Back off, Mr. Retailer, “Back to School” is not cool right now.

Written by: Amy Dalke

Dear Back-to-School-Loving Retailer,

Summer is not over.

This is evidently breaking news for you, because every time a harried mother turns her head, you hold another obnoxious solicitation in her face.

Yes, we know school starts in one month. Yes, we know our kids can’t go naked. And yes, we know they need to have backpacks, pencils, five notebooks, and two boxes of tissues.

But really, it’s too soon for all this hype. I’m calling a cease-fire on all your talk about lunchbox essentials, and on your passionate attempt to make me think your latest clothing styles will guarantee my child a successful school year. Frankly, I don’t want my son to be friends with the models in your ad. Real kids don’t look like that. Real kids are messy, and I have yet to see one strolling the grade school hallway, sporting a monogrammed sweater vest.

Basic Back to School Clothes via
Basic Back to School Clothes via

So just save your emails, and hip-looking commercials that hauntingly remind us that August looms.


You must not be a mother, or a father for that matter. Because you would know it took every ounce of self control we could muster to endure the mid-June cries of boredom from our consistently over-stimulated kids. You would know that on the back end of July, our kids have now settled into summer’s pace, and we just want to savor a few more moments of these longer childhood days.

(You evidently are not a teacher, either, because teachers also cringe at the sound of your pesky marketing ploys. Let’s be real: they relish this break from our precious children.)

For crying out loud, July is just not the time to come barking up my tree about your Unbeatable Back to School prices. Even the most dedicated, school-supply-obsessed moms aren’t running to your doorsteps in the glorious, school free zone of July.

In July, our households are operating on a fluid, forever-weekend schedule. We’re soaking up the later hours of the evenings, where our parental responsibilities don’t include that of a tyrannical bedtime dictator.

Back to school_blog picYour commercials are just freaking us out a little bit. (And by the way, I’m no math whiz, but even I know that 20% off is not that awesome.) (I know this, because it’s never amused my husband in the least when I brag about such deals.)

Stop trying to steal the last weeks of vacation! For the love of sno-cones, we get anxious enough when you people try to trick us into buying Christmas presents this time of year. Why can’t you just let it be JULY for a minute?

Let us bask in the easy swing of summer for a few more days. We’re still reminding the kids to hang up wet towels after their summertime approved “pool baths”. (I’ve been told chlorine is a decent substitute for soap.)

This is the month of Wednesday night sleepovers; matinees on a random Thursday; and mid-week mini road trips to the water park.

Lamberts & Luke

Am I being clear enough? Your marketing antics have got to go.

I hope you’ll excuse me when this rant is over, because I’m not typically That Person who complains about customer service, or who writes curmudgeonly letters to places like McDonalds because the ice cream machine is always broken. (That Person would be Larry Dalke, if I were to give specific names.)

Maybe I’m a hormonal, emotional mother, but seriously, your dumb commercials trigger a little sadness in me.

Because summer is sacred…and we lose a little bit of it with every move of the clock.

The end of summer means another calendar day of childhood has slipped away. And if you know what’s good for you, Retail Person, you’ll back away from a sappy mother who mourns the days of Baby Gap and Goldfish. (I mean really, you’ll never win against that.)

I will admit there have been moments in the last six weeks that I wished I could rent Luke out to you for a day. You know, for manual labor or something. Just so I could buy some peace and quiet. (But that isn’t unique to July, let me tell you.)

Alas, Beloved Retailer, your obnoxious ads have served a good purpose. They reminded me to take in all of summer that I possibly can.

To grab onto the joy of slip-and-slides…and backyard baseball…and popsicles. Because summer holds out an open invitation to go slower. It begs us to purposefully number our days instead of rushing through them.


So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

Look carefully how you walk, then, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15,16 ESV

We all know August encroaches.

But, Friendly Retailer, if you could kindly take your grubby little fingers off my sunscreen, I would appreciate it.


That Emotional Mother


2 thoughts on “Back off, Mr. Retailer, “Back to School” is not cool right now.

  1. Amy, how have I not found your blog until now? So glad you linked up with Meredith Bernard’s blog hop. This post is priceless. Even though my kids are grown, I too, wish the constant in-your-face-summer’s-almost-over would stop. I’m sharing this post with my teacher and mom friends on Facebook. It’ll make their day!

  2. I had just watched a clip about how wonderfully simple it was being a kid back in the 50s and it was the perfect segue into your article! I’m with you every step of the way on this one so — keep fightin’ for summer!!!! 🙂

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