Box Tops for Education: if you’re involved in the public school system in any way this phrase needs no explanation.  It means always being able to locate a pair of scissors and eagle eyes to find an itsy bitsy emblem printed on a bag/box/any one of a gazillion items from the store and someplace to store all those tiny rectangles once you’ve cut them out.

Some schools let you send them in envelopes or bags; others require you to glue them onto Box Tops collection sheets (ugh!).  But one way or another, those things have got to get out of your house and into the school.  My kids’ PTO cranks it up a notch by running collection competition periods that last a couple of months.  Winning a competition means highly coveted bragging rights for having collected the most labels (per school, per grade level, or per classroom).

And just in case there isn’t enough hype surrounding these things, there are incentives for the winning students/classrooms.  They’ve done everything from ice cream passes to popcorn parties to pajama days.  What does all this translate into?  One more thing for me to keep track of in my black hole of a kitchen.

There are several studies I’d love to see:

  • What’s the average amount earned nationwide by Box Tops in a school year?
  • What’s the average payout amount our school earns per year and where does that money go?
  • In our own school, what is a single family’s average dollar amount spent on a year’s worth of products relative to that family’s Box Top contribution to the school?

And an experiment:

  • If shown the data on product purchase prices versus money earned by the school, would families be willing to write a check directly to the school for their Box Top amount (or even, dare I say it, double that)?

Right now I have a jar sitting on my kitchen counter filled almost to the brim with (what else?) Box Tops.  It’s too late to turn them in for this school year so it looks like I’ll be staring at them all summer, but at least it will mean a good kickoff to next year.

Now here’s another parent who appreciates the Box Top dilemma and questions the sanity of collecting school funds a dime at a time.  Enjoy!

I’m Not a Terrible Person, But I Freaking Hate Box Tops.