"Free stuff always seems to bring out the dumb-ass in people."

Forget the 99 cents store. Yesterday was Free Things Day. I totally forgot -- but maybe you were there. Down at the warehouse, until 2 pm teachers or school-based staff could pick out things -- file cabinets, etc.

Did you go? Did you get good stuff?

One reader writes: "I had an interesting experience today at CPS's Free Things Day. It was poorly organized and a total zoo - long lines and quite crowded, though the workers kept a cheery disposition and seemed to be doing their best. One of the workers mentioned this free-for-all type of event was a CPS first, so I'm sure they've learned some lessons.

"What was available?

General office supplies - hanging file folders, envelopes, printer paper, pens and markers, tape and tape dispensers, staplers, binders, desktop and desk drawer organizers, letter trays, paper clips, etc.

Computer gear - printers, monitors, fax machines, keyboards, and a few woefully outdated computers.

Furniture - a lot of rolling, mildly cushioned desk chairs, filing cabinets, table tops (most, oddly enough, without legs), a desk here or there.

A decent range of stuff that CPS does not or will not purchase for teachers, sometimes because of downtown priorities, sometimes because of principal spending priorities. Neighborhood schools have it especially tough because we simply are not allocated the equitable resources compared to the selective enrollment schools.

"I got a printer, lots of pens, a box of printer paper, a few envelopes, tape and dispensers, a coupe staplers, binder clips, and a few light bulbs. The desk chairs were seriously hot items! I arrived 45 minutes early and lost out to those who beat me to the punch. CPS will be delivering anything teachers couldn't carry on their own.

"Free stuff always seems to bring out the dumb-ass in people, too, as illustrated by three incidents which occurred during my 30 minutes at the warehouse.

(1) I labeled the top of a small 12x12 box with an 8.5x11 piece of paper listing my name, school, and mail info. I turned my back to pick up another box a few steps away and some other teacher, in less than 10 seconds, had removed my label, opened the box, and was placing the items I had selected into her own box.

(2) I was selecting reams of colored paper and putting them into a small box when another teacher reached into the box I was loading (and holding!) and took a ream while commenting to me "Oh, this is a pretty color!"

(3) I had stacked my boxes in the area designated for storage until shipping time. As I left I noticed that someone had opened my sealed box of paper and replaced my 6 reams of colored paper with white paper.


Filed under: Events & Deadlines

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