The Book Faire Rant

If you have children in school, chances are you are aware of a little thing called the book fair. This is a thing where Scholastic gives schools a chance to earn Scholastic dollars to spend on scholastic books by setting up a little scholastic shop on campus. Shut up, it’s not a scam! Of course, there’s no discount on the books at the fair and that seems like kind of a dick move, what with Scholastic having a temporary monopoly on school grounds. The specialness of it seems to be that children can buy books at school instead of just borrowing them for free from the school library. But whatever, schools everywhere do them repeatedly so it must be a good deal…right?

Anyway, I’m not here to pee in the book fair Cheerios. I’m here to speak a little truth to adults. If you’ve never volunteered for an event selling precious objects to rabid lemurs, you might not understand what we’re up against here. Having spent roughly two whole hours of my life engaged in this controlled chaos, I have a few requests:

First off, I know it’s really freaking cute to see your kid raid her piggy bank to go buy another Minecraft handbook, but I BEG YOU – turn that change into dollar bills. Please. The cashier does not work for Scholastic. She is the mom who drew the short straw and had to learn a new skill ten minutes before go time. She does not need this shit.

If you don’t have dollar bills (which I totally understand, cash is so last century), could you please sit down with your precious snowflake and make sure he knows how much money he’s packing in that ziplock full of dreams? Count it with him, write it on the bag, write it on a note in the bag, write it on his goddam forehead. Imagine a line full of 7 year olds in all their squirrelly glory. Imagine they’re trying to buy their shiny new books/posters/novelty erasers and get out the door before recess ends. Now imagine you have to count out $6.73 in pennies, nickels, and dimes and then break the news that the book Johnny wants is $6.99.

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Please don’t make me break your child’s heart.


And on that note, Scholastic, $6.99? REALLY? If you’re going to be selling books in pop-up stores in elementary schools across the country, just make it $7. You’re seriously messing with young minds and hearts, here. Also, explaining the whole $6.99 concept to a second grader really drives home how insulting that pricing is.

And one final note to parents: Do not send your kindergartener to school with a fifty dollar bill. Seriously, WTH people? If you’re going to trust a six year old (and all her friends) with anything over ten bucks you are out of your freaking mind.

Please, for the love of everything decent and sane, spread the word. I’ll be volunteering again next year, so it would really help me not lose my mind.

Quick PSA because I can’t help myself: Volunteer at your kid’s school! If you’re rolling with public school, it’s free education and free childcare and it would be vastly improved if more parents just bit the bullet and showed up to help collate workbooks or shelve library books or support those kids who just need a little extra attention. I know it sounds like a charming pain in the ass from bygone days, but a couple hours here and there can have a big impact. Maybe not for your kid, who’s probably sick of seeing you anyway, but for everyone else. And society.

Also, it’s hysterical. Kids are weird.

13 thoughts on “The Book Faire Rant

  1. I remember holding up the line because the last two quarters I needed for my copy of Choose Your Own Adventure were tucked in the impossible to get stuff back from pocket in my pair of Kangaroos shoes.

  2. Oh yes-book fair is fun. We kept a pile of extra change on top of the registers to help the occasional kid out. But the rest is fun! Really! (Not). We only did ours before/after school, so usually parents were with their kids.

    • I’d have come home with all the change, plus a book from the library. My brother would have come home broke, likely in debt to another kid, and he would have left his book on the bus.

  3. OMG!! SO FUNNY & SO TRUE!! REGARDING THE $$, you left out the part: where you have to spend precious minutes “smoothing out” the WADDED up dollar bills that the sturdents have been clutching all the way to school!!
    I DO LOVE THE BOOK FAIR though!! I have been running if for years, with little trouble getting volunteers!! The students are SO EXCITED to go home with a book, because I do NOT PUT OUT ALL OF THAT CR@^ that they send, aside form .50 pencils, erasers & bookmarks!
    BTW…I’ve had kids come with $100 bills, & I do NOT live in Beverly Hills!

  4. Coool – is choose your own adventure like Pick-A-Path? I was sooo addicted to those. I remember meeting more than one horrifying end, then backtracking to see if I could get killed any worse. Luckily it didn’t instil a phobia of decision making… and luckily, despite some truly bad decisions, I’ve never found myself swimming through a lake of acid with bony skeleton arms.
    Have not encountered that particular worst case scenario.

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