Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Staples: Not in fact all that easy

I have a love-hate relationship with Staples.  Like many teachers (Mrs. Mimi springs to mind), I love bright shiny new school supplies.  But I sort of hate Staples, where I always wait on line for waaaaay longer than necessary and the staffers always seem to be singularly unhelpful.

Nevertheless, I've been at Staples frequently the past few days, trying to stock up on supplies while they're on sale.  Today I was trying to buy five highlighters for a dollar, except the packages I had picked up apparently didn't match the teeny picture in the circular (even though the brand and colors were the same), so the cashier sent me back to Aisle 3 and then took another customer whose e-mail address he had difficulty inputting into the system, adding another twelve years to my wait.

Just before I handed over my Teacher Rewards card, he asked me if I would like to donate $1 to buy school supplies for children who can't afford them.  I politely said, "No thank you."  For one, I have done this before in one of my many, many trips to Staples.  For two, that's pretty much what I was doing at Staples in the first place: buying school supplies for children who can't afford them.

He took my rewards card, shook his head, and said, "And you're a teacher."  So...I know I'm very sensitive and easily offended, but...I was offended.  This is where I should have exploded into a Taylor Mali-esque "What Teachers Make" moment, but what I said was: "Exactly. These are school supplies for children who can't afford them.  I spend hundreds of dollars every year on school supplies."

On the way home from Staples, I ran into a former classmate of mine and we exchanged catch-ups.  When I told him I teach third grade, he laughed and said, "That's so cute!"  Ohhhh, former classmate, you have no idea.


Shannon said...

Good for you! It's hard to believe how many people are completely clueless...and then I look at the world around me and am not so very surprised after all. Well done, not launching into a diatribe towards either the employee or your former classmate!

Chalk Duster said...

I, too, am a NYC teacher blogger, and this will be my seventh year in the system. I agree. Staples makes me want to throw up at times. It is a very mixed feeling though, because I just loooover markers and and the smell of fresh construction paper smeared with Elmer's. Unfortunately, there is barely any room for the use of such supplies because we will spend so much time on test prep. And this year, as I am sure you know, we get $0 for teacher's choice! THE AUDACITY!!!! last year I spent 200 over the so verrrry generous 100. No more reimbursement check right before the holidays. We are treated like such doormats.
I am going to add your blog to my blog list! Please keep writing!

Erica Thomas said...

Yeah, not really a fan of Staples either.

Anonymous said...

this is why I like Office Max....

Anonymous said...

Love your tongue-in-cheek style but let's remember working retail is notoriously difficult. While inappropriate, the cashier obviously didn't realize what s/he was saying. You know what you do for your kids.

By the way, are you on Twitter? Great community of people who will commiserate and help you grow as an educator. You might want to give it a shot.

rachelblue said...

I am on Twitter, but so far only as my personal self (I follow you!) and not my teaching alter ego :)

Anonymous said...

I always wonder whether that money really gets to those in need. I don't really trust many of these large corporations to direct my dollars. We do spend so much of our money every year. I like having a little more control over my donations!

Anonymous said...

I stopped buying things with my own money when my administrators get new toys and all the supplies they need and they wouldn’t give me a strip of staples.

This should be fun with no teacher choice.

Save your money and spend it on a nice vacation. It will make you a better teacher.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous (the one posted 8/30/11 at 9:12)

Who are you spiting with this attitude? Your students. I hope you'll reconsider. Such a shame that any teacher would allow themselves to hurt their students like that.

PBTeacher said...

I was at Staples today picking up supplies for my classroom and had almost that exact conversation with the cashier-- only mine didn't press the point by acting ashamed of me. Good for you for keeping your cool!

miss brave said...

Anonymous and photomatt, this is an age-old debate (to spend or not to spend your own money on school supplies?) and I get both sides of the issue. On the one hand, my students definitely need pencils, so when we run out, I buy more. On the other hand, the toner in my printer is low, and the replacement costs -- wait for it -- FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS. I'm sorry, but I am NOT willing to stretch my personal budget that far.

Shannon said...

I just have to comment again with my Staples Story from yesterday...I stopped in so that I could buy all sorts of things (though without a list as comprehensive as when I taught in a remote school and had to take supplies for all of my students with me), and was irritated to hear a long spiel being given to every other customer. NOT that I think that the school supplies drive was a bad thing, or that they SHOULDN'T be asking for donations, but because I was dreading being asked.

I got to the register, emptied my cart, and pulled out my teacher identification so that I could get my 15% teacher appreciation discount (Yay for the last discount day!)...and she didn't even ask. No spiel, no guilt, no assumptions. Whether she refrained because she saw what I was buying, because of the identification, or because she was just sick of asking people, it doesn't matter!

Kudos to the cashier at register 1.

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