The Irresistible Temptation of School Supplies

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A lot of families are just leaving for their summer vacations.
The weather has been balmy to hot. The Farmers’ Market is in full
swing. Summer school in the Hollister School District ended on
Tuesday. Ahh, it’s summertime.
A lot of families are just leaving for their summer vacations. The weather has been balmy to hot. The Farmers’ Market is in full swing. Summer school in the Hollister School District ended on Tuesday. Ahh, it’s summertime.

Yet for some of us, another phenomenon is edging out summer for a share of our attention: The school supplies are in.

Until recently, I thought I was alone in my fascination with notebooks, binders, markers, pencils, stickers and folders. Then I found out that the executive assistant where I work is equally obsessed. So we’ve been trading Web sites that feature luscious, color-coordinated binders, ingenious binding systems or tidy little sewn-binding journals.

But there is nothing like the thrill of walking through a freshly stocked school supplies department well before it has been trashed by increasingly desperate families before school actually starts.

I don’t know when school does start this year – I’m not going back to school so I’m not really paying attention. Even if I were, I don’t need anymore rollerball pens, rulers, index cards or folders.

For one thing, I still have lots of office supplies left from a hated job I had before moving to Hollister. I was selling financial services and had to make a lot of cold calls. Since I, like any sane person, dislike phone solicitations, it was hard for me to do it to innocent strangers.

Whenever it got too stressful, I would go to the office supplies store and buy stuff to reorganize my miserable files of lukewarm contacts. Never mind that a single sheet of paper would have done the job perfectly well.

I recently donated all the color-coded hanging files, but the rollerball pens, Rolodex cards, tabbed dividers and message pads (purchased in the hope that I’d receive tons of calls while I was out visiting clients, and altruistic fellow salespeople would take messages for me) still fill several small drawers.

But still, the merchandisers at Target sure know how to tweak a susceptible fanatic like me. Why do pads of index cards look so much more appealing in a bin than they do stacked on a shelf? Glue sticks, sticky notes, ball-point pens – the abundance is staggering.

And who keeps thinking of the new colors of Sharpies and gel pens? I accidentally (honest) bought a set of gel pens without realizing the ink was sparkly. But now that I can have sparkly handwriting, it’s going to be hard to turn back.

So many temptations, and I haven’t even been to Staples or any place out of town. So while most of the country is enjoying the last weeks of summer beside the pool, or at the lake, or maybe on tour somewhere, I’ll be hovering among the school supplies, a glazed look in my eyes and a beatific smile on my face.

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