I’m still enticed. Every year. Late summer comes and I see them. School supplies line the aisles of Target, Office Depot, even Walgreen’s.
The aisles of notebooks, pens, folders, planners, backpacks, and crayons kind of get me fired up. It’s a fresh start, new beginnings, a clean slate. I haven’t been in school for a long time and my kids are in their 20s. But when I see those school supplies lined up, awaiting their new home, I tell myself, “You’ve been kind of slacking this summer, getting loosey goosey. You can do better. Buckle down!” And then I may throw a pack of Post-it Notes or new Sharpies into my cart.
I wanted to know what other people thought about school supplies. The responses were as positive as a package of pink erasers.
“Buying supplies makes you feel very productive, but no work is involved so it’s a false sense of productivity,” said A___, a 26-year old grad student. A___ elaborated: “You get to go and buy new things, and I like to buy new things, but you need to buy them so you’re not feeling guilty.”
A__ is sporting an avocado pencil pouch, and avocado and houndstooth binders as grad school begins. Who can’t succeed with that?
When asked whether he liked school supply shopping, N__ said, “I don’t. It’s a necessary evil…like all shopping.” Like most 21-year-old engineering students, N__is a bit of a contrarian but he did soften a bit on the subject. “Yeah, I like it,” N__ said.
Soon N__ will return to college and he’s packing some notebooks, folders, and mechanical pencils. Nothing fancy. He’ll also bring along his cigar cutter, laptop charger, and hot sauce collection. And his sarcasm.
L__ has been out of the school supply shopping business for decades but carries good memories. “It feels good,” L__ said, “I like to get organized.” L__ may have other issues like feeling his life would have more order and discipline if he wasn’t surrounded by less organized minds.
For M__, seeing the school supplies is also a positive vibe. M__, 27, said that she misses school supply shopping. She works in the healthcare field, but still has fond memories of playing store with her sister on the porch after bringing home the load of supplies. It brings back good memories.
My mind rushes back to the ’70s when my school career began. I loved summer more than most things. I resented school’s impostition on my free time. School supplies, however, were a different thing. New clothes. Yawn! It meant new knee highs and blouses for my school uniform. And I didn’t care about who my next teacher would be or who I’d sit next to in class. But school supplies were oh-la-la!
Now for me, school supply shopping surpasses any New Year’s resolution for sheer motivation to be more productive with my time, get back on a routine, get my head in the game. And it lasts longer too. Even if I don’t buy a single pencil.