything was provided for us.
    My mom was smart with shopping for school clothes though. She’d send me and my sister to go shopping with my dad. I can still see him gritting his teeth saying “just grab 3 pairs of jeans and a few shirts and let’s get the hell out of here!”

  94. jimv2000 says:


    Notebook would fall under the paper category.

  95. BytheSea says:

    @waffles: I know or a fact that they do in some districts/schools that are deemed more dangerous.

    I’m guessing these aren’t the districts that have enough money for a set of books in school, and a set of books for home, so the kids don’t have to carry a bag- and back-destroying load with them everywhere.

    I didn’t use 3-rings after high school, they’re too unweldy for most purposes. I got the expensive spiral notebooks with the pockets and dividers – one for Tuesday/Thursday and one for MWF. I only carried books if I needed to do homework during the day (ie, before class) or if the teacher said we had to. My college textbooks stacked into a three foot pyramid, no way was I carrying them around.

  96. jimv2000 says:


    Reading that list makes me wonder what the heck NY City schools spend all their money on. Apparently not supplies for the kids, or even for the school…I mean, paper towels, baby wipes, and soap?

  97. Darkwing_Duck says:

    @Inglix_the_Mad: That’s a good list. I’m in college, and what I use is

    a folder for handouts
    those Mead flex notebooks ($6 apiece but I reuse them, so worth it)
    1 or 2 good rollerball pens
    A couple regular pencils (need sharpening, but I hate mechanical)
    A shitload of paper (I write a lot, doodle, outline)
    Moleskine notebooks (probably the only relatively expensive item on my list, but I am a compulsive listmaker, and I also like to plan and write things out)

    And other than the paper, I have the rest of the stuff. There’s no back to school shopping for me, I reuse my stuff, and replace items as needed. Although being the nerd I am I have to stay away from Office Max in the early fall.

  98. Darkwing_Duck says:

    @Quietly: I had teachers who were the same way. I always hated it when teachers punished you with your grade for not having all the right supplies. The only real world application is preparing you for an anal retentive boss I guess. It’s the same beef I have with giving really easy tests-it tends to punish silly mistakes instead of really weeding out who know what and how well.

  99. ORPat says:

    Around here we have very specific lists Brand X pencils, Brand Y Scissors, 3 blue brand Q folders plus all the other”classroom” supplies. Our school district has in big letters: No non standard supplies, ie no blue Hannah Montana Folders, and do not label items with child’s name. Why? because they all go into a big pot for everyone to use. If you buy 3 blue folders, the other 2 are for those who didn’t bring one. OK, I can live with that, some just don’t have the financial resources.

    Now it’s the end of the school year. They keep everything. I figured this out with scissors If You have a school of 300 students. Over 5 years you lose half of the scissors, breakage, etc.,that still leaves you with 750 pairs of scissors floating around somewhere. Now you would think that some of last years supplies like scissors would be reused the next year. Nope. Can’t give a child used school supplies. But since they don’t know who brought what, they can’t give them back either.. Floppy disks, Cd’s..all stay with the school. How many thousands of unopened glue sticks are floating around out there??

  100. ekthesy says:

    The most important school supply is a bottle of vodka for Teacher.

  101. Darkwing_Duck says:

    @Darkwing_Duck: When it comes to school supplies, I slowly adopted the less is more approach. If only I had done the same in my dormitory. Boxes of junk in storage, overweight bags. Two weeks worth of clothes, a stereo, toiletries, small bookshelf, under the bed storage, and a few books/DVDs. I can’t concentrate in a pigsty, and when I have a bunch of crap in a confined space, it inevitably becomes a pigsty. I’m shamefully lazy about keeping physically organized, but with little or nothing, I figure I’ll be ok.

  102. JustaConsumer says:

    Can anyone remind me why Wal*Mart wasn’t the worst company in America? Watch “The High Cost of Low Prices”.

  103. mythago says:

    @B1663R: Not the same thing. A list of what the store suggests your kids might need is very different than a list pretending to be “here is what your kids’ teacher has decided the kid needs to bring to class”. The former is marketing, the latter is fraud.

    @backbroken: dude, where do your kids go to school, Dubai?

  104. digitalgimpus says:

    If they were to fake the letterhead, or make it too official that can be criminal if it’s a public school… faking state documents (yes public schools count) is typically criminal.

    I recall the threats when we figured out you can print your own report card since the vendor my school used for grades… had a 30 day demo online ;-) .

