Back to School Shopping Memories
Posted: August 11, 2006
Back-to-school spending is expected to reach about $17.6 billion this fall, up 31 percent from last year's total, according to figures released last week by the National Retail Federation. The study estimated that families will spend about $77 per child this year, which does not seem like a lot of money if you consider all of the things that kids want and/or need to start another school year.
I have mentioned on occasion that I enjoy shopping. However, after getting deluged with "back-to-school " ads on radio, television and in newspapers, I realized that I must have started liking to shop once I became an adult. Nothing was more embarrassing as a kid than when my mother would take me to buy clothes and supplies for the coming school year. My father stayed home to work around the house and watch an afternoon baseball game.
The buying experience itself was not so bad because I saw other young teenage boys having to shop with their mothers, too. But the most agonizing part of the "back-to-school " shopping day was having to try on new clothes. I would often just try on one pair of the new pairs of pants and declare that they fit fine. However, that was not acceptable to the parent buying the clothes. So I had to try on each pair of pants to make sure they fit properly.
Shopping for school supplies was not as dreadful. It seemed like there was something cool and exciting to get each year. I remember in the mid-1970s, school folders featuring the stars of a hit television show were the fad. Then in the late 1970s, notebooks with pictures of a hard rock band were all the rage.
Unfortunately, I was only able to purchase the solid-colored folders with no pictures, logos or symbols. One year, though, my mother did buy me a school folder with the Chicago Cubs logo on the front cover. Of course, those folders were always on sale in August since most baseball fans knew the folder would not be so cool come playoff season in October.
The only thing worse than trying the clothes on in the store in front of my mother and all of the other mothers and store clerks was having to try the clothes on again when we got home so Mom could show Dad what they just bought for me. Luckily, Dad did not much care to see me model my four new pairs of pants, three shirts and a new pair of shoes. This was good becaue I did not have to try on all of the new clothes for the second time. Plus, I was able to enjoy an afternoon baseball game on television with my father. Of course, being a Chicago White Sox fan, Dad still laughs about my Chicago Cubs school folder.