Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

School Supplies + Demand = Insanity

So apparently there was a memo sent out to all parents recently and it read something like this: “It is now time to BUY ALL OF YOUR SCHOOL SUPPLIES IMMEDIATELY!” People, it is not even August 1st. No schools are open yet. The floors have not yet been buffed. The chairs and desks are still piled high in the hallways. There won’t be anybody barfing in the nurse’s office for at least a month, but here in Wisconsin, school supply shopping has become the official summer pastime.

That’s all well and good. I’m all for getting a jump on things. I’m notoriously early for virtually everything, but there’s nothing to put a damper on summer fun faster than a trip to Target to buy school supplies.

The problem with this annual buying frenzy is the complete lack of school supply buying etiquette. First of all, they should give us skinny carts or a personal Sherpa. They don’t. The carts are large and the aisles aren’t. Then, they should collect all cell phones and children before you are allowed to enter the school supply zone. Because, to use an educational analogy: Mom + supply list + children (multiply by 2 if they are toddlers) + cell phone + cart = complete and utter chaos.

This year our job was easier. It’s my daughter’s first year of high school and Crayola Fine Tip Bold Colors 24 pack Markers are not on our list. (Thank God!) Her requirements are simple and somewhat open-ended. Nevertheless, we ventured to Target knowing that if we waited 3 weeks, everything left over would look lame, which, in the mind of a teenager is tantamount to social suicide.

So back to these manners-lacking moms. Look, we all expect crowds and a bit of bumping into each other and perhaps a few items that are out of stock. No biggie. But it doesn’t help matters when their carts are parked diagonally blocking everyone, their kids are wandering aimlessly and whining and they are on the cell phone gossiping with their girlfriends. Seriously!

I truly wish that mass merchants would employ School Supply Nazis whose sole purpose is to yell at the slow-thinkers, the picky-choosers and those not truly committed to the task at hand. “C’MON PEOPLE, MOVE IT! LADY, PICK A RULER, YOUR KID DOESN’T CARE WHAT COLOR IT IS. SIR, YOUR CHILD IS ALREADY EATING THE ERASERS, PLEASE LEAVE THE AREA.YOUNG LADY, YOUR BOYFRIEND WON’T BE LOOKING AT YOUR NOTEBOOKS – TRUST ME!”

I know, I’m preaching to the choir here. You people are all well-behaved, make your decisions quickly and don’t take along kids that do not want to be there, right? If not, allow me to introduce you to a wonderful new concept: Buying Online. Yes, you can talk on the phone, coddle your children, consider your choices and dawdle to your heart’s content. Brilliant, isn’t it?


At 5:25 PM , Blogger Star said...

Silly me. I went looking for a bathing suit on Sunday. All I found were school supplies!

At 6:22 PM , Anonymous Maryanne said...

We got our lists sent home with the kids on the last day of school. I think the school sent the same list to all the Walmarts, K-marts, Staples and officemax stores within a 300 mile radius because the next day, the summer drink aisle was filled with school supplies. Maybe this is what the elves do as a summer job? I cannot believe how ridicules it's become. This year I checked the girls' supplies and collected the stuff the didn't use or is in perfect condition for another year. For example, they won't need another eraser, ruler, pencils etc. They are of the opinion that each year they are entitled to "new " stuff, who told them this? Anyways, I'm with you, online is the way to go. If you buy at Officemax and spend more than $25, there is no shipping charges. I'm gonna connect with a couple of friends and we are shopping in bulk. It's ridicules to say the least. Great post, I got a real kick out of it.

At 8:19 AM , Blogger Michelle said...

Hello, Michele sent me!

Way cool to see another Milwaukee Mom! :) School supply season always used to terrify me, there was always something on the list I couldn't find! Then our school started selling these kits - they have EVERYTHING on the list, and a new backpack too. They're delivered directly to the school, so you can enjoy your summer!

Have a great day!

At 9:01 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your stores must be on the Florida week is our last week of summer vacation...have I bought school supplies??? Heck no, I fear it, dread it,...I am in denial...because it symbolizes the end of summer vacation? No, because of the people in the School Supply speak the truth. Amen!!

At 12:44 AM , Blogger Shane said...

hey, I don't have time to read this, I've got Christmas presents to buy Woman!

At 9:13 AM , Anonymous susie said...

Hi, Michele sent me!

At 1:55 PM , Blogger Carrie said...

I would do what my mom did. Give your daughter the list and blow the whistle. Give her 5 minutes to get what she needs and carelessly wonder off to the shoe department.

Oh how I miss school!

Michele said hi!

At 2:43 PM , Blogger Shephard said...

(Michele sent me)
Oh, how I remember looking forward to brand new notebooks and folders and pens! And shopping for the just the right one!

But I'm with you, try to pay attention to the others who are in the same boat you are. We should be allowed to use a low voltage tazer on people who block aisles.

Fun read! Now I want to go buy a hello kitty folder. lol At least if I do that online, I won't be embarrassed!
(kidding, of course... no really).


At 3:54 PM , Blogger Twist of Kate said...

Hi there Karen. Technically Michele sent me but you weren't the one above me. I just saw "Wisconsin" in your name so I always have to look because that's where I was born. And in Milwaukee no less. So hi there from me here now living in Southern Cali. Hope all is well over there in my hometown!!!

At 6:53 AM , Blogger Michelle said...

Hello, Michele sent me.

How funny ... I think I had to visit you earlier this week from another Michele game.

Have a great weekend!

At 8:34 AM , Blogger panthergirl said...

You took the words right outta my mouth, sistah! Buy Online. It's also how I avoid Chrismas Shopping Insanity. In fact, I rarely set foot in a store anymore.

I can't believe it will be time for school to start again before we know it.

At 8:34 AM , Blogger panthergirl said...

Ack... michele sent me!

At 8:46 AM , Blogger verniciousknids said...

I'm glad I don't have to do back-to-school honestly sounds like hell!

At 12:39 PM , Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

Parents have to buy school equipment now? Unthinkable.

Micle sent me here.

At 12:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also have a son entering high school, so I'm hoping I don't have to run around in search of the 'correct' fine line primary colors one brand only daughter's school has a program where you pay in advance and the supplies are waiting for them on the first day (which is next Thursday, by the way!!!).
Yesterday was spent shopping for school clothes. Both my kids are in parochial school and have worn uniforms since Pre-K. My son, however, is entering a Catholic private school (different from the regular system), so school clothes shopping was a new experience for me. I miss uniforms already...sigh.

Love your blog...I see your comments at Michele's, and even though she didn't officially send me here, I had to take a look.

Happy Sunday!

At 7:00 AM , Anonymous cyndy said...

Hey I don't have children but the idea of buying online is a great one! It's amusing (not for the moms I'm sure) when I go into Target or the like during the "back to school" sales!
Here from Michele

At 3:53 PM , Blogger Just a trumpet player said...

School supplies... I'm from a familly were we always wait until the day before to finally wake-up... maybe shopping online IS the thing for me...

Michele sent me ! Have a great weekend !

At 3:58 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

I think I'm going to take a nap now, and I'll wake up when back-to-school season is over. The whole thing stresses me beyond belief.

Mind you, I sure could use a new pencil case. Any suggestions, Karen?

Thanks for making us think again. You always leave us with something to chew on.

At 3:58 PM , Anonymous Heels said...

Though I am selling one kidney and half of my liver to pay for it, my daughter's school provides all school supplies in house. It's inluded in the tuition (along with lunch).

No school supply shopping ever.

That leaves me free to purchase the composition notebooks I love so dearly in bulk at this time of year, when they are $.50 each.


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