Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The end of an era

For the past several years, I've been clipping those Box Tops for Education from all of the products that have them.  I'd pack them into a sandwich bag until I couldn't fit any more in, and send them with alternating kids.  One year, I had a new bag filled every month.  That was a lot of box tops, and the kids' classrooms benefited.  

I gathered up the last few box tops this morning, put them in a bag, and sent them with the pixie. 

That's it.  There are no more, and there will be no more. 

Not because the program has ended, but because it has...changed. 

I noted, recently, that things that had had the little pink square on them (or two, three, four, or more), were...harder to find.  There were fewer products with that little pink square.  I think Kleenex was one of the first brands to stop putting it on the packaging.  Time was, I could get a big package of boxes of Kleenex from Sam's Club, and cut a dozen box tops off of the plastic packaging. 

They've disappeared from the Motts Apple Juice, the Progresso soup cans, and now the Old El Paso canned goods.  They've disappeared from a lot of cereal boxes, and from the brownie mixes I get. 

Note well: many of these brands haven't necessarily stopped participating. 

The box tops organization changed things up.  Now, instead of taking the box tops off the individual products and sending those to your teacher...

...you download an app, and scan your store receipt. 

Uh, no. 

For several reasons, no. 

First reason: you need a smartphone to participate.  I do not have, nor do I want a smartphone.  I have a flip phone with a camera.  It's as much as I need, and I have that only very grudgingly.  I hate cell phones with a purple passion...the only reason I have one at all is that I drive, and have the kids in the car with me most of the time.  It's a safety device. 

Second reason: while I shop with Amazon (which tracks my purchases) and shop at Sam's Club (membership...does the same thing), I am not in favor of having all of my spending tracked by whomever wants to track it.  I do not see how it's anyone's business what I purchase and when.  And, by forcing us to scan receipts, that's exactly what this stupid program has moved to doing.  If it was scanning the individual things that participate in the box top program, it would be different. 

Third reason: there's no way this program has a database secure enough that it won't be hacked.  There's no way the spending habits of millions of people won't be used by the unscrupulous.  Which includes the governments of cities, states, and nations.  Assuming they wouldn't be automatically granted access from the get-go. 

I had been spending the little bit more to get Kleenex brand tissues--something like $5 more per 12 boxes than the Member's Mark generics that I like just as well from Sam's Club.  That has changed.  Same with spending a few cents more per can for enchilada sauce, or taco seasoning.  Beans, refried beans, and brownies will just be made from scratch (lot cheaper than buying pre-prepared). 

And a direct donation to the classrooms can and will be made instead. 


  1. Concur with all. If I could dump the smartphone, I would, but that's how the kids send me video etc... sigh...