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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Back to School Shopping Hell

Today we have Denise from StlMotherhood. She's from The Lou, like me. She has kids, like me. She seems really sweet and genuine, like...wait, nevermind.

Anyway, enjoy:

It’s back to school time.

Actually the signs in the store have been screaming “it’s back to school time!” since July, but I wasn’t paying any attention then. Hell no. July is the middle of summer vacation--no way was I going to crush my kid’s spirits with thoughts of school and schedules and early morning bus rides. We had camps to conquer, trails to bike and beaches to storm. Back to school? No way!

I also let the “tax-free weekend” sale whiz right by me in early August. By this point the whole advertising universe was in a tizzy about getting the kids ready for school.

“You need this cool backpack or your kid will be a loser!”

“You need stylin’ new jeans that your kid will outgrow by October!”

“You need a new these snazzy LOL Cat folders, who cares if the teacher asked for boring purple!”

Still, I didn’t go shopping. There was no way I was going to play cart derby with all the hill folk who flood Walmart in my part of South County just because there’s an 11 percent sale going on. No thank you, Bobbie Sue, I’ll sit this one out.

Soon welcome letters from teachers and principals were piling up in my inbox. PTOs from two schools were sniffing around for volunteers and my son’s marching band started fund raising because, hey, those sequins are not cheap people.

I could no longer avoid the reality of back-to-school shopping.

I downloaded the kids’ back-to-school supply lists. Well, I downloaded my first grader’s list, because apparently high school has a much lower standard for supplies. We have no clue what he’ll need other than a vague “binder and pencils” suggestion from a letter buried inside a 30-page welcome packet mailed to the house.

The first grader, on the other hand, is expected to bring his haul in the week before school.

There are 18 items on Mitch’s list. Or 75 items if you count that he needs 2 boxes of tissues, 5 folders in very particular colors, 4 erasers, 12 dry erase markers, 15 glues sticks and 24 pencils--sharpened, of course.

Naturally, none of these items are to be labeled because they’ll go into the community supply closet. Heaven forbid we teach six-year-olds personal responsibility by having them care for their own crayons and glue. Or worse, suffer crushed egos because Trevor has the 128-pack of crayons and Shiloh got sparkly princess pencils.

Mitch and I trudged off to Walmart to do his shopping. Since we waited an entire TWO WEEKS before schools started, the shelves were picked clean. Gone were the cheap glue sticks and the only yellow folders left had exploding zombies on the front.

We scrapped up what we could and moved on to Target.

Target had the folders we needed: a purple plastic folder WITH prongs and yellow, blue, red and green plastic folders WITHOUT prongs. There’s no room for individuality in first grade, so we have to get exactly what’s on the list or be marked as a free thinker. Or cheap. I’m not sure what’s worse.

Target also had $20 BPA-free water bottles and super cute Bento-styled lunch kits that wouldn’t fit in Mitch’s brand new Iron Man 3 lunch box.

What they didn’t have was three packages of four count dry erase markers with fine tips. Oh, they had thick markers and color markers and dry erase crayons, but black dry erase markers with fine tips? Nope.

The fun of back-to-school shopping had worn off for Mitch about an hour previous, so he kindly suggested that I could maybe drop him off at home to play Minecraft with his brother while I continued the search for markers. Ha, dream on kid. I’m not doing this alone.

Office Max was just down the street. I prayed that they had fine tip markers before I had to extend the shopping trip to another county.

Yes! They had plenty of dry erase markers in every size and color of the rainbow. Including fine tip black markers.

For $6 a package.

$18 dollars for all 12 markers on his list.

Uh, no. I might drive to three stores to get supplies. I’ll happily schlep 15 bags to open house so my kid doesn’t have to bring a butt load of supplies on the bus. I’ll even buy the good crayons that my kid will never see. But I draw the line at $18 worth of dry erase markers.

We’ll just wait for Walmart to restock. In the mean time, I have pencils to sharpen. 24 plain wooden #2 pencils, that is.

~Denise Bertacchi

You can also find Denise on  Twitter and Facebook

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.
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