Monday, August 27, 2012

Economics SOL: Back to School Focus

"You'd think they were giving stuff away," he said, as he looked for a parking spot.  "This is worse than at Christmas," I grumbled as I tried to maneuver the cart through crowded aisles. 

We noticed carts filled with mini-fridges, microwaves, butterfly chairs, pillows, blankets, comforters, silverware, shower caddies, shampoo, plastic cartons, area rugs, lamps, bed risers....  At first glance you might think there were many young people headed to third world countries, but we both quickly surmised it was "move in weekend" for our local colleges.  Stuff was flying off the shelves!

While this was a boom for our local Target, it made me wonder whether there may be a less rosy side to this shopping-frenzy-back-to-school-phenomena for many consumers, particularly in these tight economic times when gas prices are soaring.  New school year = new computers, new phones, new clothes, new shoes, new sneakers, new backpacks, new notebooks, new locker organizers = lots and lots of money.  The mom ahead of me spent almost $400 that afternoon and I am 100% confident that her "Target" trip was just icing on her spending cake!

The trip became a bit of a wake up call that most of us (myself included) go a little overboard with back to school shopping.  Most clothes still fit, for kids too.  Shorts and short sleeved shirts are best for early fall weather, so shopping for sweaters and heavy pants could wait. Most kids do not wear "leather" shoes to school  Many notebooks still have pages.  Many backpacks can be scrubbed up to be as good as new.  As taxpayers, parents and teachers (many of us wearing all three hats) head back to school, perhaps we should seriously rethink how to keep the focus on new friends, new learning, new adventures, and new possibilities rather than on the accouterments. 

image from google


Nanc said...

What a crazy scene at Target! I love your ending statement. What ever happened to one new school outfit???? xo

Linda at teacherdance said...

Love the pic! Could it really be that crowded? I agree that the push for 'new' is fairly amazing here too. The lists grow ever long, begging the term 'free education'. I wonder what happens to the old backpacks. If we did save & buy less, perhaps some of that money could go to those who did need it? Thanks for the talk about priorities!

fireflytrails said...

Such good thoughts. We definitely live in a material world, and that makes us often overlook the more important things you brought to our attention in your post. Thank you.