“Back To School” Shopping

It’s all fun and games. School is out and summer is here! The time has come to sleep in …maybe? And stay up late. It’s the season for frolicking at the beach, attending a bazillion backyard bbq’s and eating smores till you puke. Instead of backpacks, the kids are all accessorizing with sunburns and popsicles stains… and then it hits you like a pimp in a whore house.  After weeks of carefree play, the kids have to go “back to school” shopping.

When the kids are young (pre-K — 3rd grade), you can get away with buying clothes that you think are cute and appropriate. A couple of five dollar t-shirts and pants from Target and a random back pack on sale does the job. Just throw it in the cart and you’re done. But that joy is short lived because like that benign cyst on your back, your child’s dreaded opinions begin to form. It’s now about what they want. Their style and preferences must be taken into account. So shovel in a healthy breakfast and a substantial dose of liquid patience and optimism aka: coffee. You’re gonna need it.


Justice – Suddenly encompassed in bright, stark white fluorescent bulbs, surrounded by glitter and fringe, listening to Sean Mendez and Nick Jonas, wondering how your kids can even entertain the idea of spending $28.60 for a miniature paper thin t-shirt. You can’t remember the last time you spent that on yourself! Shelves, end caps and bins oh my! Neon colored accessories and a sea of polyester room decor keep you imprisoned while trying to make your way up to the counter. Forget the tried and true #2 pencil. It’s about the “smencil.” A scented pencil in 20 different flavors for your sniffer. Because who doesn’t want to have their nostrils filled with the sickeningly sweet scent of jelly doughnuts while tackling Common Core?


Tilly’s – It’s a surf shop. No wait, it’s a skate shop. But wait, it’s Forever 21 with skateboards and surf videos where they’re blasting Eminem, Dre and Snoop over the speakers editing out every other word because…children. Adorable tank tops that require the purchase of another tank top or cardigan to be worn underneath because nothing is dress code appropriate for school.

No entry red stamp text on white

Hollister – Unless you arm yourself with night vision goggles and ear plugs, shopping will be impossible. In my opinion, shopping should not consist of stumbling around in the dark participating in the retail version of Marco Polo, yelling to one another for communication over the ear splitting music being blasted inside. Maybe that’s just me.


H&M – Where else can you find cute wholesome henleys and skirts for your child and then walk three feet to the women’s section to find what I refer to as “yeast infection shorts.” The bottoms, if that’s what you call them, that succeed in allowing your ass cheeks and labia to be flashed simultaneously to perfect strangers. The fashion statement where every ten feet the trendsetter must stop, straighten the leg and pull the fabric out of the vagina because there’s a possible science experiment brewing. Do they sell a travel sized Monistat tube to go with them? You’re gonna need it. While you’re grabbing a pair of those sweet “ass” shorts next to my extremely influential daughter’s wardrobe selection, you can pick up a see-through, braless tank top to go with it. Brilliant.


Macy’s – The perfume counters are the back drop for the children’s section. What does that mean? A spritz happy spraying session of perfume leads you to a migraine and to your daughter’s discovery of her new favorite scent. The one hundred dollar scent that she begs you for when you’ve been out of your own for months. Then upon exiting the store, you are engulfed in the never-ending display of MAC cosmetics where your daughter is mesmerized by loud vibrant colors. She is instantly smitten with the thirty dollar sparkly teal eyeshadow. A simple “hell no” escapes your lips. What ever happened to the affordable brands like Bonnie Belle and Wet N Wild?? Spraying her with another fragrance is you’re only distraction for escape.

Is this how our parents felt? When we would drag them into Contempo Casuals, Millers Outpost and May Company? That thought of “Geezus, kids these days!” Wondering how in the hell the fashion of our youth can get any worse than this? How the music could possibly suck more than it does while blasting into my ears at this very moment? Does this simply go with the territory of being a parent? Are we just getting old? I tell myself to keep an open mind, that times change and I should be embracing this experience with my girls. So, let’s do this! Grab that 12 pack of smencils and those neon, sequined, dreamcatcher jeggings, and then let’s all be thankful that this shit only happens once a year.


 Feelin’ my back to school shopping pain?


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About the author

Sara Pittman

Sara is from sunny San Diego CA. She is a wife, busy mother of 3 and amateur chef stumbling through organized chaos on a daily basis using sarcasm and humor to soften the blow...that's what she said. She will take any opportunity to demonstrate the running man in public and enjoys being a sarcastic smart ass.


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  • Hey Sara, You had me laughing so hard. My experience in Tilly’s was way different. Yes, many are beach / surfer clothes. But, we found a few great tees 2 for $10. A hooded sweatshirt that was super cute and a long hooded knit sweater that was adorable. All great prices.We passed on expensive jeans, shorts and of course their summer tanks.
    Macy’s, lol skip the makeup counter go straight for the deals on the underwear! Quality & priced right.
    No H & M near this mall I shopped at. Must check them out online but, last time I didn’t like their interface. Might try again. Sammie’s 13 now. Justice doesn’t work for us but, I remember popping in & finding a few things back in the day. I also took her to Hot Topic where she scored deals (jeans $25!) + Bogo deals. We had great service but, the music was so loud we couldn’t wait to get out of there!! (head banger, extreme) We hit the Van’s outlet and got great deals on tennis shoes! I had a budget and we stuck to it. The way to survive: Make a list. Stick mostly to it. I shared two posts with tips recently to get the most for your $$ for back to school and fall fashions. Glad I am down to only one left to dress.

  • Every time I walk past the Justice store, all I can think about is how I I do not want to take my daughters there in the future… But will most likely be forced to. Are boys this hard too???

  • Hollister used to be my nightmare- dark, expensive, loud, teenage mecca! I was glad when my daughters moved on to something else. Good luck with the shopping, I don’t envy you!

  • I hate back to school shopping! I actually bought all their school supplies in July. If only I could save myself the hassle and buy their clothes early too…except my kids must be mutants because they just keep growing!

  • You are hilarious. I am not familiar with any of those stores except Justice, which I don’t much care for. I have been really lucky with my kids. They mostly are really easy and not picky until the point when they are old enough to shop for themselves. My 14 year old still wears what I pick out as long as it is comfortable.

  • I’m seeing those “yeast infection shorts” all over the place this summer. Some of these girls need to have someone take a photo of their rear view because their cheeks are definitely hanging out.

  • HAHA Love the No Entry sign. I have to take my daughter (16 years old) back to school shopping. I am already dreading that day. LOTs and LOTs of coffee and chocolate needed on that day. Great shopping tips and my favorite store is Macys. 🙂

  • this was hilarious post! I feel your pain. I normally shop used clothes at our towns consignment shop and at Target for my kids school clothes. I dread back to school and all the teachers wish list. I received an email from my daughter’s kindergarten teacher for a donation to help her buy a rug that is almost $500 dollars…crazy, eh?

  • I cannot stop laughing at the Hollister one. I went into that store ONCE with a younger cousin and I was like.. “Why is it so dark in here?? Are they running on generator power?” She told me I was just old. Which is accurate.

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