The Back to School Marketing began the week school let out for summer. It was hard to stay away from the stacks of new notebooks, folders, highlighters and pencil sharpeners.
But we kept our distance as though ignoring the harbingers of fall would give us extra days at the beach and bike paths.
It was especially difficult for me because I love walking around the aisles thinking- “we didn’t have this when I was in school.” Of course we had no need for flash drives shaped like ladybugs. We were truly old school. I used to think the kid with a calculator on his watch was super rich with his high tech gadgetry.
Now, I wonder if I should equip my eight year old with a tablet so he can compose a symphony, calculate the odds of the Cubs ever winning the World Series again (which he currently estimates at 160 million percent) and design high-tech crime fighting tools to rival Batman.
All I ever wanted was the newest and coolest Trapper Keeper. And to get the stuff that would avoid drawing ridicule from the kids who doled out ridicule. Of course it didn’t matter if my school supplies flew under their radar because my fashion choices or hairstyle or lunch selections or answers I gave in class or my general social awkwardness were enough to supply them with a full year’s worth of material. At least I could start the year off with an awesome collection of scented markers.
We finally came to terms with the fact that the school year is upon us and hit the stores this week. We wanted to avoid the debacles of previous years when we were forced to wrestle a stack of post-its away from a kindergartener on Labor Day and shove a grandmother for the last Blackhawk’s folder. That broad was tough. She kicked my husband for a tube of liquid paper.
We were too late anyway. We should have started on Memorial Day.
The tension was contagious. They should have a happy hour schedule where parents shop without the kids and sip their choice of beverage to dull their senses.
Every aisle was packed with carts and family members were turning on each other trying to determine the intention of teacher-mandated supplies.
A couple argued over wide-rule paper and college-rule paper. The dad argued that their son wasn’t in college so obviously wide-ruled notebooks were in order, to which the mom used language that would make a Marine blush.
A teenage girl yelled at her mom because the supply list required her to get a scientific calculator. Mom hollered back that the teachers shouldn’t be letting her use a calculator because she wouldn’t learn anything that way. The whole store was privy to this argument as mother and daughter weren’t in the same aisle.
I was grateful that this year our sons’ teachers showed mercy by keeping the supply lists fairly basic. Our discussions were limited to buying the 2-pack of erasers versus the 4-pack. Griffin says he plans to make less mistakes this year, so 2-pack it was.
Finally, with our cart filled with hand sanitizer, glue sticks and zip lock bags (all generic!) we made our escape as families ripped each other apart over backpack fashions. In our haste, we almost knocked down the Halloween display. I should really get on that.