Wednesday, January 25, 2012

For The Love Of Office Supplies ...

I have always loved school supplies.

When I was younger and my mom would haul me with her to the pharmacy where she paid our electric bill – and perhaps picked up prescriptions, too – I was allowed to wander down the school supply aisle because it was in line with the service window, so she was able to keep an eye on me.

I was in my heaven among the Pink Pearl erasers and translucent rulers and spiral-bound notebooks, the bane of teachers everywhere. Pencil boxes and markers – oh, markers – and folders and packs of loose-leaf paper. And the piece de resistance, the box of 64 crayons with the sharpener built in.

Heaven, I tell you. Heaven.

And sometimes, my dad would take me to the stationery store when he had to pick up a new rubber stamp for his business. I remember the day I discovered larger binder rings. He bought a few of them for me. They made excellent bracelets.

To this day, I'm plenty happy to wander around an office-supply store. Sometimes, I even need to buy something. My relationship with binder clips is well known to many. (Doesn't everyone have four sizes on hand?)

The store I frequent most frequently begins with an Office and ends with a Depot. And recently, the location I frequent most frequently moved. From next door to the Bed Bath & Beyond to the space formerly occupied by Barnes & Noble.

The new location is carpeted. It feels wrong.

And now I have to learn the new layout. I used to know right where I was headed when I actually needed something, but now, oh, nothing where it's supposed to be.

But I was there the other day because I needed to buy some shipping boxes. I spied the shipping supply section. Labels. Tape. Bubble mailers. Tubes. Clasp envelopes. But nary a box. Seriously? Could they only be had online? Crap.

But no. I found them. All the way at the back of the store. Which made no sense. But fine. I grabbed four 6x6x6 boxes in their flattened state, $1.49 each. Six bucks for four boxes. That seemed kind of silly.

Then I remembered that I needed jewel cases. (Yes, I still use them sometimes.) I found my way to them and was reaching for a 50-pack for $16 and change when I spied a 30-pack for ... $7.59.

Now, math was not my best subject in school, but I did OK on my 2s when I learned multiplication.

$7.59 x 2 = $15.18

and

30 x 2 = 60

Huh. Ten more cases for less money?

I didn't need 50 anyway. So I grabbed a 30-pack and headed for the checkout, still thinking that $6 seemed like a lot of money to spend for four boxes, but c'est la vie.

At home, though, I looked for them online. Uline sells boxes.

Do you know what Uline charges for a 6x6x6 box? $0.26. Yeah, that's right: 26 cents.

Granted, I have to buy at least 25 of 'em.

But do you know what 25 x $0.26 is?

$6.50.

So, yeah, Office Depot won't be seeing any future box-buying business from me.

I requested a Uline catalog today. It's available online, but I still like printed pieces. I am more than a little giddy at the thought of ordering mailing tubes for shipping sleeves of cookies. And boxes in assorted sizes. And bubble mailers.

No crayons. But lots of other good stuff. Including jewel cases.

Heaven.

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