LOST IN SUBURBIA™ by Tracy Beckerman
Beware of Moms Shopping for School Supplies©
If you go shopping for fall school supplies early, like, say in December,
chances are you can get everything you need in one fell swoop and it will be
a pretty uneventful outing. However, wait until the last minute, like the
day before school starts, and not only will you be freaking out because the
store shelves are empty, but you also might find yourself the victim of a
little known phenomenon called “school-supply rage.”
Let me explain. The lists for our school were actually posted on the school
website in July. However being the plan-ahead kind of mom that I am, I
printed it out immediately, and then promptly forgot about it.
“This is not a big deal,” I thought as I dragged the kids around the office
supply store. Most of the stuff was pretty easy to find. Protractors? No
problem. Three subject binders? Got em. But when we got to the black and
white composition notebooks, our search hit a dead end.
Clearly those black and white composition notebooks were a hot ticket item
this year, because try as I might, I could not find the darn things. I knew
the store carried them because there were brightly-colored posters on the
walls with pictures of school supplies that included these particular
notebooks, but after half an hour of searching, I only found one lone
composition notebook partially buried beneath some Spiderman supplies.
While I looked around in vain for a salesperson to harass, another mother
“Where did you find that,” she asked accusingly.
“Over there,” I said, pointing to the Spiderman shelf. “But I don’t think
that’s where they belong and I’m pretty sure there aren’t anymore.”
“So you’re telling me that’s the last one,” she said with her hands on her
hips. “You’re holding the very last black and white composition notebook in
I couldn’t decide if this woman was a member of the school-supply police and
was placing me under arrest for wanton composition notebook hoarding, or if
she was just nuts.
Either way, she had me blocked in with her shopping cart against the Dora
the Explorer notebooks and I had no chance for escape.
“Well, I don’t know for a fact that this is the last one,” I said, trying to
look innocent. “Why don’t you find a salesperson and ask them.”
“There ARE no salespeople,” she hissed, as though this were my doing. “And
I need four of those notebooks.”
I decided she was indeed nuts, and figured the only way to get out of this
confrontation unscathed was to lie.
“There are more school supplies down there by gift wrap,” I said pointing to
the other end of the store. “I haven’t checked there yet, but if you want
As Crazy School-Supply Lady grabbed her cart and took off to find the
mythical notebooks, I grabbed my cart and ran to the checkout lines before
she could realize she’d been duped.
“Did you find everything OK,” asked the checkout girl. It’s a standard
question they’re supposed to ask at this particular store. You’re supposed
to say, “yes,” and then they smile and ring you up.
“Well, actually, I couldn’t find more of these black and white composition
notebooks,” I said holding up the world’s last notebook, “And there were no
salespeople around to help and then this crazy lady accosted me in the
school supply aisle because she needed these notebooks too and thought I’d
conspired to take the last one and she was really scary and I have to get
out of here fast before she realizes I sent her to the wrong place to look
for more notebooks.”
The checkout girl looked at me nervously. Clearly they didn’t cover this in
Just then, the woman waiting patiently on line behind me who was not
shopping for school supplies and therefore appeared to be in her right mind
tapped me on the shoulder.
“I think they have more of those notebooks at the drug store,” she said.
“Really?” I asked, a little too desperately.
“Thank you so much,” I said. “This has been a nightmare.”
She smiled. “I know. I did it yesterday.”
©2006, Beckerman, Lost in Suburbia. All rights reserved. For more LOST IN
SUBURBIA, visit Tracy Beckerman at http://www.lostinsuburbia.net