Author Topic: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??  (Read 3656 times)

Stachetastic

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School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« on: August 04, 2017, 05:54:36 PM »
My son will be a kindergartner this year and I've looked at his supply list at least 5 times. Today I glanced again and realized nearly every item listed has a specific brand name required. WTF is this about? Zip loc, Clorox wipes, Huggies baby wipes, "name brand paper towels" (does Aldi count as a name brand?)

How seriously do you take these requests? We're lucky we only have one to buy for this year, but one friend just said she spent $100 per kid. When we buy for my step son, we average about $35 or so. He attends another district that is not so demanding.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 06:27:45 PM by Stachetastic »

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2017, 06:30:22 PM »
Wife is a kindergarten teacher and makes a point not to do this.  It's laziness on the teacher's part for not writing a "spec" that will meet the intended function yet doesn't mean you need to buy a specific brand.

batemama

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2017, 06:34:30 PM »
I think they list name brands sometimes to make it easier for parents to understand what the teacher is looking for. "Clorox wipes" raises fewer questions than "disinfect wipes" imho. I have had a teacher  make note on a supply list that store brand dry erase markers suck really really bad and requested that you buy expo brand or none. The lists have also been suggestions and have not been required. We buy what we can with our budget that month and also try to send things like tissues halfway through the year.

iowajes

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2017, 06:35:27 PM »
Former 4th grade teacher: The only two brands i was serious about was dry erase markers (30 off brand open at once and the smell is insane. I don't remember what we used, but it didn't cause a classroom of children headaches) and colored pencils (the cheap ones suck).

Paper towels. No.

kenner

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2017, 06:46:03 PM »
I know a couple teachers who are pretty picky about pencils.  I think Ticonderoga is the brand, but they're plain wooden pencils rather than the kind wrapped in shiny plastic that gum up the pencil sharpeners.  Apparently having to repeatedly buy new pencil sharpeners (it's certainly not the schools that pay for them) isn't appreciated.

Stachetastic

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2017, 07:14:12 PM »
Ironically, dry erase markers are among the only things on this list that aren't specified name brand. Fiskars, crayola, elmers, Clorox, "name brand zip loc."  No Ticonderoga pencils, though. We have bought those in the past for step son. I'm hunting down some coupons to try to make a dent, just trying to figure out how serious these teachers are about the specific brands.

ABC123

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2017, 03:40:49 PM »
As a former teacher, some things actually do make a difference.  Generic works fine most of the time, but if you are dealing with a classroom full of 5 year olds, you don't want to have to worry if the 2 week old markers are going to work.

BeanCounter

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2017, 04:15:40 PM »
I typically by generic stuff. But NOT for school supplies. Crayola crayons and colored pencils are far superior to the store brands. Ticonderoga pencils really are that much better. The shiny Mead folders last way longer. Look for sales, tax free weekends to help a bit, but it's not that much more for the name brand stuff and the quality is so much better.

CindyBS

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2017, 04:35:13 PM »
I take into account what the item will be used for.  For example - zip loc bags are used to put little pieces of projects - almost always paper, in a bag.  They are not going to hold a quart of spaghetti sauce.  The teacher can deal with generic, especially since I send in a box and my kid ends up using maybe 5 the whole year.

Tissues - same thing.  Kids use waaay too many tissues - it is not like the keep the same high quality strong one all day in their pocket.  Ditto on paper towels. 

Other things like dry erase markers and crayons are different - those will be used a lot and quality matters.

I also second the idea of brand names to identify what it is.  If teachers did not indicate Chlorox wipes, they would end up getting stacks of baby wipes or hand wipes.  In that case, they can deal with generic. 

NeonPegasus

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2017, 04:50:01 PM »
IIRC, Clorox wipes are the only ones that can kill norovirus (stomach bug). Some emetophobic friends taught me that. Just pony up for those.

As other posters mentioned, certain brands do work better than others.

I have three kids to shop for. I watch sales. Publix typically has school supplies BOGO this time of year.


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Stachetastic

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2017, 09:53:48 AM »
I happened upon a Dollar General ad yesterday and they had some great prices on supplies, plus they take coupons. So off I went this morning (this is also tax free weekend) and got everything we needed. I did buy the smallest packs of zip locks and Clorox wipes, however, because the price difference between the store brand was significant. I could have gotten over twice the amount of the store brand for the same cost. And they specified 3 "Huggies tubs of wipes," so I couldn't buy the 3 pack of refills. Good thing I had coupons!

