The school summer holidays may have just started in the UK (which might explain the less than brilliant weather we’re currently having) but for the past few weeks the shops have already been bombarding us with that phrase that every school child dreaded to hear…
Whether you enjoyed going to school or not (and let’s face it most of us would probably have rather have been doing something else than double French on a Monday morning) this phrase haunted any shopping trip you might embark on during the summer break, and quite often for the last few weeks before school actually broke up too.
Whenever I used to see it I would think, “give us a chance, we’ve only just finished, don’t force us back already“, and would look sadly at those pictures of kids wearing pristine school uniforms that used to normally accompany the “Back to School” announcements in shop windows.
This of course was a chance for shops to make a bit of money selling charcoal coloured trousers and royal navy jumpers which just wouldn’t shift any other time of the year (indeed most shops only tend to stock a decent range of school uniform items during the summer period) to a panicky group of parents who were never sure whether to buy a size too big or not, so might end up buying both sizes just in case.
It was also the prime time to advertise stationery items such as calculators, geometry sets and pencil cases, the latter of which was perhaps the only chance a child had to have any fun whatsoever in the back to school buying bonanza, as you’d always try to persuade your Mum that a Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles pencil case was much more preferable to a blue one with “Pencil Case” written across the front.
Of course whilst I may have hated that phrase as a child, what I probably didn’t really appreciate is that my parents no doubt hated it too, as I’m sure they didn’t relish the idea of having to spend loads of money on school kit and having to drag a couple of bored and complaining kids around the shops trying on clothes.