Walking into Walmart this past weekend, I could have sworn that I had missed a few months and that it was Black Friday. People were everywhere, swarming in little circles around the school supplies. It was like bumper “carts” and utterly ridiculous. The “Back to School” tax free weekend has become a mini-Black Friday.
Everywhere you turned there were big balloons screaming “TAX FREE,” people bustling about holding up school supply list and not watching where they were going. My mother had the boy this weekend and so it was just the little flower, Daddy and I. As we maneuvered our way down aisles filled with people, I suddenly realized that I did not care about the “tax free” as much as I did my life, so I quickly got out of there.
I had my toes run over, was hit in the hip with numerous carts and my darling little one had the deer-in-the-headlights look as people scrambled over one another trying to get the last red folder or the skinny pack of dry erase markers (it’s a little absurd how specific these school supply lists are). And why do we all have to buy dry erase markers? My child does not need them, his teacher does. So every class will have at least 20 packs of skinny and thick dry erase markers, which I assume are for the teachers’ use on their dry erase boards. I am empathetic to the budget cuts but this is crazy. Well, not quite as crazy as having to purchase 20 glue sticks, that’s right 20.
As I managed to successfully emerge from the throngs of eager parents getting their tax break this weekend, I breathed a sigh of relief. I made it through without too many injuries and my child was still securely fastened in the cart. Score for me. As soon as I got home and the boy was dropped off, I heard even more horrific tales of shopping. My mother had to wait in an outrageous line just to buy the kids some back-to-school shoes that were severely picked over. Others told tales of scrambling to grab the last zipper pouch pencil holder, and then there was my experience.
I came to realize that really I wouldn’t be saving that much money and that next year I will shop when I want to, not when someone tells me it’s the “Back-to-School “ weekend and I need to go right now. The supplies will be there for at least another month and they will restock, supply and demand folks. So next year will be more peaceful of a shopping experience and not the madhouse it was this year. But, at least the boy is ready for school, all 36 pre-sharpened pencils, 20 glue sticks, five color coordinated folders (that have to be plastic), dry erase markers for his teachers, a box of quart-sized plastic bags, a pack of baby wipes, three notebooks and so on, you get the point.