I ended up at Meijer to get the 2 items DG didn't carry in the requested size/brand, so we're good to go.

Goldielocks

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2017, 12:56:16 PM »
Be aware,  some primary teachers pool all the supplies that the kids bring in, so you may buy the name brand items, but your kid ends up using generic items...

Some teacher supply lists are ridiculous.   Take a look.  Does the list amount / quantity  / items make sense to you?  (Hint, 6 year olds do not need 10 black sharpie pens each).

I learned to only buy brand names and items that I thought were worth it, or I could find value for.  Especially for multiples.   I even one year bought about half the stuff, then gave the teacher cash towards purchases for future in the year / offered to buy whatever was needed in january so they would not have to store all the suff..

One item I liked a lot name brand was fiskars scissors.  BUT, for kindergarten, most supplies are pooled, and you may not get them back at the end of the year.  Likewise with the pencils,   have a LOT of on sale pencils  (staples brand was ok) was always better than a 10 pack of the ticonderas.


Stachetastic

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2017, 02:01:55 PM »
I assume everything except for the headphones will be pooled. We had to buy 12 of the giant sized glue sticks. But surprisingly, only 1 roll of paper towels and 1 box of tissues. Again, I would have been happy to buy multiples of these And given them extra, if I could have just grabbed them at Aldi.

v8rx7guy

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2017, 05:44:34 PM »
I am not even sure what the generic name for a Ziploc bag is?  Resealable plastic baggy? People use namebrands for products all the time... ever heard it called anything but a "Kleenex"?  Oh... You meant facial tissue!

Lski'stash

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2017, 06:10:09 PM »
I know a couple teachers who are pretty picky about pencils.  I think Ticonderoga is the brand, but they're plain wooden pencils rather than the kind wrapped in shiny plastic that gum up the pencil sharpeners.  Apparently having to repeatedly buy new pencil sharpeners (it's certainly not the schools that pay for them) isn't appreciated.

We do the Ticonderoga's. They last forever and the kids don't want to lose them. Other than that, none.

BeanCounter

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2017, 06:37:06 PM »
I label everything. Every marker. Every pencil.

Pigeon

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2017, 06:51:27 PM »
In my experience, a lot of teachers are hung up about the brands.  Also, you can label the stuff but it still gets pooled sometimes.

The thing that drove me nuts were the items that just don't exist.  We once had instructions to get a certain brand and type of laminating film and the list told us where to buy it.  They didn't have it, nor did anywhere else nearby.  I finally had ordered it online for a small fortune. Another teacher wanted billions of post-it notes in specific sizes and colors that are simply not made.

The hours I spent trying in vain to locate stuff...

iowajes

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2017, 10:06:06 AM »
I label everything. Every marker. Every pencil.

Which is very smart for non-pooled supplies.  If they are pooled, it doesn't matter what the label says.

BeanCounter

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2017, 10:19:23 AM »
I label everything. Every marker. Every pencil.

Which is very smart for non-pooled supplies.  If they are pooled, it doesn't matter what the label says.
Correct. I did not do this in Kindergarten because the teacher told us she pooled them. The first grade teacher told us to label everything, and we've been doing it from then on.
FWIW, from what I've seen MOST of the parents are buying the name brand crayola products and Ticonderoga pencils.

kayvent

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2017, 10:36:21 AM »
Uniformity is also nice. Kids find the strangest excuses to tease others. Everyone having the same supplies is one less thing. I am Canadian so perhaps y'all Americans have a different ecosystem. A lot of the cheap store brand supplies are visibly low quality. Functionality is also noticeable. Glue sticks that aren't gluey, pencils that can't be sharpened, scissors that can't cut.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2017, 10:38:57 AM by kayvent »

Poundwise

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2017, 09:45:18 AM »
From my experience as a PTA mom, often a school PTA offers a service where you can pay a flat fee to have your school supplies to be ordered and delivered directly to the school.  You get the option in the previous spring to pay your $59 or whatever and then on the first day of school in the autumn, the supplies are waiting for your child in the classroom. So what happens is that the teachers pick items out of an online catalogue, and then the supplies company generates a list with brand names, quantities, etc.

