5 Observations on School Shopping
Monday, August 6th, 2012
We did some back to school shopping this weekend, taking advantage of the tax-free shopping days. Luckily my wonderful mother was my partner in the shopping, because trying to wrangle three kids in crowded stores to shop for clothing is a challenge, for sure.
Honestly, my children were very well-behaved and I’ve got them trained to fall in line and stick together like little ducklings after years of working on it, so it was manageable, but it was great to have those extra eyes and hands. One of the things I appreciated was the chance it gave me to look around – usually I’m consumed by making sure I have all three children and that they are all behaving.
In honor of my chance to observe the world during this shopping trip, I’d like to share five things I noticed.
- There are always going to be *those* parents. You know, the ones who are so interested in whatever they are doing they seem to forget that they brought their children along? So, since mommy is intently browsing the racks of clearance lingerie, the kids are peeking under dressing room doors, hiding inside rolling racks, or screaming at a pitch to break glass while trapped in the stroller. It doesn’t matter if we’re in the big box discount store or the high end department store, you can always find them (or maybe they find you – I know I don’t particularly enjoy running into them).
- Parents out there really are sharing the labor when it comes to their kids. As I was navigating the school supply aisles, there were just as many fathers as there were mothers picking up three ring binders and number two pencils. In our house I do the shopping because, well, I want to. But it is nice to see that there are plenty of dads out there who are ready and willing to do their part.
- The parking lot is a dangerous place. Between the drivers who are determined to get the best space to those that don’t seem to recognize the laws of crosswalks (they didn’t put the huge sign that says, “STOP FOR PEDESTRIANS” there for fun, people) you have to be aware of others because they aren’t aware of you. Add in the issues for families of dealing with loading and unloading children and strollers and I’m surprised we all make it into the stores!
- Marketing has determined that girls must have girl clothes and shoes and boys must have boy clothes and shoes. Acceptable for girls? Pink and purple, glitter and sequins, short and shorter. Acceptable for boys? Comic book heroes, blue and green, big and bigger. My daughter wanted Hulk shoes, but was confused as to why they were only on the boys’ side. I struggled to explain to her that for some reason, companies seem to believe that no female consumers will want to wear superhero gear, and that boys aren’t interested in glitter (I’ve met enough four-year-old boys to know that sparkle is universally appealing to the pre-school set).
- For all our differences, we’re all facing the same kind of parenting challenges. Walking through the lunchboxes, I hear a mother telling her four-year-old, “No, I won’t be buying a Justin Bieber lunchbox. Maybe when you’re older.” Did I just have that conversation yesterday? Or standing in the dressing room, struggling to get my son to not go all limp noodle while trying on jeans, I overhear from the room next to us, “Please just stand up straight for one moment so I can see if this fits!” And standing in the shoe store with my children and my mother, asking the kids to, “Hold still so I can feel your toes,” I’m reminded of all the times she said the same to me. We’re each on our own paths, but we’re sharing so much of the journey.
Have you done your back to school shopping? Did yours come with any interesting observations?