Automated Teacher’s Supply Lists

Automated Teacher’s Supply Lists

by JBrooks 18. May 2017 15:59

I was exposed to the back to school scavenger hunt for the first time when our daughter was entering 7th grade. (Don’t know how I avoided it for so long.) We spent 2 hours in Staples looking for a very specific folder. Either Staples didn’t carry it or the store we were in was out of them. My wife informed me that we would be trying another Staples.

I’m a software developer and couldn’t believe the stores were packed with parents who were spending so much time on this antiquated and inefficient process. My wife explained to one of the reasons the process was so inefficient was that the items on the list can suffer from one of two types of frustration. Either the description was too specific making the item hard to find, or it was too vague leaving us to make our best guess at what we should buy.

That weekend I started a website called where teachers can create a supply list and point to the exact items on It is simple, easy to use, free, and the teachers can make as many lists as they want.

To add items to their list the teacher starts by searching for an item on When they find the exact item then they copy its URL from their browser’s address bar and paste it into their list. They do this for each item they add.

When an item’s URL is added to the list the website uses it to go to behind the scenes and retrieve the item’s image, manufacture’s name, description, and estimated price. These are all displayed on the teacher’s list. The URL is also used to create a link from the teacher’s list to the product’s page on Amazon. This is useful when the parents are viewing the teacher’s list from their phones while shopping.

Each list has a unique URL that can be posted on the teacher’s website or can be emailed to the parents.

Of course, teachers can add items to their list don’t have an Amazon link. But for the items that do the surprisingly productive part is that the parents can set the quantity for each item and then click the “Buy from” button. When they do this, all of the Amazon items from the teacher’s list with a quantity greater zero are automatically added to the parent’s Amazon cart ready for checkout.

The lists save the parents time and frustration and ensures that the students have the correct supplies for the teacher.