We are one summer weekend, plus a day, away from another school year. It is a very odd time of year and being cooped up because of the rain has added an extra level of cabin fever to the already antsy kids and parents who are either anxious to get this show on the road or sad that our last hoorah has been a lil’ wet.
There isn’t too much going on here in Edmonds but if you are willing to hit the road, and don’t mind a crowd, here is a short list of fun, mostly local, ideas. The Evergreen State Fair in Monroe goes until Monday; Jetty Island celebrates its last few days before closing up shop on Labor Day; on Saturday, Shoreline has its Grill-n-Chill at Cromwell Park; and The Vintage Aircraft Weekend at Paine Field starts Friday night and ends Sunday.
You will likely also encounter a crowd doing back-to-school shopping for clothes or supplies. School supplies pop up in stores before the corpse of the last school year is even cold. Walking past the section full of backpacks, puppy folders and highlighters feels like a taunt to me. You can’t ever be in the season you are in without the next season trying to cut the line. It’s like seeing Halloween costumes in August, it reminds you, “Hey, that nine months of rain is on its way.”
Filling up backpacks is still on many to-do lists so I took some of the leg work out of it for you and I stopped by Target, Fred Meyer and The Office Depot (99 and 196th) and compared prices on three common items. Ticonderoga pencils (which my list informed me, along with PaperMate, sharpen best), a ream of plain white paper, and a 1-inch, three-ring binder. Now there is a slight disclaimer — I took both my kids with me and we went to each of these places back to back, so I shopped like we all do, one eye on the item and the other on your 7-year-old dropping a dumbbell, narrowly missing his foot and a trip to Children’s. I am comparing the prices on the most readily available items in the back-to-school sections.
Ticonderoga pencils 12-count pack
Fred Meyer $1.99
Office Depot $2.99
Fred Meyer wins here if you decide to heed the warning on my supply list and go with the name brand. A 24 pack of Target brand pencils is $1.24 and after sharpening 60 of them, on a Friday night no less, and I would say they are average in the sharpening department.
Ream of white copy paper 500 sheets
Frey Meyer $3.49
Office Depot $4.00 for 400 sheets OR 2 packages for $5.00
Unless you need two sets of copy paper, either Freddy’s or Target have the same deal. If you need more than one, you are gonna save some money per package at Office Depot but because it’s 100 less sheets the price is really negligible — .625 cents per page vs. .698 cents per page.
1-inch, 3-ring binder (with a clear plastic sleeve on the front and back)
Fred Meyer $4.99
Office Depot $4.99
I priced the heavier-duty folders; at Target you can get a flimsier one for $2.34 or even $.99.
When totaled up you save a quarter at Target and there is one-cent difference between Freddy’s and Office Depot. If you drove around to each place to get the best deal per item you may save more, but I wonder if you just wouldn’t be out a similar amount in gas, sanity, and the stuff you pick up you didn’t know you needed. School supplies are obviously a way to get you into the store so you’ll spend money on Icees, garden gnomes, or printer cartridges. I have found the gateway item is the pack of crayons. It seems most places try to lure you in with a screamin’ deal on crayons so you buy all of your other stuff there.
While I desperately wanted to be one and done, we had to go to a few different places to get what was on our list. One of the things on our list is still MIA, I drew the line after looking in three different places, and went with what I think is the equivalent but honestly can’t be sure. I typically choose Target because I save 5 percent by using their debit card but I always buy more than I am there for and they have all those extras, conveniently, in the middle of the aisles. I really liked the set up for Freddy’s school supplies but, not to be outdone by Target’s cardboard bus full of Cheez-its, they are right next to the toy aisles and also set up with landmines of things kids beg you for. You know, the kind of things that end up on the floor of your car, broken and forgotten within days. I don’t love stocking up for school at office supply stores in general and this trip wasn’t any different. To be fair, it was my last stop and I was dragging unwilling participants to a place with no Icees or free cookies.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you is, if you can get away with it or maybe even if you can’t, don’t bring the kids!
If you found a “screamin’ deal” on any school supplies, help a mother out, and post them in the comments!
– By Jen Marx
Jen Marx, an Edmonds Mom of two young boys, is a traffic reporter by dawn and writer and PBJ maker by day. She is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time. You can contact Jen with your local event at email@example.com or find her trying to make sense of begging kids to ” just eat the mac n cheese” at SnackMomSyndrome.com. If you have a kid-friendly event you’d like to share, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.