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Thursday, August 13, 2015

How to Survive Back to School Shopping

I am a girl that loves summer. I love a break from the constant crazy of the school year. But I have four kids and somewhere around the 4th of July it strikes me that it would be amazing to complete a thought in the next few months. By the time the first week of August rolls in I get excited, borderline orgasmic, in seeing those glossy ads with shiny new Ninja Turtle notebooks on their covers. But what is the best way to shop for 26 glue sticks (true story) and about 800 other items while still keeping your kids happy and you sane? Of course you could go alone or do it online and if you can pull it off I commend you. Godspeed. But my “angels” love to pick out all of things for back to school. All. Of. The. Things. I can’t really blame them. I used to love picking out things too as a kid but somehow I remember picking out a single Rainbow Brite pencil and one pink Trapper Keeper. 

The times have changed and the lists have grown to beyond a Santa level long. Last year I left Office Depot in tears. Actual stream down the face over the cost of dry erase marker tears. Here is what I learned:

1.    Go to Target. For three reasons: 1. They have everything you need. 2. They have everything you never realized how much you need. 3. Starbucks. 4. Palazzo pants. Okay that was four reasons. Math is hard. This is exactly why these kids need to go back to school.

2.    Go early. Have you ever been to the back to school section of any store that prides itself in having a back to school section in the prime heat of an August day? It is one of the scariest sites you will ever see. It literally could be a bad scene from The Walking Dead. Zombies are clenching their school’s token list, dressed in head to toe yoga wear wishing they were at yoga or anywhere else in the entire world mumbling about how many sharpened #2 pencils they need for their zombie children who are shouting that they need poly coated, one with prongs, four without, notebooks, the most expensive pencil pouch and they have to go to the bathroom. Simultaneously. Go early. Get yourself some caffeine and smile, one of the only people there mumbling will be you. 

3.    Get yourself something happy. First. I made the mistake this August of looking in the grown up palazzo pant section last. Like a fool. We’d already been at Target for 4 hours; khaki clad employees were getting off their shifts that we rode the escalator in with. There wasn’t one drop of patience left between the five of us for this grown up on trend pants smorgasbord. We had to abort. Never again will this rookie error occur. Live, learn, shop palazzo numero uno.

4.    Give each older child their own list and basket. It’s about time they started pulling their own weight. Cut up that giant list from hell into smaller lists of hell and let them have at it. It will be a scavenger hunt and the real winner will be you. It looks like someone will have 8 less composition books to seek out to and have more time to find the perfect 4” blunt end scissors for your first grader. Boom. Game changer.

5.    Don’t obsess over seeing the exact item cheaper somewhere else. This  is a surefire way to want to take one of those freshly sharpened #2 pencils straight into your eyeball. That 5 cent glue stick at your local office store seems like the greatest bargain of all time until you get in there and realize they charge triple for all of the other shit you “need” and you’ve spent hours analyzing the cost of glue sticks instead of enjoying these last moments of summer. All equals out in the back to school retail wars. Go to a place that can reward you with a latte beforehand and have time for a cocktail poolside afterward.

Here’s to a beautiful school year ahead and savoring the last taste of summer while it still within our grasp. And to the tireless teachers, I raise my glass to you. Thank you for always being more than we could hope for. I look at every item on that back to school list as one less thing that you have to purchase for your classroom. It is the very least we can do to begin to give back to you. Thank you is an understatement. In the future please feel free to include your favorite store to shop at (or your favorite cocktail) on those back to school lists so we can remember you throughout the year.

Here’s to the survival…


And this was the result. Momma's going to need something stronger than caffeine.

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