Back to School Shopping HELL

Let’s start by clearing up one southern belle myth:  not all belles believe in the power of the flea market or thrift store. Personally, I’m not a fan. I love a good bargain and refuse to pay full price unless it’s an emergency situation. I’m a BIG fan of stores like TJ Maxx/Marshall’s/Home Goods, unique and/or designer items at greatly reduced prices. I don’t much care if its last year’s style, I tend to be more of a basics girl who adds flare with accessories, makes keeping the work wardrobe fresh. When it comes to shopping for “The Girl”, Target is one of her favorite stores, so it’s fairly easy to stretch your shopping dollar. For a girl who claims to love going to Target and the mall and who will shake us down for every penny she can to “shop”, trying to get her to commit too and actually purchase while school shopping over the weekend was nothing short of torture.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about her seemingly thrifty ways. Apparently her price point is around $15, anything more than that she wouldn’t even consider. With the weather still summer warm and with the school allowing shorts, provided they are long enough to cover ones ass when they bend over, I informed her that we were not going to get much in the way of warm weather clothing just yet. She recently went shopping with her mom, so perhaps in her mind she has plenty of clothes for school. The issue is, they are at mom’s house and anyone in a blended family knows, the back and forth of clothes, sports gear, school items or anything a kid needs/wants with them can be a nightmare. In the past we have had to reach out and ask for clothing to be sent back, as with the sleepover and leaving in school clothes returning in play clothes, we would end up with no inventory and vice versa for her mom. She had gotten a pair of sweatpants while shopping with her mom that she LOVES, so I suggested maybe a couple of more pairs- seems totally logical to me. The eye roll alone was priceless, but no, she didn’t see a need for another pair. Same when the suggestion of leggings or jeans or shorts. I am still not sure why it took me so long to give up making any suggestions, but I know she needed clothes and I wasn’t giving up so easily.

Every dress or skirt I touched was met with a grunt or “it’s cute, but I would never wear it”. That phrase repeated countless times. I did talk her into a cute pair of casual sneakers, my guess is they will never get worn and she will outgrown them and they will end up in the donation bag as clean as they are today. At the end of the day, she got the shoes, 4 t-shirts, a pair of leggings, a few pair of socks and a pack of panties (which I believe is the law when back to school shopping- socks and underwear). This small haul took hours and trips to a few retail establishments. She was happy, I was exhausted and I told her, do not let me hear you say you have nothing to wear to school, as if I do, I will kill you.

What I find funny and I mentioned to her, she will not spend money, MY money, on clothes, but she has no problem asking, whining and almost crying for a beverage from Starbucks (at $5 each) every time we go anywhere.  I think it’s a waste of money and given what she orders is nothing more than a milkshake, it’s not something one should have daily, much less more than once a day.  She had money to go to the mall with friends, where she could have shopped for items for school- all but a $1 that was spent on a bracelet was spent on Starbucks and Chinese food at the food court. She is 13 and has chores to earn the money she has for those outings, so I wasn’t about to tell her she was wrong, but she is at the age where she knows the value of money and that she won’t be given handouts for anything she wants without her earning it, at least in part. The rules are not the same at her mom’s, which does make it a challenge at times, but they have been divorced at this point longer than they were together as a family, so she is used to life in two houses with differing rules at times.

So, that was my back to school shopping hell. I have a short list of things in mind for Christmas as a result of this adventure, but I believe we have officially reached the point where the girl will be getting mostly money and/or gift cards to Christmas so she can do her own shopping. Likely gift cards, as I can’t stomach the idea of her entire Christmas being donated to Starbucks…one beverage at a time.


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