People are shoulder to shoulder everywhere you look. There is barely room to breathe, let alone to maneuver around. The air is thick with heat, humidity and the various smells of the surrounding bodies. It’s hard to hear over the yelling. Everybody is frantically shouting to one another. We all know that it’s almost too late. We have waited too long and will now suffer because of it. So I accept my consequences and take a deep breath. I’m going in. No, this is not a scene from some sci-fi end-of-the-world disaster movie. Not even close. This particular scenario is being played out all over the country in local Walmarts everywhere. It’s the dreaded last minute back to school scramble.
The back to school scramble is a competition in which procrastinating parents across the nation compete against all odds to gather the required school supplies on each of their children’s lists. The goal is to meet all of the needs of all school going kids in your household without substitutions or delays, and all the purchases must be done at one location. That itself is a nearly impossible feat. But add to that the fact that you have waited until literally the last day, and the pickings are slim.
Though I hadn’t planned on it, I found myself competing again this year. Maybe it was some residual olympic spirit, or maybe I just wanted a challenge, but with me being an old pro at the scramble, I decided to go for the gold and wait until the last day. I was feeling good about this year. Though it was a harder skill level, I was well prepared and confident in my abilities. I am pleased to say, that after battling shelf stocking clerks, going head to head with other postponing progenitors and ravaging already devastated aisles, I made it through. Not only did I survive the scramble, but I got all the items on my list but one. It may not get me the gold, but I’m sure it’s at least worth a solid silver. Next year I’m going all the way. And I’m not leaving without the colored pencils. I’m just sayin’.