Few occasions rise to that uniquely American commercial significance as the Back-To-School shopping season. Its a time rife with rebirth and renewal – both of which can only be obtained via prodigious use of the parental credit card. It’s about being Prepared and Ready with the academic essentials – the pencils, the classic marble notebooks, the ruler, the calculator, etc. Its a veritable Parthenon of scholastic gods.
And the kids eat it up. It’s Christmas in August. Spongebob Squarepants emblazoned on backpacks, Hannah Montana’s face slapped on sneakers, equipped with Velcro and lined with pink and glitter and sometimes lights. Pokemon lunch-boxes with matching included thermoses. It’s a remarkable synthesis of entertainment and education. And it makes people a shitload of money.
But it pales in comparison, to the economic viability of Shopping For College. Whereas selling a couple hundred packs of crayons and pairs of safety scissors might pull in a fair bit of cash at your local Staples, places like Target and Wal-Mart are where the real money is made. Come September, these places take up the burden of telling eager and bright-eyed pre-college kids what they Need to Buy for college. And it’s not easy for either party. Kids are used to furnishing backpacks, not dorm rooms. Pink futon or black? Toaster or toaster oven? Are bean-bags still “in?” What solutions to you offer for managing one’s stock of electronics cables? That refrigerator might actually be too small.
The permutations are infinite, but what’s common and implicit in every pre-college kids Target shopping cart is an overwhelming and largely unnecessary overabundance. And it’s not their fault really. There’s evidence for an obvious conflict of interests: The last person that you should be taking shopping suggestions from is the store that will be taking your money. It’s not like they want you to keep any of it.
But we do. So here is a decidedly brief annotated list of things you would be better served to abstain from buying for school.
If one were to compile a list of costs involved in buying and maintaining a printer for any extended period of time, one would not be pleased with the results. Computer printers have slowly settled into complete uselessness at many college campuses, as large computer labs with laser printers provide a much more economical choice. The average ink cartridge costs thirty bucks, and even though printers tend nowadays to be included in computer purchases, it’s the replacement cartridges that provide the real financial heartache.
Unless you are about to enroll in your first semester at Mormon U, it’s almost an inevitability that you will be in close residential proximity to some variation of a microwave. A skill that every college kid eventually becomes well-aquainted with is that of judicious mooching, which consists of using your classmates’ large and invariably electronic items that you were too cheap (read: brilliant) to purchase for yourself. Let the suckers buy the microwaves. You’re no sucker. But you do mooch.
We’re not sure if you heard, but textbooks are damn expensive. Then again, so is college - which actually serves as further reason not to buy textbooks and instead rely exclusively on the kindness of those around you. Also, the library. They library can help.
Any Kind of Large Furniture
Yeah, we know – your comfort is important to you. Your bad back demands a corduroy dish chair with fortified plastic frame, large enough so that you can sit cross-legged in it, but not so large that it makes the room feel cramped and small. Oh, and a matching ottoman, perhaps with a removable top and storage area wherein the spare curtains can be stored. Speaking of the curtains, those pink ones just won’t do; they don’t match the grey shag rug at all.
Just stay away from the furniture.
Your sex life in college is certain to be vast and impressive only in the confines if your affirming skull. Don’t waste your time with that twelve pack, man. Hit up that college health center for your baby blockers.