A Cost-Benefit Analysis—Or I’ll Show You Where You Can Stick Your Orange Duo-Tang Folder

The new school year is just around the corner, and I’ve been busy trying to get the heathen’s ready. Between weekly trips to the library to find/renew their summer reading books, shopping for pants that actually fit, and trying to find shoes that won’t fall apart by mid-October, I’ve procrastinated a bit too much on procuring school supplies.

In years past, I’ve always purchased the supplies through the school, in pre-selected and packaged bundles. Though these pre-done bundles were a little high in cost, I knew they were part-fundraiser for the school, and they saved me from driving all over town to find duo-tang folders to match the teachers’ ridiculous color preferences. (Orange, really?)

However, when I found out just how much those “convenient” bundles were going to cost this year, I balked and decided to buy the dang supplies myself.

Early Saturday morning, the heathens and I set off to Target. After 30 minutes of what felt like the scavenger hunt from Hell, we managed to find 95% of their supplies. All that was missing was a very specific type of binder, some manila paper and, you guessed it, an orange duo-tang folder. Apparently, Target foolishly assumed that red, blue, green, yellow and purple were enough of a duo-tang color selection this year.

Two stores and a lot of swear words later, we emerged victorious. I saved about 50% from what the bundles cost, so I guess that’s something. However, I now see that the bundles are really a siren’s song of “what are you willing to pay to avoid such headaches?” As I waited in my third checkout line of the day, I was probably willing to pay anything to make the torture stop.

Well, I have a full year to recover from this expedition, but it remains to be seen if I’ll be able to resist the temptation next time. I can say with certainty, however, that if any school supply list next year even mentions the words “orange” and “duo-tang” in the same sentence, then you can bet temptation will win out.

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