* M is for merchandising

I am a sucker for shiny teacher catalogs.  Boy, do those companies know how to merchandise teacher goodies!  There are a multitude of items I never imagined purchasing until I saw those impeccable, clutter-free classrooms.  Better yet, have you seen the kids that come along with the products?  They are perfect.  Smiling, unmoving, fascinated with teacher ware- what’s not to love?

OK, I admit that sometimes merchandising can be a little slippery.  For example, I bought this handy dandy Smithsonian Rock and Gem Dig.  Perfect for a 4th grader studying rocks and minerals.  And look what’s included!  All the tools you’d ever want for digging a tiny brick of sand.  This oversized box could hold SIX of those little bricks, believe me.

Smithsonian rock and gem dig

Look again.  See the hammer and chisel?  That’s how big they are.  See the tumbled stones?  In reality, they are a microcosm of that size.  (Yes, the box does indicate that minerals are enlarged for viewing purposes.)  What about those safety goggles?  The ones that might fit a 5 year old?  If you read the box cover carefully, you’ll see what I missed!


Actually, there was one more fascinating feature: all the miniature minerals were clumped in one spot, in the very center of that small brick of sand.  Hmm, a student blogged that his arm hurt after excavating.  Well, that’s merchandising for you!


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