There is nothing more horrifying than back to school shopping with a teenager. Oh, fine. Maybe an alien invasion is slightly more horrifying. And possibly the shenanigans going on with the economy are just a bit more horrifying. But back to school shopping with a teenager is definitely on the top 10 list.
Trust me. I speak from experience. I have a teenager and I have gone back to school shopping with him. And I have lived to tell my tale.
The first problem I have with back to school shopping is that I have a male teenager. The males of the teenage species are not well known for their sense of fashion. Pretty much if the t-shirt still fits and the pizza stains aren’t too noticeable, a teenage boy figures he’s looking good. Of course, this is only because he doesn’t want to go shopping at all.
And that leads us to the second problem – the shopping itself. It isn’t easy to lure a male teenager to a mall unless you are a female teenager. Since I am not a female teenager, I had to use ancient mommy secrets, handed down for generations, to lure Junior into the car and then to the mall.
Yes, I used food.
Let me just say nothing works better than food to get a male teen to do what you want. I‘m shocked that more parents don’t use this technique to get boys to mow lawns, babysit siblings or rebuild the entire second story of their homes. Just wave a hot pizza in the air and boom! The teens materialize and do chores so quickly the pepperoni is still sizzling when they eat it.
Anyway, once I lured Junior into the car, what could he do? He was pretty much trapped in there thanks to the automatic door locks. Plus? His mouth was too full to protest going shopping.
Unfortunately, once we arrived at the first store, the food was gone and Junior was surly. He had clearly realized what was happening and that he was trapped – and not only was he trapped with his mother for an entire day; he was also trapped shopping for an entire day. Oh, the horror. I’m sure Junior felt his entire life was ruined. Possibly he was right.
And that is why, after a mere 7 minutes and 32 seconds of browsing in the store, Junior started his first argument. The argument ended with me declaring that shopping was done and that Junior could attend school naked for all I cared. And I flounced out of the store and got back into the car.
Yes, I really said that. Yes, I really flounced. Not my finest parenting moment to be sure. But it worked. Junior got into the car, we went to another store and believe me, it was a much more pleasant experience.
And that’s when we came to the third thing that bothers me about back to school shopping. Holy cow, it’s expensive. Look, once you get the boy to the mall, the pizza stained shirt suddenly isn’t okay to wear. In fact, he will need a billion more shirts to replace each and every pizza stained shirt in his closet.
And, more terrifying, he will need new shoes. Have you seen the price of teenage boy shoes? It’s outrageous. Who on earth buys their teens shoes that cost more than the GDP of some developing nations? The rent for my first apartment was less than the price of some of these shoes – granted I had about 50 roommates, but still. I have never had shoes that cost that much. And I love shoes.
And socks? Let me tell you, it’s much easier when they are little kids and don’t care about labels. I just bought some Wal-mart socks and was done with it. Now all the socks need those swooshy things on them. And the minute you see a swoosh on a sock, the price goes up tenfold.
But thankfully, the day of torture has ended. Junior has done all his laundry and put away his new clothes and shoes. And I find hope in the fact that next year he will be driving and thus, can go to the mall on his own and shop without me for his back to school clothes.
Of course, then I take the risk that he’ll spend all the money on Ps3 games, pizza or a girlfriend. But I’ll think about that another day.
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