The option to pre-order supplies is not always available to incoming kindergartners, though. But for some reason we still get the brand name lists generated by the company that does the rest of the grades.

So even if the teachers are not particular, you end up with the brand names on the list. I opted not to pre-order this year because we have a lot of leftover supplies and it's wasteful to buy a new pair of kiddie scissors, pencil sharpener, and ruler every year.   But the school did specify a particular brand of earbuds.  Since my son still has a pair of headphones bought last year for school (better quality than the ones specified), I called to make sure that there was no need to have this particular brand. It was no issue.

Goldielocks

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2017, 09:58:41 AM »
I suppose if it were only $59, it would not be horrendous.   I have been in three school systems now.  Only one has a $59 or less school supply list, the other schools were all closer to $100+ per kid, when you buy it per the issued list, yourself...   Those schools also had a "suggested" $200 per student PTA contribution, and / or a mandatory $115 school lunch supervision fee (even if your kid could walk home for lunch).

   It was awful how some teachers did not even consider the costs to the parents.    After a couple of years, of that, I started to go off list...

Laura33

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2017, 11:31:46 AM »
Wow, I always assumed that the brands were just shorthand ways for us to identify the products and not a specific request.  I always bought whatever seemed reasonable.
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Stachetastic

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2017, 12:35:10 PM »
Wow, I always assumed that the brands were just shorthand ways for us to identify the products and not a specific request.  I always bought whatever seemed reasonable.

I would have thought that, too, except our list specifically said "name brand Zip Loc bags," "name brand paper towels," and "Elmer's BLACK LABEL school glue." The Clorox wipes could have been up for interpretation, I suppose.

We did have the option of ordering a supply kit, and I cannot remember the cost. We didn't know for sure which district he would be attending, so we held off on that until it was too late to order.

TVRodriguez

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2017, 02:33:08 PM »
I suppose if it were only $59, it would not be horrendous.   I have been in three school systems now.  Only one has a $59 or less school supply list, the other schools were all closer to $100+ per kid, when you buy it per the issued list, yourself...   Those schools also had a "suggested" $200 per student PTA contribution, and / or a mandatory $115 school lunch supervision fee (even if your kid could walk home for lunch).


Our kids are in a public school.  The school offers the option to buy the school supplies from a vendor.  I think it was $172/kid last year.  This year I reused what I had from last year (folders and such) and got the rest at Walmart and Amazon (there were a few things Walmart didn't have).  $350 later, I have only 4 rolls of paper towels left to buy.

FireHiker

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2017, 02:53:25 PM »
I just bought supplies for my 2nd grader. I bought all the name brand items they specifically requested but it was a pretty reasonable list. After helping in the classroom for years I can vouch for the difference in some of the brands. Target had extremely good pricing. I got out of there for $27. They also ask for a $25 donation to the Office Depot account to cover other needs throughout the year. Almost the same as last year, which didn't have the $25 donation request but totaled up to $54 (checked my spreadsheet). I expect to donate $50 for kindergarten supplies for my youngest but we don't have teacher assignments yet. $59 to order ahead seems reasonable but I'd be balking at $172+ per kid. We'll probably get hit up for PTA/Foundation (I think it's $250 if you have one kid, $300 per family) too.

I have a high schooler also. Last year: Yearbook and ASB sticker last year were $120 together. If we do foundation it's another $250. $61 PTSA fundraising buyout. And then specific supplies depending on classes, fees for science supplies, etc.

I grew up really poor, and paying for anything school related was a hardship where my mom made me feel bad about it. I am happy to not have to worry and to be able to just buy the kid a yearbook, get the Crayola pencils, and write a check to support the school. I know how much of their own money most teachers spend on classroom supplies; my best friend teaches in a school that is economically disadvantaged, and is a single mom with two kids, and she spends several hundred dollars on supplies for her classroom every year. I'm thankful we're in a good school district with lots of community involvement (volunteer and financial).