  105. @jimv2000: This is actually not true. NCLB requires a lot of color-specific skills in K-3rd grade. Crayons are necessary. In 4-5, they need red pens and green pens (sometimes) for proofreading. If the school cannot afford to provide them, the parents NEED to, because the kids need these skills to advance.

    On a different note, yay for teaching high school, where all you need is paper, pencil, and graphing calculator.

  106. soloudinhere says:

    Why do kids in high school need a graphing calculator? I didn’t need a graphing calculator until trigonometry, and a lot of high school students never even get that far.

    Hell, in Calculus, they don’t LET you use graphing calculators.

    I’m in college and while I have individual notebooks for each class, I just carry one folder for handouts. I throw them all into a binder at home when I get back from class. I never bring textbooks, not worth it, and I only know one or two people who do.

    when I was in middle school, I went to a private school who had the most ridiculous school supply lists I’ve ever seen. We had to have 5 1-inch binders in specific colors, each with 8 dividers and containing 100 sheets of lined paper. Pens had to be black or blue, no ridiculous colors were allowed, each binder had to have a color coordinating pencil case with at least a pen, a pencil, and an eraser in it.

    We had to turn our binders in two or three times a semester and got graded on following the organizational rules.

    I’m not kidding, it was TRULY ridiculous. I learned nothing from it except it requires a really big backpack to tote home 5 1-inch binders every day. Now I just use notebooks and since I have an office on campus, sometimes the notebooks stay on campus when I don’t need to do work.

    I’m pretty sure the only way my college professors would care what I brought to class is if I came to class toting three newly adopted children on which I planned to take my class notes. Otherwise, as long as you’re there and not an idiot, they don’t care if you even take notes.

  107. Darkwing_Duck says:

    @soloudinhere: Agreed. I use binders like a lawyer or accountant-for record keeping, not to drag around all day. Paper information or stuff that is immediately pertinent I keep in my handout folder. Saves me at least 10 pounds worth of binders.

  108. Darkwing_Duck says:

    @soloudinhere: I had a middle school that was similar. We absolutely *had* to use Uni-Ball pens. We needed one trapper keeper, a composition notebook, a journal, 6 dividers, a pencil bag, white out, scissors, glue stick, red flair pen, ticonderoga pencils, kleenex, and notebook paper for the classroom. Whatever happened to merit based grading? Half of my grade is notebook checks/attendance/participation?

  109. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Well, Hell, that answers the questions I had about the grade one list for my daughter?

    T-shirts with Nazi death skull and at least one with degrading slang,
    panties with sexually suggestive messages,
    a toy soldier set (must be lead paint),
    Japanese cartoon porn,
    tainted pet food (preferably with melamine),
    flip flops (permanent scaring foot burning kind),
    a Zune (with gay porn preferred),…

    OK, this is no longer fun, it is just sad.

  110. jswilson64 says:

    @SadSam: If you live in a “property rich” district in Texas, chances are your school tax money goes to some other “property poor” district.

  111. Boulderite says:

    At my local King Soopers grocery store (Kroger Company) they sell packs of school supplies for each school. I think they are a good idea for parents who do not have the time to shop around for school supplies. However they are a lot more expensive than buying the supplies seprately when they go on sale.

    In my area shopping the back to school sales are pretty easy. Target, Staples, Office Depot and Office Max are within less than a square mile of each other. I know most communities are not like that so with gas prices it may be better to buy all of your supplies at one store.

    Also a great way to save money is to buy the bulk of your supplies when they go on clearence at Target. A teacher friend of mine tells his parents what the kids need now and what they can bring in later. That way they can space out their purchases so it isn’t as large of a financial strain on them and/or purchase supplies when they go on clearence. Ask your childs teacher if you can send in supplies a few at a time. Most often if you talk to your teacher beforehand, they are willing to work with you.

  112. valtr0n says:

    The lists at the Wal-Mart here (Kentucky) are real lists. My wife is involved in the school system, and Wal-Mart makes a point to put up the individual classroom lists.

    I’m not saying every Wal-Mart is legit, but I know the one here is.

  113. OldJohnRobinson says:

    I used to manage for Office Ghetto, er, Depot. Each store had to go out and solicit these lists from the schools directly. We ran copies of them for free (in an effort to save the district some paper ostensibly) and included a coupon for X dollars off. Sure it was to draw in business during our peak annual sales time, but we never made anything up. If used properly this could be convenient. If this Wal Mart has an overzealous assistant manager with ethical lapses, this doesn’t mean that every list in every store in every city is faked.

