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Tech Savvy: Shopping for school supplies simply

School shopping can be a headache. School Tool Box, a provider of prepackaged, school-specific kits of school supplies, aims to make shopping for school supplies simpler by making the experience virtual with its website.

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Friends laugh as they gather outside Forestview Middle School Friday, May 23, 2021, on the last day of school. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Some people love shopping, but I am not one of them.

I always worry that I am not getting the best deal, that I haven’t done my research or that someone else knows something about saving that I didn’t know.

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Anything that can lessen the must-have-before-it’s-gone mentality that Amazon Prime Day or doorbusters of brick-and-mortar stores of Black Fridays of years past is good in my book.

A coworker of mine who is a parent recently mentioned a service provided by an online company that gets an “A” in my humble opinion with the school year soon upon us.

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Stock Image / Pixabay

Forestview Middle School shared on its official Facebook page a post aimed at anyone who is a parent of a school-aged child that supposedly makes shopping for school supplies simple.

The Brainerd public school post stated Forestview, like other schools across the nation, chose to sell prepackaged school supplies for the upcoming school year through School Tool Box.

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The selected school supply package a parent chooses will be delivered to the parent’s address or place of business through “easy online ordering” that can be customized.

The benefits would include avoiding other back-to-school shoppers scrambling to find the same school supplies suggested or mandated by a particular school.

Michelle Wirth / RiverTown Multimedia
Michelle Wirth / RiverTown Multimedia

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The school supplies that one purchases by using the School Tool Box website are “trusted brand name supplies” from a teacher-approved list, according to the Facebook post.

The suggestion by Forestview Middle School to use the online supplier seems to resonate with at least some parents. More than 35 people liked the idea and shared the post almost 20 times as of Thursday, Aug. 5.

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So how does it work? Head to the School Tool Box website at schooltoolbox.com . Type the school’s name or ZIP code in the search box and a list of suggested schools will appear.

There are customizable boxes one can order according to which grade the student is in, so the buyer can change quantities or remove items that are not needed. There is also free shipping on orders over $50 and expedited processing options available at checkout.

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Forum News Service photo / David Samson

The parent can view the prepackaged box by clicking on the option. A teacher’s note will often appear listing items that are requested but not included in the kit and items that are requested or required, and are available as an optional, add-on purchase.

For example, a backpack or a school bag, a water bottle and gym shoes are the items that are requested for a fifth grader at Forestview while earbuds or headphones, and a USB mouse for Chromebooks are requested or required by the teacher but not included in the prepackaged kit.

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Examples of items that are in the prepackaged kit for a fifth grade student at Forestview include two-pocket folders, spiral notebooks, colored pencils, highlighters, markers, pencils, erasers, permanent markers and facial tissue.

It sounds easy enough and, in my humble opinion, takes the headache out of shopping for school supplies. But if one has a question about ordering, they can call School Tool Box toll-free at 1-800-952-1119 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

School supply photo illustration. Matt Gade / Forum News Service
School supply photo illustration. Matt Gade / Forum News Service

A parent can order from School Tool Box even if the child’s school is not participating in the online program, but the parent should have a child's list from the child’s corresponding school with them while ordering and place each item on the list from the website into the shopping cart.

And here I thought snagging a Star Wars-themed Trapper Keeper — with its sliding plastic rings instead of metal binder rings, and wraparound flap with a Velcro closure — was about the best thing about back-to-school shopping.

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at frank.lee@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL .

I cover the community of Wadena, Minn., and write articles for the Wadena Pioneer Journal weekly newspaper owned by Forum Communications Co.
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