Stachetastic

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2017, 05:45:51 AM »
I can feel my cognitive dissonance at play here. I'm happy to write a check to my son's school/teacher/PTA, etc. (We haven't gotten teacher assignments yet, either.)  I have a weird issue with their supply requests being so specific to name brand. We are fortunate to be able to afford everything for the one child we are buying for, but I feel for the families who are not.

ltt

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #27 on: August 09, 2017, 06:48:45 AM »
We have 4 children who are now 4 teens.  I will only buy Ticonderoga pencils.  Why?  The eraser on the end is fantastic and the lead is "smooth"--and there is a lot of erasing over the years.  You will really notice the difference when you are working with the child on their homework throughout the years.  The pencil provides a very clean erase--other brands don't.  We have yet to find any pencil that works better than Ticonderoga.  I finally stopped fighting it. :)

Crayola brand crayons are just better.  Again, until you are working with the child over several years of doing homework, you just don't notice these things.

Elmer's glue.  It's a good glue.  I prefer the bottle over the sticks, but if you get sticks, get Elmer's brand.  The glue sticks, overall, tend to dry out after the first semester. 

There's a reason that specific brands are being asked for.  Some of the brands just work better for teachers because the brand holds up/works better over the long-run.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 06:52:50 AM by ltt »

ltt

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #28 on: August 09, 2017, 07:02:11 AM »
To elaborate a little more, I really wish school supplies could be organized a little differently in the way they are purchased and that a letter could go out to each parent prior to the start of school asking the parent to purchase the same item for each child in the classroom.  For instance, Mrs. X, would you buy 60 packages of 3x5 note cards; or Mrs. K, would you purchase 30 boxes of Kleenex?  It would be so much easier to shop for one item, but buy multiples of that one item.  Then they could just run an assembly line in the child's classroom and the child could get one of each item.

ketchup

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2017, 07:45:10 AM »
I'm 26, but I recall my parents being very frustrated with the school supply lists in elementary/middle school, and also for my younger sister.  Sometimes it was really stupid stuff.  "Your child must have an orange-colored folder of this exact size, the combo of which simply doesn't exist anywhere."  I remember my dad wasting a Saturday on that one for my sister.  He ended up buying a normal folder, and he helped her glue orange felt over the front and back.

Certain things are "just better" and have already been mentioned in this thread.  From memory, I'd consider dry-erase markers, colored pencils, glue sticks, scissors, and binders to be the things that make the least sense to get the generic.  And of course, TI still has a strangehold on the school calculator market (That damn TI-108 I needed in third grade was a pain in the ass to find).  And I get that it'd be frustrating for teachers to have low quality versions of certain things in the classroom.

"Name brand" paper towels though, that's just fucking stupid.  "Kirkland Signature" is my personal preference "name brand."  At least say which name brand is deemed acceptable so that you don't get 100 confused moms calling you figure out what to get, or having arguments with all the parents on the first day of school.

Pigeon

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #30 on: August 10, 2017, 10:27:28 AM »
Our school district is generally pretty well off, but not all the students are.  One nice thing some of the teachers did was to have out a basket of slips with the names of needed supplies.  The basket was on the table at back to school days and if you felt so inclined you could take a slip or three and pick up some extra needed school supplies to offset any shortfalls from families that couldn't provide things.  I thought that was a nice, low key way of asking for support and teachers didn't have to pay a fortune out of their own pockets.

justajane

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #31 on: August 10, 2017, 11:44:56 AM »
Our school pools supplies and they only specify the brands for which there is a qualitative difference: Ticonderoga and Crayola. I also buy the name brand dry erase markers, but otherwise I buy what's cheaper. But I get wanting the better quality, and I trust teachers to know the difference.

FWIW, 12 packs of unsharpened Ticonderoga pencils are $1 a piece at my Office Depot this week. Limit of three, though.

HildaCorners

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #32 on: August 11, 2017, 06:49:51 PM »
I'm so happy I'm past the school supplies days!

[My youngest is in high school ... he gets to decide what supplies he needs, mostly. There's always 1-2 teachers with odd requests, but they're usually cheap, like 3 composition books.]

I ignored name brand on any lists, and bought things the same quality as the brand requested. Ticonderoga pencils? I bought cedar wood painted #2 pencils, often Staples brand. Elmer's glue sticks? Staples again. Avery college-ruled 3x5 cards? Sorry, they don't exist ... I bought cheap lined cards, and never got comments.

You see I mentioned Staples several times above? I don't know if they still do this, but when my kids were young, they would start back to school loss leaders, 3-4 items per week from early July on. I'd watch the sale flyers like a hawk, then go buy *only* the loss leaders each week. [I was doing the Mustachian thing of driving the marketing pros crazy by not also picking up overpriced stuff.] By the time school started around Labor Day, I had 90% of what was on the lists. I'd sometimes buy extras of things I knew they'd need in future years, like pocket folders or pencils.

