Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Public school student? Bring your own supplies


schoolboyI have no children and I left the public school system in 1991, so perhaps it’s not news to some of you that parents of public school children are paying for things that we never would have dreamed we’d pay for when I was in school. To OfficeMax Chief Operating Officer Sam Martin, who visited our Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit on Wednesday, this stuff is no surprise at all because he’s the one selling it to the parents.

On his short list of products that parents in some school districts are paying for: markers, chalk, tissues, paper towels.

Seriously? Why? “I think the budgets of local schools are pressured,” Martin said. “The trend started a year ago. I expect to see it expand.”

And are parents, as one of my colleagues asked, down with that? “Whether they’re down with that depends on the mom. I know I supply a lot for my son.”