My feelings on back to school shopping

I don’t do traditional back to school shopping for clothes. My children don’t need a new outfit for the first day (or weeks) of school – the clothes they’ve been wearing all summer will still be fine for more than a month. When the weather shifts and we realize what they’ve outgrown – then they will get new clothes.

I do take stock of their shoe situation. My kids run around barefoot or in flip flops all summer and I’ve learned the hard way not to assume that the shoes they wore last May will still fit them in August.

And then of course there are the class supply lists that cannot be avoided. With school starting in just a few days I had waited long enough. So we all piled into the car to buy shoes and school supplies.

Everyone got two pairs of shoes and except for me being grouchy at the $$ everything was fine. Then we had to go shopping for supplies. Between the three kids I had five separate lists of supplies. I had combined these lists before we left home so I had a written list with tallies of folders, notebooks, glue sticks etc. As soon as we walked in the door I realized that was the dumbest idea ever. The girls *need* to know which folders and notebooks they need for each class so they can pick out certain colors & combinations.

Thank goodness for smart phones. I pulled up each list on my iPhone and stood in one semi-centralized location. I then read off a class list and the child got to go get what they needed (after I walked them through and told them which shelf of folders and notebooks etc they were allowed to choose from). Here’s where I start to get annoyed. So annoyed, I think the staff at Office Depot could see steam coming out of my ears.

My kids attend public school. A school that I know has a budget for basic supplies for each child. In fact, for my youngest all I need to buy is a pencil box, a box of Kleenex and some disinfectant wipes for the classroom. Apparently the teachers in the upper grades haven’t gotten the memo. I wasn’t just buying things for my daughters to use – I was even stuck buying classroom supplies for the teacher?!? I bought scotch tape, dry erase markers and glue – not for my child FOR THE TEACHER.

Now, I’m not asking the teacher to use his or her own money to buy these things. And if I lived in a district where they didn’t have the money for supplies, I’d be happy to do my part. But let me repeat what I said earlier – the district has a budget for the teachers to order their own supplies. My son’s school gives him folders, notebooks, pencils, glue, crayons etc. So why in the world did I just spend over $115 on school supplies?? And that was being careful to grab the sale items. This has to be a serious hardship for some families.

I will freely admit I was dreading the back to school shopping anyway just because it’s such a hassle and because I stupidly waited until the week school starts to go. But it wasn’t the crowds that did me in. It was the constant sound of a cash register chiming in my head as I read off list after list of items for my kids to pile in the cart.



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