The 10 People You’ll Find at the School Book Fair

It’s Book Fair time again!

Even kids who haven’t willingly opened a book the entire school year completely lose their minds over Book Fair.

And who can blame them? Especially when the decorating committee transforms their simple library into some magical land, like a medieval castle, or an undersea experience, complete with a bubble machine at the entrance.

Even if you’ve missed the Book Fair reminder notes in your kid’s folder or all the giant red banners around campus, it’s hard to miss the kids wandering around after school dressed as human billboards ringing bells and spreading the news about the Book Fair.

My daughter’s in the 5th grade now (and one of the human billboards,) so I’ve been to my share of Book Fairs. Heck, I’ve even been known to volunteer to work the Book Fair a time or two and I’ve got to admit, I still get caught up in the festivities.

Although the faces change from year to year, the general School Book Fair population remains the same. Here are the Top 10 types of people you’re likely to meet during elementary school Book Fair Week.

  1. The “This Ain’t My First Book Fair” Parent – This parent immediately gets into the mile-long checkout line and has their child round up their stack of pre-approved books and arrive back in line at the precise moment that it is time to check out.
  2. The “We’ll Go to the Book Fair Tomorrow” Parent – This parent has absolutely no intention of crossing the threshold into the Book Fair but has run out of stalling tactics. She will eventually be talked into giving her child money to shop at the Book Fair solo the next day.
  3. The “Make it Rain” Kid – This kid’s parents sent them to school with a $20 bill and have way too much faith in their child. They promptly select a $4.99 book and spends the rest of their money treating all of their friends to chocolate-scented pencils and sport-ball shaped erasers from the impulse-buy section.
  4. The “How Much Does This Cost?” Kid – This kid’s parents sent her to school with $5 and no concept of “things that cost $5” or “sales tax.” She will use her entire Book Fair time walking up to the check out with giant stacks of Lego Star Wars Encyclopedias and other $30 items asking, “does this cost $5?” She will finally leave after the check-out volunteer personally pays for her sales tax on her $4.99 book.
  5. The “Book Fair Volunteers” – After approximately 2 minutes of system training, these volunteers have to check out a thousand kids who are already late for class while simultaneously attempting to assist several “How Much Does This Cost” Kids and politely suggest to all the new “Make It Rain” pencil recipients that perhaps they shouldn’t accept such gifts. You should hug them or offer to buy them a drink.
  6. The “We Can Get This Cheaper at” Parent – This parent slowly chips away every bit of her child’s Book Fair excitement by continually informing them how much cheaper they could get the books at (and then forgets to ever order said books.)
  7. The “This is a Book Fair, Not a Poster Fair” Parent – This parent has to continually redirect their child away from the posters of cute kittens and puppies as well as any other impulse items. There is a good chance that whatever book their child finally chooses will come with its own necklace.
  8. The “Book Fair Lunch” Parents – These parents somehow got suckered into not only coming to the Book Fair but also bringing lunch for their kids to eat in the Book Fair themed dining area. They spend most of the Book Fair trying not to drip their leftover Wendy’s Frosty on the merchandise while repeatedly asking their child, “what time are you supposed to go back to class?” These parents are easily talked into impulse items so they don’t look lame next to the “Make It Rain” kid in line next to them.
  9. The “After Hours” Parents – The “After Hours” crowd is much better dressed than the lunch crowd and also significantly less open to impulse buys. You can just tell by the look in their eyes how ‘thrilled’ they are for the “after hours” night when the Book Fair stays open late so that they too can experience the magic of Book Fair firsthand.
  10. The “You Know They Sell Books Other Places, Right?” Parents – These parents support a “we’ll take one of each” approach to the Book Fair and require a stroller or their own personal hold pile at the check out. Perhaps it’s out of an “it supports the school!” mentality, or perhaps they used to be the “Make it Rain” kids when they were little.

Happy Book Fair!

Originally posted at my The Dusty Parachute blog.

Sign up for my monthly (okay, more like annual) newsletter!

school book fair