I have just had the most pleasant experience buying 'fournitures scolaires'. Impossible, perhaps? Mais non, not in this wonderful internet age!
Would you believe that schools have also embraced it in a sensible way? I know, it's difficult, but bear with me. Some bright spark has come up with a way to make life easier for the parental nightmare that is Back to School. Yes, I nearly fainted with relief too.
Back at the beginning of July I got an envelope in the post from my eldest's school with information on a site called Scoleo.fr. I had the vaguest look at it because, frankly, La Rentrée was about the furthest it could be from my mind. Instead I was concentrating on Going on Holiday preparations.
Now that I'm back, that envelope came to mind again, and luckily it did now because any later and it would have been probably too late. Last year I made an Excel spreadsheet with all the stuff I had to buy for my eldest. It was necessary because I had a list of what was needed for each subject. This meant I had to go through the whole list and count off the number of 'grand cahiers 96 pages' and then put the total on the sheet. Going to the supermarket with just the list is guaranteed to send you insane (been there, done it...) so I grouped all the same supplies together.
This morning I sat down to find my spreadsheet and start again for this year but couldn't find it on my computer. I must have run it off at work... I was just about to create a new one when I saw the information about Scoleo and the important information that prices are comparable to those of supermarkets. Ah ha, thought I, this sounds like a Good Idea!
I went to the website and found the school - they have to register first - and found that all was prepared, listed, and modifiable if needed. Wow! They even provide labels, both sticky and iron-on. If your child is careful with his stuff and keeps his compass/protractor/ruler from one year to the next you can remove these items from the list. Mine breaks everything or loses stuff or it gets 'borrowed' so I just left everything as it was.
You can even buy a special school bag (only primary school available this year) which has been specially designed to be light, sturdy and the right size, and complies with all the requirements set by the Ministère d'Education Nationale.
It took me a couple of minutes of stress-free clicking to buy all the supplies needed for September, and the grand total including the labels was 96€ which is indeed comparable to supermarket prices.
You cannot imagine the relief at not having to plan an assault on the supermarket, wondering if I've got it right as I stare disconsolately at shelves of similar stuff (a bit like buying cat food). No, it's done and dusted and will be delivered during the last week of August.