Back to School Shopping

Posted on August 18th, 2011

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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9 Responses to “Back to School Shopping”

  1. Manic Motherhood » Blog Archive » Back to School Shopping | Shoes Says:

    [...] the article: Manic Motherhood » Blog Archive » Back to School Shopping Posted in Uncategorized Tags: boy-shoes, cost-more, earth-buys, new-shoes, seen-the-price, [...]

  2. Jennifer Says:

    Mothers of teenage boys, I share your pain! I have all boys 17-year-old, a 15-year-old, and a 3-year-old. I took the two teens out back-to-school shopping, and bought their school supplies at a big-name office supply store. Two words: “graphing calculator”. And at a bargain of $129.00 each. Correct me if I’m wrong, but as products of the late 80’s/early 90’s high schools, didn’t we just use something calling “graphing PAPER”?? Not to mention I might have embarassed them by hyperventalating in front of the display of these oh-so-necessary items. The clerk at the check-out counter asked if I wanted insurance on the calculators. I briefly glanced at each boy, and said “Of course I do!” After all, insurance is the only way I can make sure nothing will happen to the calculators. Without insurance, they wouldn’t last a week. With insurance, they have a good chance of surviving at least through high school… maybe. Can’t wait to see what the 3-year-old is going to need for high school in the non-so-distant future.

  3. Jennifer Says:

    LOVE IT LOVE IT! Laurie – your blogs are getting better and better as my son gets older. Mind you again – he is only 12 BUT we went school shopping for his uniform pants last weekend (his public school just implimented them). I took him to Old Navy and he tried on a few pairs. Each time he would come out and show them to me and I’d say “Nice! What do you think?” He’d stare at me all annoyed and say very flat “There Khaki” and I would say “Yeah but is there anything you dont like besides that? Maybe the hem or the length or the pockets?” and he would say “They fit and they are Khaki”. Beating my head against a wall already.

  4. Jana Says:

    Hi Laurie, I LOVE your blog. I too have a 15 year old boy and no one tells you when they’re born that they just get more expensive as they get older! I’m about to take him shopping for school clothes and we can’t go to Khol’s anymore (sigh…I love that store). Now it has to be Tilly’s or some over priced mall store that has the surf or skate t-shirts he likes. I’m totally dreading it. That and he wears a men’s size 13 shoe, so that’s an adventure in itself! Anyway, thanks for this blog, it really helps to know that I’m not alone!

  5. Liz Says:

    Love the blog!! You gals can complain all you want about shopping with a boy. What I would give to go back to those days. My son oldest was easy take him to Old Navy he would try on a pair of pants buy them and we were done.

    Now my 18 year old DAUGHTER, talk about scarey, my debit card actually starts shaking in my wallet when she is with me in a mall. She is tiny and an athlete. Everything she puts on looks wonderful. But yet she has to go to every store and try on a million pair of jeans that all look the same and nothing looks good. Only when we walk into Nordstrom does anything look good on her. The stuff looks exactly the same it just has a bigger price tag. Now that she is off to college I am glad there is no Nordstrom anywhere near her!!!!

    She is now on a budget. I could care less how much she spends on one pair of jeans, when the money is gone it is gone. She will learn. Or she will call her grandparents and they will send her some money, either way I am out of the loop.

  6. Laurie Says:

    @Jennifer (1), First, let me say thank you for taking one for the tam by having three boys. Many of us (and by that I mean ME) could handle one. I cannot believe a graphing calculator costs $129! I hope Junior doesn’t need one, I blew the budget on his must-have shoes :) He doesn’t get school lists until Monday – which is so convenient cuz that’s when school starts and in a small town, everything was sold out last week.

    @Jennifer (2) I feel your pain – and know this, khakis are the most stainable pants on the planet. I swear they have little high-tech doo hickey’s in the fabric that attracts dirt. Junior had khakis once. Of course, your son may not use his pants as a napkin, so you could be fine :)

    @Jana, IKR? I love Kohls. I had a 30% coupon for Kohls. But no, we had to go to Tilleys. I hate Tilleys. I also feel like the other moms are cooler than me…because, you know, they are. And of course, some of the clothes I won’t allow, so there’s always an argument in Tilleys (he can’t wear shirts with guns on them to school, kind of a reasonable expectation in my eyes, but not to him).

    @Liz, ok, so is now the time I tell you that I was your daughter (well, not really, but you get my point). I had 27 pairs of jeans in high school. And? I wore a uniform to school. Yeah. My part time McD’s gig went solely to blue jeans and gas money. Oh, and I don’t want to scare you…but the Nordstroms online store is really awesome. And available anywhere. Shhhh. I won’t tell your daughter.

  7. Debbie Says:

    Try having a girl. OMG…school clothes shopping costs more than our mortgage.

  8. et Says:

    HAHAha
    For all u moms.. I must be the exception…now almost 30…I can say I drove my mom nuts by wearing my clothing till they seriously looked like the moths had a party in my closet. My sister on the other hand…sigh a grad student.. who apparently after being bitten by the deisgner bug has y’all beat! If it wasn’t for me working in Paris and having designer sales connections….my parents would hafta remortgage their house!…lol

  9. Laurie Says:

    @et, Can I be your sister? I’m not a fancy dresser, but Paris fashions? to die for :)

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