pocketplatypus (pocketplatypus) wrote,

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Scholastic Book Fair: notes for parents

I've been volunteering at the semi-annual book fairs at Dinosauria's school each year since she was in kindergarten. I wanted to share some information with you that might help you and your child.

1) Book prices are usually $X.99. If you child comes home and says the book they want is $6, you might want to check the Scholastic website  to make sure that is the correct price. Children come to the cash register, books in one hand, money in the other, and we have to tell them they don't have enough money for all the books. This happens at every Book Fair. In some cases, they don't have enough money to buy even one book. It kills us to have little ones sobbing at the register, but we can't give the books away.

2) If books are being sold as a boxed or wrapped set, we cannot break up the set because your child already owns one of the books.

3) Books do sell out. If they do, don't despair. You may be able to find it at the Scholastic website or at your local bookstore. If the book was available at the Fall Book Fair, and you can't find it on the website or at a bookstore, check Ebay or one of the used bookstore sites.

4) We run out of pennies mid-week. When that happens, we round to the nearest 5 cents.

5) We can refund or exchange for merchandise from the current Book Fair provided it is still in excellent condition and you have a receipt. Please don't bring us merchandise you bought 6 months ago (or longer) and ask for a refund. We can't do it. If your child doesn't like the item you bought him/her, consider donating it to the classroom, school library or public library. Our local public library holds book sales twice a year, so you can donate unwanted items their sale. Social Services and the Pajama Project are happy to receive books as well. Items donated to any of these entities is tax deductible. Your local hospital may also have a children's ward that might like the book for their library.

6) Money should, if possible, be put in a sealed envelope or a ziploc bag, in good condition, with your child's name, the amount enclosed, and classroom number or teacher's name on it. Children lose money, it falls out of holes in pockets, ... You don't want your child to be crying because they can't find their money that they know you gave them. We don't want them to cry, either. Also, we put the receipt and any change in the envelope/bag and tell your child to take it home to you. 

7) If your child is raiding their piggy bank for money to spend, please help them count it and then convert it in to paper money or a check. On the Thursday or Friday AM, a child will come in with a big bag of change and want to spend their money. We have a lot of sales to process, classes coming through to go to lunch or PE, kids needing help finding books. We don't have enough people to devote time to counting your child's $15 worth of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to see if he has enough for the stack of books he's chosen. It seems that every year at least one bag of change will break and go everywhere. We help track down as much of the money as possible that has rolled under tables, while there are children walking through the area asking for help, and inevitably the child will tell us they are sure there was more money, although they don't know how much they had to begin with.

8) We sell a lot of pens, pencils and erasers that kids do seem to use in their classrooms. If you don't want your child to buy them, please have a talk with them in advance about the fact that you are not going to purchase anything from that table for them. Alternatively, ask them for a list of the books they are interested in, and come in by yourself to shop. 

9) When you come to your parent-teacher conference(s) during the Book Fair, please take your kids with you to their classroom(s). We are not a babysitting service for the conferences. At our school, there are one or two chairs outside each classroom where your children may wait for you. Please do not ask us if you can borrow books from the Book Fair to keep them amused. We can't loan them out. I suggest you either bring something to keep your kids amused while you speak to their teacher or come early and shop so they can have their new books to read while they wait.

The people you see unpacking boxes, organizing tables, helping kids and running the cash register are all parent volunteers. We don't get paid for working the Book Fair. Some of the parents you see have taken unpaid time off of work so that they may help out. Others are stay-at-home parents. We are volunteering our time to help out the PTA and the school. Yes, after school when you come to your children's conferences, those are our children sitting on the floor behind the register doing their homework. Sometimes you will see an extra child or two back there, because one of the volunteers has offered to keep an eye on a friend's child(ren).

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