Back-to-school sales signal looming end of summer

August 13, 2013

We’ve had a lot of alerts this summer - flash floods, traffic, severe thunderstorms, screaming drivers, vehicles being driven by zombies, blindingly milk-white bodies and extreme heat temperatures being the most prominent. But this is right up there with tornadic activity; in fact, it should be an app on your phone. That is the back-to-school buying supplies flash mob alert.

Yes, the kids you shipped off to camp, which seems just like yesterday, are back. They’ve arrived with electric hair, particles of dust for underwear and wearing someone named Criswald’s clothing on their back. You meticulously marked their own name in each piece of clothing, but it is one of the great mysteries of camp life that all clothing will eventually disappear. Show me a kid with the right clothes, and I’ll show you someone who never made it to camp.

But never fear, they aren’t the worse for wear. If anything, your young campers have learned all kinds of new experiences, such as the correct way to fold the counselor’s laundry, how long to hold your breath so you can burp multiple times, and more importantly, how to use a compass when sent out on an important mission, such as delivering a note to Tanya, the blonde counselor at the girls’ camp next door. They know she must be a very important person because their counselors were always looking through binoculars to identify her.

But now they are back. After sleeping for days, OK, there have been a few nightmares, then eating the entire refrigerator empty, they are ready for the next experience - buying school supplies. Well, actually, neither of you is ready for it.

But I digress, which I usually do when forced to write this stupid, stupid column, I mean give my opinion. When I was growing up, as a young child, I was obsessed with school supplies. Those supplies consisted of four No. 2 pencils, an eraser, a tiny ruler and for some reason a fold-out map of the world, which was strange since most of my classmates had only ever set foot two blocks from the school.

In fact, they would go on to marry and live two blocks away, but that is another story.

There were no backpacks; all of the supplies were held in a cardboard pencil case. The colors were plain as this was serious business, especially if you happened to get Miss Frost as a teacher. She stood in the back of the room eating oranges and sucking pulp out of her teeth to the point where the noise would set the entire class into one giant facial tic. They would leave stumbling out of the building.

But my obsession with school supplies took on a new meaning when I transferred to another elementary school and found out that the nuns readily gave out writing paper and pens so you could continue God’s work at home. Now you are talking!

Today though, traditional school supplies have gone the way of the slide ruler and the spit curl beehive hairdo.

The stuff kids have to lug to school in their backpacks is about the same amount of supplies you would load up for a trek across the Alaskan tundra or if you are setting out on a military campaign. I don’t know what’s in there, but you can hardly see them under their burdens.

I was in a store that sold supplies last week. Lists were flying around with frantic mothers crossing things off and trying to get the attention of their kids who were no longer in sight. Everything from neon markers to neon notebooks were sailing into baskets. Apparently the color is supposed to entice you into working harder.

Still, a lot hasn’t changed in school supplies. However, there is a way to endure this experience. Donate school supplies for someone else as you leave the store. It should be easy to do, and it will put a smile on your face.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

Welcome to The Cape Gazette Archive.
This content is provided free of charge
thanks to our sponsor:

Close ad in...

Close Ad