  114. suzy-q says:

    In my neck of the woods, unless things have very recently changed, there were supplies listed for each grade for each school, but usually nothing outlandish. The same exact list that was available at registration when the kids found out who’s class they were in was the list *in the exact same form with no alterations* that was available that all the area stores. Sounds to me like this is just a local issue…

  115. mythago says:

    @MrEvil: it’s absolutely true that the teachers get screwed on supplies – when they put something on a “must have” list you can read that as “if you don’t bring this for your kid, and he needs it, the teacher will have to pay for it out of pocket.”

  116. RStewie says:

    Our WalMarts have them, but they’re for real here, and the schools tell you you can get them there. They’re also at Target, Office Depot, etc.

  117. MrEvil says:

    @mythago: I hope people aren’t taking my statement the wrong way. I don’t begrudge the teachers at all for requesting certain classroom supplies be furnished by parents.

    However, I do think that school districts need to re-think their priorities when it comes to spending money.

    Now one smart thing the local district here did (and it may not sound smart right away) they installed artificial turf practice fields at all four of the city high schools. When you think of the maintainance required for artificial turf vs grass. You figure up the school will probably break even in a few years since they no longer have to buy Diesel fuel for mowers, fertilizer, striping equipment, maintain a sprinkler system, nor pay for the water.

  118. incognit000 says:

    There’s one of these at my local Wal-Mart, in a big cube by the front. I swear I’ve seen concerned moms grabbing at the things and desperately trying to get everything on the list.

    I don’t know what it’s like elsewhere, but the ones I saw specifically mentioned a number of items by brand name. They didn’t want you to just buy colored pencils, they wanted you to buy Crayola colored pencils. And they wanted you to buy a specific size, too.

    I guess I should go back and help myself to some copies. I’m pretty sure that pretending to represent a school and using teacher’s names without permission are big no-nos.

  119. harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law says:

    WTF is even on these lists? Pencils, notebooks, and Elmer’s glue. What else does a kid need?

  120. welsey says:

    School supplies are such a headache. Art supply ordering is the worst. Luckily most of the really expensive stuff is just gimmicky crap that should be saved for only the wealthiest districts and many art materials can be very successfully improvised – but the nature of art supplies is just to be unnecessarily pricey. It’s not fair to ask parents to supply art materials unless they are able to and want to (there’s always a parent or two who likes to bring extra stuff in, I’ve found in my work at summer camps) so you have to think budget.

    Also I always hate, even at the college level, when a teacher won’t accept substitutions or exclusions of items that you may not find personally necessary. If I don’t want to have a dedicated notebook for the class, I don’t need to. It’s just a teacher’s way of enforcing their arbitrary authority and it’s educationally unnecessary. I spent all of my last year of college re-using old notebooks and sharing even cheap 100 page notebooks between subjects, and only bought one textbook. Honestly I should have bought the one for physics too, but I still made deans list both semesters. I can’t even understand being in the income bracket that can justify those plastic-covered 5-Star notebooks in college – who are you people!!?

  121. SinisterMatt says:


    So you can play Tetris in math class when you’re bored (at least that’s what we did back in the day).

    Some of the supplies I’ve heard of teachers requesting is a little excessive. Why do you need clorox wipes? Whatever happened to paper towels and some hand sanitizer or soap?


  122. CorrieCJ says:

    As for supplies going into a common pool – I’m pretty sure some of that is done in my kids’ school. It’s a Title 1 school (meaning a high percentage of low-income families) so I’m sure that the people who can afford to buy the entire list are providing for some of the people who can’t. I can understand that.

    As for insisting on brand names, I once asked a teacher-friend of mine about that. She said that with the crayons, it’s so all the kids have the same shades and are not fighting over them. I’m not sure about the reason for demanding “Elmer’s” glue and “Expo” markers, though…

  123. soloudinhere says:

    @welsey: We’re the same people who pay $30,000 a year + in tuition. After that, $5 for a notebook doesn’t seem so bad.

    @SinisterMatt: I had the first ten levels of Super Mario on my TI-83. Now I have to have a TI-89 and it doesn’t play games, which I think is bulls**t!

  124. econobiker says:

    @backbroken: And remember the planned obsolesence of the metal lunch boxes? You couldn’t keep last years or else be branded a loser troll.

    And to research and find out that the metal lunch boxes were essentially banned in the early ’80s due to some namby-pamby mothers figuring that the boxes could be used as “weapons”. Yeah, they should have let kids keep the lunch boxes then maybe they wouldn’t have been bringing real guns to school by the late ’80s…

    And the guy who wrote the book on lunch boxe collecting aslo made a conscious choice to focus on them for the money in collecting and publishing a book, not totally the love of collecting…

  125. Grive says:

    @SadSam: “And a follow up question, where the hell does my school tax payer money go?”

