Supercenter retailer Meijer recognizes that “back to school” carries additional meaning this year.
With COVID-19 forcing teachers, parents and students to adapt to new learning environments — both in physical and virtual classrooms — Meijer yesterday extended its 15% teacher discount on classroom essentials to cover the whole 2020-21 school year, not just the back-to-school season. In August, the Midwestern chain also added face masks and hand sanitizer to the list of items eligible for the discount.
Other products available for the discount range from spiral notebooks and schoolroom essentials like Crayola, Elmer's Glue, Sharpies and Post-It Notes to planners, journals and memo boards. Teachers also can apply Meijer mPerks Rewards with the 15% discount for added savings, as well as take advantage of additional price drops on more than 400 items as part of the retailer’s daily back-to-school specials through Sept. 26.
“There are so many uncertainties as teachers head back to classes, and we’ve heard the plans may change throughout the year. So our goal is to help them shop with confidence whenever they need to refill supplies,” Brandon Pasch, director of back-to-school merchandising at Meijer, said in a statement. “We hope that extending the 15% discount for the entire school year helps reduce the stress to their pocketbooks as they continue gathering supplies for their classrooms and home offices.”
A recent Center of Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey found that 94% of public school teachers spend their own money on notebooks, pens and other supplies without reimbursement, Meijer reported. Other experts have estimated that the average teacher spent more than $745 out of their own pockets during the last school year, the retailer said.
Results of a Meijer survey released last month revealed that teachers expect to repeatedly adjust, refill and update their supplies multiple times in the coming months. More than 80% of respodents said they expect a mixture of virtual and in-person learning to become the “new normal” for students. Thirty percent of teachers surveyed said they plan to buy electronic items to set up virtual learning in their homes.
Meijer said it typically expects more than 80,000 teachers across the Midwest to use its teacher discount. Teachers can get the paper coupon for the discount by presenting a current school ID at the customer service desk of their local Meijer store. The coupon can be used only for purchases made in-store. Teachers can repeatedly obtain a new coupon each time they return to Meijer during the back-to-school shopping season.
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer operates 253 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.