A trick for middle school ... my daughter was generous with letting friends "borrow" her pencils. We came up with a trick she kept a batch of loss leader cheap pencils with her, loaned those out, and kept the good ones for herself.

One final word ... remember, as parent, you are NOT the one in school. You aren't getting graded. The teacher isn't going to give your kid a C- because they didn't bring in the right brand of paper towels. As long as the supplies function well, the teachers are too busy to even notice brands.
Been there, done that

Jesstache

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #33 on: August 12, 2017, 12:16:23 AM »
Reading this thread has me grateful that my kids' school has a $25 school supply fee per kid and then they buy all the supplies in bulk.  Kindergarten had an additional $25 special snack fee.  The PTO asks for a $60 donation per kid and then they don't ask for you to do any fund raisers the rest of the year (my kind of fund raising, 100% goes to the kids/school).

I think a couple of kids in the class last year didn't end up contributing their share to the $25 school supply fund so a couple other parents and I made up the difference. 

I love breezing right past the back to school supply displays this time of year.  My kid's LL Bean back pack and lunch pail should last her for years and my son will be getting the same back pack and lunch pail when it's his turn in a couple years.  Hers still look brand new and I know they took lots of abuse.

$175 for school supplies is insane!

skp

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #34 on: August 12, 2017, 04:43:37 AM »
I never resented buying the supplies.  I did resent having to buy a dedicated set of tennis shoes that could be only worn for gym.  My kids had wide feet and $80 for shoes that they could only wear twice a week in gym class annoyed the heck out of me.  I did it though,

Just wait until you have to buy $300 calculators.  Both of my children "lost" theirs.  They found 20 of them in one kids locker.  It was a game to him to see how many he could accumulate.  I wonder what they did with them. 

kimmarg

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2017, 01:03:34 PM »
oy! Not at teh school supply point yet but I will say I only buy true "ziplock" brand freezer bags as I've found the cheap ones don't last long enough to wash and use again so overall the cost is lower with the sturdier Ziplock.

Goldielocks

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #36 on: August 13, 2017, 12:20:33 AM »
oy! Not at teh school supply point yet but I will say I only buy true "ziplock" brand freezer bags as I've found the cheap ones don't last long enough to wash and use again so overall the cost is lower with the sturdier Ziplock.

Yeah, but what if the school only wants to put a few sheets of paper in each one, to organiza your kids' project?  Do you really need a tough, durable ziplock.?

BeanCounter

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #37 on: August 13, 2017, 05:49:48 AM »
Reading this thread has me grateful that my kids' school has a $25 school supply fee per kid and then they buy all the supplies in bulk.  Kindergarten had an additional $25 special snack fee.  The PTO asks for a $60 donation per kid and then they don't ask for you to do any fund raisers the rest of the year (my kind of fund raising, 100% goes to the kids/school).

I think a couple of kids in the class last year didn't end up contributing their share to the $25 school supply fund so a couple other parents and I made up the difference. 

I love breezing right past the back to school supply displays this time of year.  My kid's LL Bean back pack and lunch pail should last her for years and my son will be getting the same back pack and lunch pail when it's his turn in a couple years.  Hers still look brand new and I know they took lots of abuse.

$175 for school supplies is insane!
I have suggested several times for the school to do this. We currently either buy our own or they have an outside company that you can order through and my child gets a box with the supplies (yes name brand) on their desk the first day. The only problem with this system is that you can only just buy the whole box or nothing. So we get all new supplies every year. Totally unnecessary.
I think the PTO should do it as a fundraiser, but nobody wants to do the work. And I think we have a space problem. Not sure where we would put all the stuff while we were getting ready and distributing.

justajane

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Re: School supply lists--WTF is with the name brands??
« Reply #38 on: August 13, 2017, 08:33:31 AM »
Our PTO offers $50 school supplies delivered to the classroom. It's tempting, but I find I can get all my school supplies on sale for about half that, so I'm still buying. I know it's a fundraiser for the PDO, but I don't like that their fliers say that you will save money by buying the supplies with them. This is patently untrue. I would rather them just be honest that it costs more to do it with them and instead focus on what a time saver it is.