    Iraq, mostly. There are many places where public education is severely underfunded.

  126. Johnathan says:

    *Note: I work for Walmart*

    I can’t speak for all stores, but mine most certainly does get real school lists. Our stationary manager is in charge of it. Some schools fax them in on their own, but I know that she does spend a good deal of time getting them from everyone.

    If I had to guess, I’d bet that some of the school lists were old, not fake. I know we have old ones, until they’re replaced with new ones. Maybe those were from schools that wouldn’t send in lists. What was the date stamp on that fax?

  127. iambetter says:

    I myself work for Walmart and can say for a fact that these lists are suggested items for back to school. They are obtained by doing a survey of schools across the country and are compiled into a list. The list is then processed by the Walmart computer system and that figures out students may or may not need. It isn’t an exact science. As a parent you shouldn’t reply on Walmart to tell you what to buy. Thats just bad parenting right there.

  128. waffles says:

    @ekthesy: Firefly hopefully. Mix some sweet tea in with the vodka and it’s some pretty awesome stuff. Go to Charleston, SC and they’ve got it at just about every restaurant downtown. Including Mellow Mushroom.

    @xay: We’d get extra credit for stuff like paper towels. A load of crap, I know. But at least it didn’t punish anyone beyond not giving them the extra points that someone else got.

  129. banned= wheeled backpacks in a northern chicago area school district
    “because of snow” was the answer to my more politely worded WTF?

    I hate the buy school supplies and donate to a place in the store- the store gets the credit for being so sweet to the poor children, I pay full price for the items. Is there a way to donate without helping staples with a tax deduction/PR opp?

    We did use our $5 jeans day money to give to teachers in DC public schools each week. Until the School district protested that they had to do the distributing. suddenly the money just vanished into a supply fund.

  130. LostAngeles says:

    I’m going to guess that the banned items included Sharpie markers (a favorite for taggers. I’m not allowed to let the kids I work with get a hold of my Sharpie).

    My school supplies as a math major:

    A graph-paper notebook for each class.
    Lots of mechanical pencils.
    A pen.
    Maple (software). (really, a one time purchase, plus I have access to school labs. I prefer Maple since 200 digit numbers are A-OK.)
    A folder.
    A scientific calculator (for stats classes).

  131. bcsus83 says:

    lol our Walmart’s list was identical to our school’s list posted online. A whopping $7 for Kindergarten school supplies. Somehow I doubt the Walmart here is altering them. ;)

  132. Darkwing_Duck says:

    @welsey: I use the plastic five-star notebooks, but they’re the flex kind, sort of a spiral notebook/binder fusion. 5-6 bucks apiece, but I get about 4 and have reused them a couple times. I reuse them for a couple different classes and just fill in the paper, and it comes down to a buck or two per class per notebook. Worth it, imho

  133. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    I work in CS at Walmart and as far as I have been told and many times witnessed the lists were faxed by the schools themselves. Maybe some schools or districts don’t have lists or didn’t supply Walmart with lists so they made up their own. Not cool if they try to pass them off as coming from the schools but if they say suggested then that’s all it is then: a suggestion. Just my two cents and I’m only able to speak for my own store so I can’t vouch for what other stores may or may not do.

    — gc3160

  134. Darkwing_Duck says:

    @Gizmosmonster: At my old middle school, wheeled backpacks weren’t strictly banned, per se, but after a while people started carrying them. I thought about getting one. but then I remembered all the jackasses I went to school with loved sticking their feet out and tripping up the bag, picking on the kid with the wheeled bag, etc. Not worth it. In college, I’d get one if it weren’t for the snow, but middle and high school are a different story

  135. beverleysage says:

    My Walmart has the exact same list that they send home with my son the last day of school.

  136. varro says:

    @backbroken: Pretty much….new Trapper Keeper, maybe a new lunchbox every couple years, and my parents made sure I had enough pencils and pens.

    Of course, our school district (Bethel Park) didn’t have a case of the cheaps, and actually gave kids a pencil a quarter, and younger kids got a box of 8 small crayons. Paper for assignments was also given out by the school.

    They also didn’t get all hyper about kids being politically incorrect, and I wore liquor t-shirts to school for most of 7th and 8th grade (my dad owned a bar)…

  137. varro says:

    @SadSam: Your tax money is going to the police department so Suburban Township can outfit a SWAT team and to give the Walmart* developer a tax break.

