Friday, August 28, 2009

Message Sent and Received

I hear you Murphblog readers. When I brilliantly connected the greatest song in the history of rock and roll to writing, you yawned. When I bared my soul and shared one of my precious gastrointestinal distress poems, you checked your watch like a former President listening to his wife talk. But when in the context of a midly entertaining anecdote about swimming with my cell phone I mentioned that we at the Murph household do not have a land line, impassioned discussion took place in the comments.

So I hear you. You obviously do not visit this award-winning blog to read about the craft of writing. You do not wish to be subjected to my poetry. You're far more interested in the minutiae of my life. Fine. I understand. Really, I do. My life is fascinating.

Why, just last week I went shopping at Kohl's and promptly misplaced the "Kohl's Cash" that The Wife was going to use to buy new clothes for our daughter. She seems to think Little One should be attired in clothing that actually fits. I couldn't find the "Kohl's Cash" anywhere, so I was forced to look in the only place I hadn't--the curby. But when I opened the curby, what did I find? Maggots! Scores of them! As we had never had maggots in our curby before, I think it's safe to assume the Kohl's Cash was somewhere in there and that it had attracted flies.

And then, just yesterday, I went to Office Max to buy folders for my classroom. And they had them! For one penny apiece! As I needed about a hundred, this was an exceptional find. Until I read the sign notifying me that there was a limit of six per customer. I asked an Office Max guy if I was missing something and he said no, they were in fact one cent. "But you can only buy six," he warned. I responded, "Whose brilliant idea was that?" He said, "Not ours."

I've yet to unravel the logic behind this strategy. Normally, products get priced low because a store wants to get rid of them. Since that's obviously not the reason in this case, perhaps they were attempting altruism. In their little, pea-sized minds, they were helping struggling familes who only need to buy a couple of folders for their kids. But I'm pretty sure a family who needs a couple of folders would be willing to pay ten, twenty, maybe even fifty cents per folder. Folders don't typically break the bank. The best I can figure is that Office Max is using the one penny folders to lure educators like me into the store in the hopes that I buy something else, because who in their right mind is going to only spend six cents? They then hope that I will keep returning to the store, buying six folders and other assorted Office Max crap each time, until I have acquired the total number of folders needed and they have taken me for a swift ride on the Fleecing Express.

Well they're not going to get me. I have a way to punish these foolish retailers. It is called my debit card. I did a little online research and it seems that retailers pay between $0.35 and $0.55 per debit card transaction. So if I only buy the six folders, Office Max will lose 29-49 cents each time. Bwahaaahaaa! Maybe, after ten visits, they'll see the light and let me buy in bulk.

17 comments:

Anita said...

I lost my comment, because I hadn't clicked on curby and then decided I better, in case there was a photo of the maggots, and when I left curby photo, my comment was gone, but maybe you have it (can't believe there was no maggot photo...am now suspicious about the maggots even existing and am wondering what REALLY happened to the Kohl's cash).

Big Plain V said...

Heh. I thought you were mis-spelling "Kirby".

Fascinating post, though, Murph.

Monica said...

you are truly fascinating. i like the curby photo. thank you for not putting in pictures of the maggots.


ps.. i've still got the land line...

DebraLSchubert said...

Riveting. I'm speechless.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Debra--I don't for a second believe you're speechless.

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

Cool. Now I know what a curby is, which is way more helpful than knowing you don't digest beans well.
Off to pull my money out of Office Max stock. Thanks for the insider tip.

Kelly said...

I didn't know what a curby was either!
Okay, thank you for reminding me about the Kohl's cash as I have some that probably should be spent before it expires. I hope it's not in the trash (mine has ants, but thankfully no maggots).

MG Higgins said...

Personally, I would have liked to see the maggots. Isn't that strange--your gaseous poem grossed me out but not maggots? And I happily rambled on in your phone post about farts. Huh. Blog readers are so unpredictable.

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Office Max blows maggots. I think you need at least a misdemeanor on your resume to work there.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Henceforth, I am going to call it Orifice Max.

Empress Awesome said...

Maybe you should buy them one at a time instead. Go everyday, at the same time, and each time pretend that you've never been in there before. That would be amazing!!! I almost want to do it too. Make sure you videotape the experience if you decide to do it.

Anita said...

One more thing: Don't the parents at your school have to provide folders and other stuff?

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Ha! Good one, Anita.

We request a very few items from parents, but have been warned that it's technically illegal to require parents to provide anything for their child's education. In a good year, half the parents buy the things we ask for(Kleenex, notebook, pencils, pens).

My district has a free/reduced lunch population of around 40%.

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

Is that a state law? Our school requires us to buy twelve different things (including four folders), and asks that we provide three others (including kleenex).

Also, have you ever read Stiff? It's a non-fiction book about what happens to bodies after death, and the writer doesn't like the word maggots so she calls them haciendas instead.

Anita said...

Our supply lists are a mile long. A company called EDUKITS handles most of it. So parents go online, pay for the kits (anywhere from $50-70) and a box with all the supplies arrives at school for each kid.

Where I went to school as a kid, if you didn't get free lunch (which was very obvious by the color of your lunch ticket), kids felt sorry for you. Seriously. They were like, "Damn, you have to pay for your lunch? That sucks."

Paul Michael Murphy said...

I stand corrected. Did a little research and while there is no law forbidding required school supplies, there is nothing a school district can do to compel parents to purchase the materials. In other words, I can ask for whatever I want, but parents don't have to buy it.

In my district, principals have always told us to use language like "suggested items" and "We are requesting..." instead of making the supply list sound mandatory. The message has also been sent that we should ask for the bare minimum.

In the instance of the folders, I could have requested them, but I can usually get them in bulk for a better price. (Plus I'm a control freak about stuff like this and I color code the subjects and I need folders with brads, not without, etc.)

In the past, I've asked for hand sanitizer and many parents have sent in the tiny sample bottles, so I know if I ask for folders I'll get all kinds.

DebraLSchubert said...

Damn. You know me too well.