School shopping used to be fun. Not this year. Our state participates in a tax-free shopping holiday right around the time school starts. This weekend was one such holiday. It can be a great deal if you are spending a lot of money for clothes and school supplies for your children. Especially if you have several children. I have two, and even I can see quite a bit of savings. That is IF you can find what you need. Fortunately this year I have been purchasing items here and there over the summer to help keep the overall expenses down and to prevent a major financial hit all at once, for I had no idea that the current state of our economy would turn this year’s shopping extravaganza into a shopping nightmare. It was very similar to shopping on Black Friday. You know, that insane event that takes place every year on the day after Thanksgiving. At least the tax free school shopping is spread out over three days…if there is anything left on that third day.
Our event takes place from 12:01 am on Friday through midnight on Sunday. But because I have a full-time job, the soonest I could actually get out to participate in said chaos, was Friday evening. Still that was alright with me, because as I said, I had the majority of our supplies purchased already. Not only that, but I figured the majority of the prices wouldn’t change much over the summer, and I even had suspicions that some stores may actually charge more since they know everyone will be shopping over these three days. I only needed a few more school supplies that I hadn’t picked up yet and a few items of clothing for my girls. So after dinner Friday, we got in the car and went to our local shopping area. Items I had seen just one week prior and decided to hold off buying were no longer anywhere to be found. My oldest is starting middle school and was told a shelf for her locker would be a good idea. Nothing in the vicinity existed any longer, and I had just seen them last weekend. The shelves were bare. Sure I could still find the real common items…pencils, crayons, glue. But try finding a pack of index cards.
Index cards must be a hot item this year. Who knew?! When we couldn’t find what we needed at one store, we had to move on to another store. Some stores were in walking distances. Others weren’t so close. The aggressiveness of the drivers through the parking lots made me feel as if I were starving and was in a race to reach the last known meal in existence.
As if hunting for these elusive items weren’t difficult enough, throw in the crowds of people. Remember Christmas shopping last year? There it was, all over again. People everywhere. Children everywhere. Shopping carts blocking every shelf. Were they afraid someone would take their school supplies if they ventured into an aisle and left their cart out in the main open aisle that has enough space to hold all these carts? Of course they were! Especially if they were holding onto those extinct index cards! But alas! On day two, in the fifth store we went into, we struck oil! We hit a gold vein! We found index cards! We were spared from having to participate in day three. Next year I think we’ll just pay the tax.