  138. varro says:

    @econobiker: Too late – I used a metal lunch box on bullies a few times in elementary school. Worked like a charm.

  139. Jesse in Japan says:

    Is there any reason why parents can’t contact teachers directly and ask what their children will be needing for back-to-school?

  140. tyep says:

    We just no way to the back packpack with no wheels. have you seen the load of stuff taht is sent home? My son would spend half his life at the chiropractor if he had to carry all that on his back.

  141. soloudinhere says:

    I don’t remember EVER having to bring home anything from elementary school. Even in 6th grade, everything was on handouts. We didn’t even HAVE textbooks or anything at that age.

    Where are your kids getting all this stuff to bring home??

    Only the SUPER dorky kids in middle school had wheeled backpacks.

    Even in high school I only had to bring home one or two textbooks a night.

  142. @soloudinhere: My high school wasn’t as slow-paced as yours, as trig was the first half of 10th grade, followed by Math Analysis. I finished Calculus before I graduated, and we WERE required to have graphing calculators in Calc.

  143. hardisonthefloor says:

    that is totally hilarious.

  144. BillsBurg says:

    Doesn’t anyone check the school’s web site, my son’s elementary school’s website here in Virgina lists supplies that the kids need and usually each teacher has a supplemental list as well.

    Our son’s was in Kindergarten last year, my wife spend the night before his first day labeling all of his supplies and send them to school in his backpack. About half way through the year I volunteered in his class for a day, it was funny to see all of his stuff being used by everyone else. Usually when they tell you they need multiples of an item, it usually means those items will go in a supply box that all students use. I saw his Elmer’s glue, glue sticks, and some of his other items with his name on it being used by other students.

  145. nybiker says:

    @mdoublej: I am not sure if you’re actually asking the question or you’re commenting on the fact that the lottery money goes into the general fund, from which education money is taken.
    So, yeah, lottery ticket sales go into the general fund. They are not an ‘above & beyond’ dollar amount. As you can imagine, education doesn’t get anything extra, just what they are allocated.
    If we didn’t have the lottery, what would Yolanda Vega and her crew do? FTR, Yolanda is one of the announcers of the lottery drawings.
    The general fund is just a big sink-hole of waste. Sorry, that was off-topic.

  146. hmk says:

    @samurailynn: I know in NY state at least, there is usually a tax-free week right around back to school time. Or there used to be when I was growing up there. So it would make sense to do a lot of purchasing before the school year. However I like your plan more.

  147. kelbycarr says:

    Since so many people think I am really bored enough to make this story up, I prepared a rebuttal:

  148. Lisa Simpsons around the country are shocked and organizing a letter writing campaign along with a few choice poems about corporate malfeasance.

  149. Dyscord says:

    What I want to know is who ever thought these things were “official”? I’ve seen these lists at our old walmart and passed them off as “reminders”. Most of the time it’s modest stuff like pencils, paper, etc.

    Besides, if a class required something specific, I don’t see why they would send that list to WAL-MART instead of…oh…say…the actual households or the newspapers? hmmm

  150. Caduceus says:

    I like the wax seal comment, that’s good!

  151. ResourcefulMommy says:

    Thank God that ridiculous practices like this (and not just by Walmart) are pointed out in blogs like Kelby Carr’s. These lists feed on the fears of parents. Who would want to send their child back to school unprepared? Does it really matter if they’ve got a box of crayons (not allowed!) or the right type of paper (lined, unlined?!). Not really – there’s always the kid in the next seat with extra or the over prepared teacher (who – by the way – has probably bought the supplies out of his or her own pocket). What matters is feeling as though you’re being a responsible parent and sending your child off to school with all that they need. It’s not having your child feel as though their mom has let them down on their first day of school. Shame on these big box stores and thank you, Kelby Carr for pointing out their wiley practices.

  152. Meathamper says:

    What’s on the list?

  153. Diningbadger says:

    Here in Albuquerque, the same thing is going on. I thought they were official, too, until I read Consumrist. I thought it was a little too convenient and extremely organized of Albuquerque Public Schools to have lists ready for Walmart.

  154. IgnatiusPostumus says:

    At a local Wal-Mart, they had generic lists. The hilarious part was that the list looked familar, and had some items whited-out…A couple days later I went to Staples and saw the exact same list – only it had the Staples logo …Wal-mart had taken the Staples list, whited-out the Staples logo, and copied it for this store…