Read This & Consider Yourself Schooled on Shopping

We just returned home from school shopping. It was mostly a pleasant experience, with the exception of one heart-breaker for the sixteen-year-old, which I will post about in a few minutes. I want to share with you what I learned (or was reminded of) today.

1. I am soooooo happy that, two years ago, I went totally overboard on school supplies when they were on clearance in September, because with the exception of one unexpected (for this year) purchase, I only spent $30 to complete the supply lists. (Technically the older boy doesn’t have a list yet–he’s a junior this year and we get the supply lists from each teacher after school begins…but he knows basically what he needs so we made our own list.) I keep a big plastic container full of all the supplies I’ve purchased on clearance: pens, pencils, post-its, paper clips, folders, you name it: it’s there. Yay!

2. I learned that, before making the back-to-school budget, I should really look closely at the supply list and remember that my kid is in Accelerated Math and needs extra supplies. The one thing that wasn’t in that big plastic container that busted my budget? The graphing calculator the thirteen-year-old needs for Algebra. I initially didn’t see that on the list when I made my budget, and when I did…BOY HOWDY was I ticked. You see, graphing calculators are the expensive ones. I got his for $100.

3. I am happy that I made the boys try on and count the pairs of jeans that they have (that fit). Because I did that, we didn’t need to buy any. I had them do the same for shirts. Ditto. The younger boy could use a long-sleeved shirt or two, but we didn’t get any, because of number 6, below. Short sleeved shirts? We’re good.

4. I am also happy (see the trend?) that I have two boys who will dress up when asked but really don’t care to be a trendsetter, fashion-wise, on the first day of school. My mom always made a huge deal (in a good way) out of what we would wear on the first day of school, and it was new, most of the time. My boys (maybe it’s a boy thing?) could care less.

5. On the other hand, I had a chuckle when, at JCPenney, we had to stop in the dress shirt and tie department to check out the clearance ties. My boys, probably due to the Bar Mitzvahs and having to wear dress shirts and stuff so much for Saturday services, LOOOOOOOOOVE ties. I think that’s awesome. They like ties like some women like shoes. The older one picked out a green plaid number, and the younger one picked out an abstract (black background with tan, gray, and brown squarish outlines). Total cost of the ties? $6.00. FOR BOTH. We were all amazed.

6. I learned that, though the salesman told me that “No, it’s still just too early”, JCPenney and probably most other stores are not putting out too much of their fall, long-sleeved clothing yet because they still have a crapload of summer stuff left that is just not going away. (Ugh: the Economy!) Don’t tell me it’s still just too early, Mister. I’m not shopping with a baby: I’m shopping with teenagers. I’ve been shopping for school for what, eleven years now? I KNOW that I have been able to find a nice selection of long-sleeved clothing at this point. For goodness sakes, in about a week or two I’ll start seeing Christmas stuff!!!!!

7. When shopping for gym shoes, I learned that my younger son is very picky about shoes and crabby while shopping for them, just like his mother.

8. I also learned that my older son would be happy if he has to order custom shoes someday because his feet are too big for the ones in the store. He was ticked off because he hasn’t gone up a size since the last pair of shoes (he wears a 12 to 13, depending on the shoe) we bought. For the record, he said that if his feet DO get big enough for custom shoes, he will pay for them himself. Ha.

9. I learned that I shouldn’t sit down on the floor at Sears, to measure the kids feet (there were no salespeople around: what a surprise), just three hours after I teach a legs class. Getting up was a challenge.

10. I learned that, although I’m excited for the back-to-school routine, I really am going to miss being around my awesome kids for much of the day. Well, sometimes I’ll miss it. (hee hee)


  • Andie

    wow. the JCPenney here has big ole honkin sweaters out (like ginormous cable knit ones!) and it was 96 degrees outside today.

    Summer stuff sells year round around these parts. LOL

  • Melisa

    Deanna: Yes, OCCASIONALLY. 🙂

    Andie: You’re KIDDING me! In Louisiana in August? JCPenney execs must be FREAKS. Maybe I’ll send my kids down there for some shopping with you.

  • Astrogirl426

    ‘Round these arts, we are in what I like to call the “honeymoon” phase of back-to-school shopping. The Bunker Monkey starts kindergarten in two weeks, and he only has about 8 things on his list (3 of which we have around the house). But my mom was a big “uy it on clearance and stash it” supplies buyer, so we always had lots of supplies on hand (is it me, or did anyone else LOVE raiding that box? There wasn’t anything better than going in there and getting a new notebook, or – heaven! – new pens! Yes, I was a geek :).

    But I do thank god on my knees that I too have a non-fashionplate boy, who could care less if he is stylish, or even wearing anything clean…or even wearing, well, anything. Lucky me! 🙂

  • Movie Maven

    Have you seen that JC Penney ad that is a total takeoff of The Breakfast Club movie? It cracks me up, because all kids will not get it at all, and it’s aimed solely at us moms doing school shopping and getting all nostalgic.

    Also, hear hear for having boys who could care less about clothes. My oldest only cares that he has his funniest t-shirt clean for the first day of school!

  • Melisa

    Astrogirl: I guess we’re both lucky! Yay us!

    Melanie: And that makes three of us! Hurray for boys! (and I HATE that Penneys commercial. Even my 13yo recognized it when we saw it tonight: he said, “Hey, they’re doing the Breakfast Club!” He knows it’s one of my all-time favorites and was appropriately offended. 🙂 )