Target for Back to School

We went to Target recently for a school supply shopping trip.

I should say, really, for our first school supply shopping trip. Now that M is in high school, we don’t get a supply list ahead of time for her. Instead, she’ll find out what the teachers want her to buy on her first day of school, and then she’ll feel compelled to shop that night, because of course you want to look prepared and responsible on your second day of school. If you were wondering, “Is shopping for school supplies on the evening of the first day of school a stress-filled mob scene?”, then I’ll tell you that the answer is yes. Even worse:  for the past two years, M’s had a soccer game right after school on her first day, and if you were thinking, “If it possible to make a hasty and hectic shopping trip a little more stressful?”, then I’ll say, once again: the answer is yes. Just bring along an emotionally and physically exhausted teenager with you. We are extraordinarily fortunate, this year, because M doesn’t have a game on the first day. Just, you know, a 2-hour practice. So she’ll be fresh as a daisy!

But I digress.

J, my rising 8th grader, has her school supply list. It includes approximately 8 million 1-inch binders. Seriously, what would be the harm in buying 4 million 2-inch binders or 2 million 4-inch binders? I don’t know. Apparently it’s essential that each class has its very own binder. Now, the wonderful PTO at the middle school has devised as system in which you can pre-order the whole, entire school supply list in the spring. But that would be too easy. Yes, I know. Of course that would be easier. But we actually enjoy the beautiful ritual of choosing and purchasing our school supplies every year.

It starts with reviewing the list at home and taking inventory of our current supplies. Actually, back when the girls were little, that was downright fun, because it became a scavenger hunt around the house as I duped the girls into searching for how many things they could find already around the house. They’d triumphantly produce round-tipped scissors and rolls of paper towels and highlighters and I’d congratulate them and chuckle to myself over the money I’ve been saving. These days there’s much less opportunity for re-use. They trash all of those 1-inch binders. These days, the “scavenger hunt” portion of the ritual has collapsed almost entirely. It pretty much consists of me telling one daughter that we have plenty of pencils, thank-you-very-much, and there is no need to buy any more of them. And then this daughter looks all doubtful and says, “Are you sure?” So I produce a three-quarters-full package of 72 brand spankin’ new Ticonderoga pencils (Ticonderoga, you guys, and we all know that they’re the best). Then I go into the next room and another daughter says, “What? We’re going to need pencils!” and I huff impatiently and stick my pencil stash under her nose.

But, besides pencil hoarding and producing the ride and the credit card, I don’t have to do much when we go school shopping. J had her supply list in hand and she set to work nabbing her gear and making all the crucial decisions like what color Post-It Note would lead to academic triumph.

Which left me free to alternate between babysitting the cart and mulling over the most compelling merchandise.

Like this little beauty!

This Wonder Woman backpack comes with a tiara and a golden lasso! You guys, a Golden Lasso! If this silky, sparkly option doesn’t work for you, Target’s also carrying a slightly more gender neutral kids’ version and a more sophisticated backpack for the vaguely ironic 20-something set.

It was so fabulous that I took a picture. And then I decided that I might as well venture around and take pictures of the many, many school supplies that I covet. Back in the Olden Days, you were lucky if you could find a binder with a kitten on it. Nowadays, well, there’s some fabulous stuff!

Llamas! I love llamas! And sloths! Those mammals are adorable!

And if adorable mammals don’t do it for you, how about mythological creatures? If there’s anything better than a unicorn, it is a bubblegum-blowing, skateboarding unicorn with an 80s-style boom box! And mermaids! NOT those annoying sultry sluts hiding their nipples behind their long tresses. Instead, these are mermaid-next-door types who know how to embrace irony, because they are on pool floats. Do you get it, you guys? Mermaids absolutely don’t need floaties! And that is what makes these little spiral notepads so fantastic.

I have long admired the over-the-top ridiculousness of today’s locker decorations. Seriously, if you haven’t come across the stuff they sell, you’d be astounded. Not just little shelves and mini mirrors. You can get battery-operated chandeliers. It is so crazy. When I saw them for the first time, years ago, I laughed out loud about it, wondering who would actually buy them, but then next thing you know I was at the middle school’s locker orientation, and there they were, fretful mothers earnestly helping their little princesses afix chandeliers to their locker ceilings.

Me? I always thought they were way too formal. But a disco ball? Holy cow, I can totally get behind a disco ball!

I almost hopped up and down when I saw it. “M!” I called out. “Did you see this miniature disco ball? I totally want this miniature disco ball!” M sighed at me. “Sure, Mom. You can get yourself a locker disco ball as soon as you go back to middle school.”

Dammit. It’s not worth it.

But then, look at these composition books:

Aren’t they pretty? And a perfectly reasonable impulse buy for a middle-aged lady who’s writing stuff down all the time. I brought home the one with the yellow flowers.

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