Friday, August 21, 2009

Tax Free Shopping ... or Taxing Shopping?

I'm not a shopper. I'm too cheap, nothing ever fits, I'm too picky, malls give me headaches, shopping makes my feet hurt, I hate having our country's over-the-top consumerism repeatedly blasting me in the fact all day, and the prices are way over my budget (did I mention that I'm cheap?). I find tax-free shopping to be anything but ... it taxes my patience and my sanity mightily.

But once every year I drag myself out with the other eager shoppers to tackle the stores during tax-free weekend. This is the weekend that the state drops its excessively high sales tax (which we have in place of a state income tax, and I'm not complaining!) for back-to-school shoppers. (Don't tell, but those of us who aren't going back to school take advantage of it too!)

Granted, the sales tax alone isn't high enough to warrant fighting the crowds, since I'd only be saving less than 9%. But lots of stores have large sales to entice people into their lairs, so that's worth it to me once a year to brave the shopping hoards.

So I just now got back home, at almost midnight, because many of the stores have extended hours.

I saw lots of moms with their kids, mostly older kids since that's the areas of the stores that I'm shopping in now. I guess I live in my own little bubble, because I'm constantly amazed at how much parents dislike being around their kids, and vice-versa. The moms were eagerly shopping, looking forward with glee to getting the kids out of their houses all day long starting Monday, and the kids were barely disguising their disgust for having to actually appear in public with their parents, much less to go shopping, because in their parents' presence the kids can no longer pretend that they were hatched or dropped from an alien spacecraft.

S and I spent several hours together this morning, walking from store to store with virtually no success at crossing things off our list, but we joked and kidded around and generally had a great time. The great time had to do with being together in spite of our mission.

I feel so sorry for those kids don't enjoy spending time with their parents, and I feel sorry for those parents who don't enjoy - or even know - their kids. Both sides are really missing out.

Who knows? I may be eating my words in a couple of years when one of my kids goes through that stage, but I certainly hope not. I'm doing everything in my power to make what most people think is inevitable be evitable (yes, it's a word ... I looked it up). Only time will tell.

If you liked this post, you might enjoy Beyond Babies.

Photo by lu_lu from here.


  1. I hear that all the time from parents when I tell them I homeschool.."How can you be with your kid all day long?" sad for the parents and the children.

  2. I totally skipped this shopping weekend this year. I'm on my own with the girls and crowded stores = losing one or both more times than I'd like to imagine. Neither will ride in anything anymore, so I shop at quiet times.

    I remember those back-to-school shopping trips; I thought being out with my mom was the worst. thing. ever. And I expect my girls will as well :)

  3. I totally know what you mean about shopping, and I have the same issues! I feel at least fortunate that my kids are still young enough that I can generally find things on my own that I like and are acceptable to them. :-)

    And about the parent/child dynamic: I am often struck by the same thing when out and about -- how much insensitivity and disrespect I hear being passed back and forth. My dh told me once, upon hearing a neighbor (at our old house) call her child an idiot, that I should stop being down on myself as a mother AT ALL, because when I am, I'm just comparing myself to the wrong people! (I know that sounds snooty. Sorry.)

  4. Oh, and I saw this and thought it might be of service to you in your shopping travails. If not, no worries.

  5. Haha, Luksky ... When I get that statement, "I could *never* be home with my kids all day!!!" I always want to say, "Yeah, I know what you mean. I could never be home with your kids all day, either!" (But my mama raised me with better manners, even if she didn't homeschool me. LOL)

    Victoria, I know what you mean about losing kids who won't ride. What a nightmare! I only started shopping on tax-free weekend after the kids were too old to be losable, DH could stay with them, or they were old enough to stay by themselves for short periods. Notice that I was shopping late at night - without kids.

    Hannah, that site cracked me up. I guess I'm not cool enough to think about what's trendy for back-to-school wear. Maybe I should ask S if she wants to model her wardrobe. Good thing she's not in 5th grade, huh? (Actually, I was thrilled to see that the clothes were from budget shops. When I saw NYC, I figured they'd all be high end.) And you should never be down on yourself as a mother. If you go down that path, just remember to compare yourself to me, and you'll come out smelling like a rose ... unless that is, you smell like chicken poop, glue sticks, or fresh mud.