Crayon inflation and play dough logic

I needed to renew stock of activities for (hopefully) summer trip part 2 coming up next week.

So I’m in the coloring book area… and notice the covers of the cheap and simple coloring books haven’t changed from a year or so ago. Exact same puppy, same kitty, same princess. The books look to be the exact same books.

However….. they used to be a buck.

Now…. 2.50!

Ok, so in the land of 4 buck gas that isn’t insane… but still… 2 1/2 times what it used to be?

Ah well. ‘Tis life I guess.

Sadly enough, I couldn’t really tell you how much the crayon box used to be for a normal price…. as I usually stock up a few gazillion of them during the one week of school supply season when they run between 15 cents and a quarter for the 16 or 32 ct name brand ones. But 2.50 seems a bit steep even from what normal prices usually run.

Have I mentioned this is a pet peeve of mine? The EXTREME difference between school supplies in season vs not. Small, standard notebook? 12 for a dollar, vs 1 for a dollar (if lucky). Regular elmers glue bottle? 15 cents vs 2 bucks. Package of pens? 10 package of ten each for a dollar (100 pens) vs 10 for 1.50. Backpacks? 8 bucks vs 20 or 30.

Granted, I love the seasonal prices… but sheesh… talk about a punishment for not doing massive stockpiling! Somehow I always estimate yearly amount used too high on the number of notebooks, and too low on everything else.

But then, part of that is probably availability. If I have 10 boxes of crayons I got for a dime, then I’m probably not gonna be too flipped out over them getting broken or lost.. and thus probably go through all ten of them faster than if I had only bought 3 at normal price.

I call this my playdough logic. If I have 4 cans I got in the cheap pack for a dollar, they are one time use items and I have few qualms about them being left out, mixed together, melted with water, and in other ways demolished in use. Almost none of these cans survive. But if I have 2 cans I got in a group of just 2 for probably 2.50 or so, much more protective of them being treated right and surviving the first session of play to make it to another round or more.

Similar item, different value based not really on the item itself. Makes no sense, and is probably the most anti-frugal view…. but I catch myself doing it. (Thus why I was looking for the buck coloring books for a trip… lol)

Though I have to say…. school supplies is one area of very few areas where I do not do generic at all. There is a huge difference in so many items! And during season, usually a small gap in prices.

Marker life is longer…. crayons work better…. rulers don’t crack as much… watercolors actually turn to useable paint…. scissors don’t cut red marks into your fingers before you’ve gotten the page cut… “trapper keeper” style binders dont split at the seams….

My mother always used to complain because I went through about 3 backpacks a year. Claimed that it was because I carried too many books and tried to bring home half the library. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I invested double the cheap price to get a good, name brand, sturdy, leather bottomed backpack, to replace my freshman one which had followed the old pattern.

I still have that backpack. Without a single sign of holes. I wonder a bit how many of the cheaper backpacks I didn’t have to buy if I would have put the amount from 2 of them together to get a quality one much earlier.

Ok. So that’s my school supply rant for this season. Out of the way early even!!! LOL


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