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The BackPack Poll

August 9, 2009

I have to make a decision very quickly: to buy new backpacks, or not?

I’m at my mother’s in Columbia, and it’s tax-free weekend. I’ve already taken advantage of the no-tax holiday and spent way more money than is absolutely necessary on kids’ shoes. Enough, actually, to make me a little ill. I think it came to $110 for four pair of shoes. Is it just me or is that ridiculous? I’ve learned, though, that I can buy several pair of  cheap “off-brand” tennis shoes throughout the school year, or I can buy one good pair of tennis shoes at the beginning of the year–Nikes, Skechers, or something similar–and have them last as long as the kids’ foot stays the same size. We made it the whole year last year.

You may remember that school supplies are taken care of–that was part of that book fee add-on. I will be needing to make a little online uniform purchase since my son is undergoing a growth spurt as he sits beside me on the sofa, but really, the only real question is whether or not I should buy these rugrats shiny new backpacks, or make them carry their old backpacks from last year.

Here are the facts:

Fact: Lawson was purchased a roller-pack from The Children’s Place last year. It is now highly scuffed on the bottom, and there are a couple of straps that dragged the ground consistently that are just about severed in two. Otherwise, the pack is in good shape.

Fact:  Autumn was purchased a fancy, pretty two-toned purple pack from Land’s End last year. It’s a little worn on the bottom, and a little dirty in places, but of excellent quality and in excellent condition. It also has her monogram on it.

Fact: Lawson might actually need a new pack. Autumn does not.

Fact: Autumn will throw a Diva-Freaking-Fit-Royale if I buy Lawson a new backpack but not her. In fact, I seem to recall a quite unpleasant scene last year when I hinted that she might not get a new backpack last year, because I really kind of sort of felt like her Vera Bradley backpack was perfectly acceptable.  Perhaps it wasn’t in stellar condition, but there was nothing wrong with it. You would have thought I was sending my child off to school clothed in hand-me-down rags from my cousin from 1982, with shoes two sizes too small that were scuffed and worn, and a bowl hair-cut. “Mom! Vera Bradley is out of style! I can’t take that one!” It was really hard not to laugh at my fourth grader’s dramatics, and I was really tempted to make her carry that backpack just for the heck of it (I mean, after all, when did I EVER have anything that was in style?!), but in the end I got the rolling backpack because I learned we were going to have to tramp for forever from the parking lot into the school and I was not going to be carrying those backpacks for those kids.

But perhaps I failed to make that message clear enough.

Help me out here. What should I do? What would you do? Let’s have a poll.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2009 5:37 pm

    Lori – Here’s what I do. If my kids’ backpacks are falling apart, I buy them a new one. If they’re not, and they want a new one, THEY buy it. If they’re old enough to go to school, they’re old enough to earn some extra money to buy themselves the things they don’t need. Good luck!!

  2. hintonrae permalink*
    August 10, 2009 6:31 pm

    Gerb–love it! I’ll keep that in mind with Autumn–she’s definitely hoarded enough stash to buy herself a new pack. 😉

  3. August 11, 2009 9:57 am

    I agree with Gerb, Lori. If your daughter is going to throw a hissy-fit now and you give in, just think what it’s going to be like when she hits the teen years…

    Besides, it’s all about needs, not simply the wants.

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