Because it’s every American’s right (duty?) to be scared, and to shop, someone has invented the perfect terror protection must-have for back-to-school: bulletproof backpacks! The inventors, both of them fathers of school-age children, say the special plate sewn into the back of the bag can withstand not only bullets, but machetes, hatchets, and Ka-bar knives.
Cellphone makers want their wares to become regular fixtures on back to school shopping lists. Several companies are making brightly colored cellphones that are designed to fit snugly in a small child’s hand; the phones are paired with special plans designed to convince parents that handing their five-year-old a cellphone is a responsible decision:
Ahh, kids: nature’s little moneypits. The back-to-school season is a particularly appalling time, when parents everywhere struggle to stock up on all the goods they’ll need in the coming months. At Bankrate.com, professional parent and advice-giver Peter J. Sander suggests that you make saving money on back-to-school purchases a family project, by giving your kids budgets, helping them figure out how to save for big ticket items by scrimping on less important ones, and — our personal favorite — “deprogramming” them before you leave your house:
How will you get your child the name-brand items he wants while staying under budget? You won’t. Sander says that to avoid having your child fall into a I-can’t-possibly-wear-this-if-it-isn’t-Nike meltdown at the store, you need to de-program him from commercials. “We teach our kids the ‘disvalue’ of brands. We point out commercials and say, ‘They are trying to get you to buy that. You can either buy it or think for yourself,’” he says.
Walmart will offer 10 to 50 percent discounts on 16,000 items to boost sales during the lucrative back-to-school season. The cuts are part of Walmart’s broader plan to abandon its pursuit of the upscale market, which “confused customers,” and return to its core business of undercutting competition and instigating price wars.
Jennifer’s letter is perfectly ordinary. It’s the tale of one day in the life of a consumer, a mother, trying to run some errands. Her ToDo list reads: Send letter at post office, return grandma gifts at Walmart, shots at Kaiser. Of course, it’s not as easy as that, because nobody knows how to do their jobs anymore and the dang sauce pitchers exploding off the shelves and whatnot.