It's back-to-school season! My favorite time of year! I'm sorry if you're a parent or a student and all of this back-to-school overload is too annoying/too early to hear about in July but I'm excited. No, I'm not a parent or a student but I am an office supply nerd. I spend 90% of my year in the stationery biz gushing over locally made paper goods, exotic pencils and well-crafted pencil cases but this is the one time of the year that I really don't care about all of that. All I care about are how great of a deal I can get on a new 50 pack of Crayola Supertips or if there are any new types of glues to try. My heart flutters when I see a giant stack of 50 cent composition notebooks and I spend a lot of time contemplating how I can use a collection of patterned folders in my everyday life. I stop caring if I actually need all of these things and my usual kind-of-minimalist and eco-friendly tendencies temporarily go out the window. To be fair, I only allow myself exactly $20 for school supplies every year so I can't go too crazy.
Last year most of it was spent on fresh crayons and the year before it was Mr. Sketch markers. This year it'll be that new set of Supertips and some new post-its but I wish I was actually buying this Mossery academic planner (which I really have no use for). Maybe I'll even splurge on some of the fun folders I spotted at the new urban mini Target in my neighborhood last night (their selection of school supplies is otherwise pretty dismal, to be honest). The most shameful part of this is that I almost always end up buying the seasonal Ticonderogas. You know, the striped one or the pastel ones or the neon ones. They're never very nice to write with but I can't help myself--they're just so pretty. I always try to save $5 of by budget to spend on treasures from the Dollar Spot, a place I usually consider the biggest danger zone of Target shopping. By the time Labor Day rolls around I'll snap out of it and get into holiday mode, where quality once again trumps quantity and I start paying attention to where I'm buying things from, where they're made and how much value they add to my life. For now, the value of the novelty of shopping for school supplies is worth all of the moral values I temporarily forget about.
Video: an unforgettable Yikes! pencil commercial from 1993. Photo: the markets on my BTS shopping list.