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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Common sense cures for back-to-school shopping chaos



Hey Mommas, some of the lessons we teach our kids really will stick with them. Case in point: A Times colleague who is not a parent but is a college student  asked if she could write a post about back-to-school shopping. She says that lessons her mom taught her in store etiquette would really be helpful during this hectic shopping season. Take it away, Amy Mariani:

I’m not a parent, but I am a student. So, like many Mommas throughout Tampa Bay, I get to battle the beast this week with back-to-school shopping.

When I was a kid, which wasn’t too long ago, I loved going back-to-school shopping. All year I looked forward to bright Lisa Frank stationery and fresh composition notebooks. Now that I’m older, and don’t get to go with my mom anymore, it’s not nearly as much fun.

I ventured into a local Wal-Mart yesterday to pick up my 15-cent notebooks and nickel-folders, a staple for the stereotypically poor college student. Unsurprisingly, I ran into a madhouse of back-to-school shoppers. But it got me thinking, is all this chaos really necessary? Should it really take me a good 30 minutes to grab five notebooks and five folders? It wouldn’t if we all followed the bits of advice our Mom_backtoschoolmom Mommas taught us.

Put it back where you found it. If you take out the entire box of folders to find just the right colors, please don’t leave it in the middle of the aisle. I don’t think you found those 4-pocket folders on the floor.

Don’t make a bad situation worse. There’s barely any room for little 'ol me in this mess, and bringing in a cart is just going to make it worse. By designating someone to stay behind with the cart and venturing the stationery aisle solo, it will be much easier to navigate for you and everyone else.

Be prepared.  Now is not the time to window shop. Have the list ready and know exactly what you’re looking for, down to the brand and style of the items. To some, a notebook isn’t just a notebook. For example, Mead Five Star tends to have plastic covers and be a little more expensive, while cheaper brands have cardboard. College-ruled notebooks have thinner spaces to write, giving you the ability to put more on the page, while the thicker lines of wide-ruled notebooks may be easier to use for younger writers. Decide exactly what brand and style of items you want before stepping into the aisle.

Now, what do we say? A courteous saying and a smile does wonders. Saying “please,” “excuse me” and “thank you” as you reach over shoulders will keep the evil glares at bay. People will scoot over for you and who knows, someone may even hand you what you’re trying to get.

Wow, Amy, all good, common sense advice for back-to-school shopping and the upcoming holiday season. Your Momma taught you well.

-- Sherry Robinson

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:02am]


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