Friday, September 05, 2008

The Extra Table

I am finding out that kindergarten holds a lot of surprises. The first of which is lunch. Lunches at Eli’s school are $2.05 each day. That alone makes me cringe because the boy eats like a bird. But, I figured this would be cheaper overall than him taking his lunch.

Every day when Eli comes home from school, I ask him what he had that day for lunch. We get the menu a week in advance, so we can see the choices each day. They always have two hot lunch options (I think today you could choose either Nachos or a Hot Pocket) and a cold option - peanut butter sandwich. I started noticing that when I asked Eli what he had for lunch that day, he was telling me things that weren’t on the menu. For example, he told me he had a giant pretzel for lunch, or a big chocolate chip cookie. I wondered why these items weren’t listed on the food menu, so I asked one of the other moms.

She explained to me that there is an “Extra table” in the lunch room. It’s a table right before you get to the cash register that has lots of extra goodies on it. Uh-huh. These extra goodies are not included in the $2.05 school lunch. Dude! I would like to know who the hell came up with this brilliant idea. Who thought it would be a good idea to have a table with cookies on it in front of 5- and 6-year-old kids.

Plus, the kids have a lunch card that they just swipe, so they don’t even understand that they are actually spending any money. Eli told me yesterday that he got cookies off of the Extra Table. I asked him how much the cookies cost, and he said, “They don’t cost anything. You just ask them for the cookies, and they give them to you.” Grrrrrr!

When school started almost three weeks ago, I put $100 into Eli’s lunch account. You can go online to see how much money is left in the account. I haven’t done that yet. Because I’m scared. And in denial. And I’m jealous because things sure have changed since I was in grade school. We didn’t have any freaking Extra table!! WTF?!!


Gayle said...

In our accounts you can actually see what your child is eating and you can limit the amount they can spend each day. Our meals at high school and middle school are $3.50. Not sure what the elementary ones are since Emily won't eat them and I pack her lunch. I also have to pack snacks and drinks for the three boys because the lunches aren't enough for them.

Leeann said...

Holy Cow! They are getting them started on the idea of "credit" very early...scary!

I would be pretty ticked off about just now hearing about the "extra" table...

So what did you tell Eli? What are you gonna do?


Desert Songbird said...

My kids have a snack bar from which they can purchase an extra milk or juice, baked potato chips, a granola bar, or a cookie. The are allowed to purchase from there ONLY if they have purchased a full entry lunch, and then parents are allowed to set a dollar limit on how much kids can buy from the snack bar. My kids know that their daily limit is $0.75 which is enough for one cookie ($0.50) or a milk/juice or a bag of chips. Oh, and the permission my kids have to buy from the snack bar is set on a yearly basis, and I can revoke the permission at any time.

The fact that they have a lunch account makes things easier on me so that I can keep up with their purchases, and I can add to the account online - no need to send them to school with change I don't have.

I'm really surprised your son's school doesn't have a tighter rein on that "extras table." Kids shouldn't be allowed to eat their entire lunch with food that is considered "extra."

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withthanksgiving said...

Don't get me started on school lunches. My kids come home with charge slips all the time when I send in money all the time. So finally I stopped sending in money until I got an itemized listing of what was being charged. I was paying for someone else's breakfasts. They said my son was eating breakfast which is impossible because he didn't get to school early enough. I brought him. Idiots.

Now go read this post I did on those pretzels.

Also, if my son forgets his lunch box in his classroom and asks to go back to get it they say NO. and make him charge lunch. That really upsets me cause now I pay for two lunches. Come on he was in 3rd grade he is going to forget it once or twice or ok three times.

Rachel said...

That's interesting. With the rise of children obesity, you would think that they wouldn't have an extra table with unlimited cookies and cakes available for the child. They are too young to realize the nutrition and instead would think that these cookies were little treats that they could have instead.

Plus, they should let you KNOW that that is where your money is going. Silly schools ;-/

Not Your Regular Mini Van Mom said...

Wow. My 5 year old's have no real concept of money, an extra table could be disastrous. I know they would rather pick cookies and snacks than eat an actual meal. That sucks:(

Frugal Finds said...

LOL!!! We have a similar situation. My husband is convinced the cashier works on commission!! My 1st grader came home telling me how great lunch was that day. I asked what he had and he said pizza, a big cookie, ice cream and juice! The kid was in heaven!!!
I can put limits on his account but I am first trying to work with him and have him learn his own limits. I said ice cream only on Friday. So far it is working.
Frugal Carol

Mo and The Purries said...

Dude, that is wrong.
I could see if it was an 'extras' table of apples and peaches or something, but not of giant cookies.
Best put your foot down early on this one!

Crazy Working Mom said...

At Shelby's school they will not even give them an afternoon snack. Arkansas state law prevents it! We can send them "foods of little nutritional value" and they can eat them during an allotted time in the afternoon, but the school will not give them anything other than their healthy lunches. No birthday party snacks, etc. I'm shocked to see that this school is giving them these choices.