Budget & Finance, Education, Family & Friends

The Pros and Cons of Online School Shopping

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school-suppliesWhen I was young, I had to be bribed to go shopping.

I hated trying on clothes. I didn’t like or understand fashion, and looking cute was never something I cared about. (Yes, this turned out exactly as you’d expect. I was horribly teased most of my life. Now? Surprise! I know fashion like you wouldn’t believe and have three daughters who love fashion. Nature? Nurture? Who knows. I still don’t care about fashion and basically live in Old Navy v-neck t-shirts, jeans, and capri pants & jeans.)

All this to try and convey how much I hate shopping.

Mr. Brickie does all the grocery shopping for the house. Yes, all of it. Even now that he works 58 hours a week. I am incapable. The rows of stuff overwhelm me and cause me to end up standing in the middle of some random aisle just trying to catch my breath and minimize the overwhelming panic. He, of course, is a saint for being willing to do the shopping for a family of five.

Also, funny little sidenote….no one has ever looked at him funny or said anything when he used the EBT card at the register. They’re also really nice to him when he goes into the public aid office. He gets pats on the back and support from the workers. I shit you not. Maybe it’s because he’s really polite or maybe it’s because he doesn’t seem defensive. Whatever it is he has done a much better job navigating the government than even I have and I thought I was doing a bang up job back when it was my responsibility. (Another post is coming soon about grocery budgeting because since he’s working now we’re about to lose our EBT benefits. As we should. I’m not complaining but it will be a reality that the extra money we have right this second is about to go straight toward groceries.)

So, taking all that shopping mess into consideration and pretending I didn’t just spend a paragraph talking about EBT use and public aid this post is about school shopping. As an Amazon Prime member, there are two times of the year I go nuts on Amazon.com and those times are school supply time and Christmastime. The world gets shipped to my door. The picture in the header isn’t everything. We got three more boxes and six mailers in addition.

We also got the biggest frustration I’ve ever dealt with on Amazon.com when I checked my credit card balance and saw that I was somehow double-billed. I went into the online chat and asked what was going on and eventually found out there was more than one of certain things in her list. I realized I needed to open all those boxes and check them against the orders.

Now, I’m a savvy Amazon shopper. I check quantities and delete things that aren’t fulfilled by Amazon whenever possible. I want to make sure I can make returns easily if I need to.

I was double charged and double fulfilled on multiple items and there was one order listed that was $278 that was entirely a duplicate except for one item. Now, when you order on Amazon you have to actually go through and hit the order button so I’m still not sure how this happened. After talking to the customer service people I realized I was going to have to return all this extra stuff.

Unfortunately, with returning so much stuff I couldn’t say it was defective or was in addition to what I purchased. The only return reason that made sense was, “Accidental order.”

So I’m going to end up paying something (probably) for returning all that stuff. Shipping charges. I will probably call and try to get that charge reversed but won’t even know what it is for a few more days.

Also, even though I personally remember removing all those “Not fulfilled by Amazon” choices there they are on my kitchen table with their own very specific and annoying return practices.

I’ve decided to keep them. I mean, can you really have too many Crayola products in your house? We had an art box but it’s been around a few years and there are a lot of dry markers and broken crayons. As for the loss of money that this will entail the time and gas and frustration saved by not wandering aimlessly into Target or Walmart to pick up everything on the school supply list is worth the mistake.

Next year I will make smaller orders over time. I have a feeling such a large order is more likely to have a mistake happen (although I have no proof or actual evidence to believe that) and fixing it is difficult and annoying. Being on a chat and having someone list off almost fifty items in the space of an Instant Messenger chat box? Straight up rage inducing.

Again, maybe that says something horrible about me that I would rather people not know but even at a straight up $50 loss it’s still better to order my stuff online and have it delivered than go to the store and shop. Especially with the pros that enjoy nabbing the last package of crayons or the last pink eraser. I just don’t have it in me to fight people off like that.

So here is my new art supply stash. I had no idea there were Ultra Clean markers now. Since the 4yo will be using them on the regular, that might come in super handy when she decides to use the red as lipstick again. (Yeah, maybe she won’t. Let’s live the dream together.)

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Six washable markers

Two packs of colored pencils

….and a partridge in a pear treeeeeeee!

Mr. Brickie had a great idea. He says other than the one pack for the young’un we should put the others up for next year. They won’t go dry if you don’t open them, right? Either way, there are things we can do with markers, so if I’m going to have stuff in my house I can’t return, let it be things that are used to make art because my girls all love art and coloring.

I mean, hey, it could have been filler paper, right?

How do you go about buying your back to school supplies? I know some people were shopping at a particular retailer because they were donating money to kids who didn’t have school supplies. Maybe I should just ask the girls’ teachers if there are any students who don’t have markers or need colored pencils and then use this as a way to give.

I’ll figure something out. Of course, now that I mentioned the giving that’s what I’m going to lean toward because I love donating money, it makes me feel special.

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