I'm not a procrastinator and usually pretty organized, but this year I really failed on school supply shopping. The 2 hour shopping event turned me into a folder hunting crazed mother!
I think the Back-To-School displays were up in stores just a month after school let out for the summer. I'm not, and never have been that kind of super-efficient mom that does school shopping before the 4th of July. C'mon the kids just got out for the summer.
I suppose by August, though, I should get a move on it. In the years past when the kids were younger they were always so charged up to get their school supplies and we were ahead of the rush. This year my daughter is in her second year of college and my son will be a junior in high school, so priorities have changed a bit.
College classes started mid-August, so we concentrated on getting my daughter all set and off on her way. On the other hand, my son just started a new job and had been very busy working. His birthday is in August and Mister O and I celebrate our anniversary on the same day as his birthday, so between all these goings on, school supply shopping kept getting lower on the to do list.
Finally, a week before school, I told my son he needed to go over the school list and we absolutely had to get this done before they put the Christmas stuff out. You KNOW I'm right on this! Christmas season seems to keep getting earlier. I know people do their Christmas shopping in July, but seriously, soon we'll have school supplies displayed right next to the Christmas trees.
Besides, will the world end if he didn't have every single thing on the first day of school? From my son's point of view, YES! It's important to have the right size, right colors and right quantities for each class. This is a lot of pressure a week before school starts and I just knew we would be faced with ransacked shelves and limited choices.
Just as expected, Walmart looked like a cyclone had gone through and sucked up the whole Back-To-School section leaving scraps for us shoppers that were late to the pre storm! Luckily, they did have 3-ring binders. However, trying to find the right size and color was somewhat of a scavenger hunt.
We had just started and already my patience was borderline irate. We needed 3 hole punch folders and the only ones left from the cyclone sucking was....NONE of those. There were only mere fragments of flimsy pink and purple folders and my son wasn't having any of that.
Quickly, I realized we needed to purchase the 3-ring binders and get our butts over to Target. Surely they would have folders. While at the checkout to pay for the binders, we were "blessed" to have a chatty employee. He was nice and doing his best at customer service, but we were on a Folder Mission! No time for small talk about his summer – we had to get to Target before the folder cyclone sucked them up.
We raced over to Target and hurried to the Back-To-School section.
It was too late.
Son of a b**ch!!
It hit here too! Not a folder in sight. Not even a pink one!
My son looked at me with a blank stare. That look of despair and disappointment in his eyes and surely he was thinking…YOU HORRIBLE mother. How could you wait to the last minute like this? I'll start school with NO folders. My life is OVER.
I don’t know maybe he wasn’t thinking that, but that's how I interpreted the stare.
His stare sent me into a mind frenzy of what was our next plan of action. We had to get this guy some folders. Our trip to Target wasn’t a complete failure; we did manage to find a package of pencil lead refills. Check that off the list.
However, we had to have a plan, we still needed folders. So, after Target we needed to go to one more store. We'll get those folders today even if I have to put a store clerk in a head lock to show me their secret back room stash.
Naturally, when you're in a hurry and on a mission, is exactly the time when we get another chatty employee. I get it – the Target checkout lady was just being friendly, but at the moment I didn't care – we were on a Folder Mission!
Walgreens was on our way home and closer than OfficeMax. So, we decided to take a chance on Walgreens. My son was driving, not only for the driving practice, but I thought with my current irate state of mind that it was better I stay in the passenger seat.
When approaching Walgreens school supply section, it didn't look hopeful as it was already being crowded out by Halloween candy. WTH! Really? I was about to go POSTAL at Walgreens amongst the Kit Kats and Milky Ways, when my son noticed right there jammed between a box of paper and a bag of snicker bars were 4 gleaming folders in the exact colors he needed. 3-hole punched and everything.
I love you Walgreens!!!
The only other thing he needed on his list was Duct Tape. This time I gave him a blank stare. Really? Duct Tape! We did NOT use duct tape when I was in school. If I didn't already know, you'd have to wonder if the Duct Tape was meant for something a bit more devious. Taping the most hated teacher to their chair, maybe? Well, of course NOT, I knew it was for labeling and to secure binders. So, he grabbed the LAST roll of white (the color he wanted) and finally we had completed our school shopping list.
Happily and with a sigh of relief, we went to go pay at the checkout. Once again, we discovered we must have a look about us that begged for small talk with checkout employees.
As she rung up our supplies, she proceeded to tell us a long winded story about a radical crazy customer that had been in the store earlier.
I swear it wasn't me!!
I was vaguely listening and her voice was starting to come through like Charlie Brown's teacher. Wha wha wha. At this moment, the only thing I could concentrate on was that a roll of Duct Tape and 4 folders cost $20 and some change! Holy crap! Were the folders gold plated for cripes sakes!
Mindlessly, giving the Walgreens lady a clenched smile while half listening to her crazy person story, I handed her the cash. Honestly, I was just elated that we didn't have to go to another store.
I looked over at my son and he stared at me with gleam and joy in his eyes. I’m sure he was thinking…YOU are the BEST MOM and now I can go to school fully prepared with matching colored binders and folders.
I don’t know maybe he wasn’t thinking that, but that's how I interpreted anyway.
My day didn’t end without learning a very important lesson. I learned that next year we’ll need to start school shopping on the 4th of July, buy our Halloween candy in August and put Christmas lights up in September.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go color my Easter eggs!