Saturday, November 14, 2009

The hunt for the elusive backpack

I had forgotten how hard it is to find a decent quality backpack without paying the hard and heavy price for it.

Last year, younger kid, totally in love with Hannah Montana was allowed to get a character backpack. I knew it would only last a year. I overestimated. One zipper was broken within a month. Still she managed to limp it through the school year.

The other kid had my old college backpack from when I did my photography degree. It was still in perfect shape and was really cute. It was an Oglio and cost me $45 but was worth every penny. Unfortunately, thing 1 left some kind of food product in it at the end of the year and by the time I discovered it...well lets just say I didn't have the stomach to do anything with it other than toss it.

So my kids are going back to school. It occurred to me yesterday that they didn't have backpacks, and were a few other supplies short. So today, when I went grocery shopping, I started with school supplies.

Lunch boxes were easy. Meijer has Thermos lunch bags for $7.99. Not a bad deal. Those will at least last the year if not a couple. I purposely stayed far away from characters.

Folders, a few pencils, pencil cases. Most of the stuff like crayons, glue and paper I have plenty of. Pencils like to disappear. I fear my dog may be eating them like doggy pepperoni sticks.

So my first stop, Meijer, yielded everything but the backpacks. The backpacks were all cheap, crappy made in China dorky looking things. Now I spent my entire childhood looking like a poverty ridden dork. I am not all into the latest trends but I am sensitive enough to keep my kids somewhere in the middle.

Ok, next stop, Big Lots. That may seem counter productive but sometimes they do have name brand stuff. Not so much this time. A trip to Hobby Lobby since it was right next door, had me considering making them a messenger bag but I don't have a ton of time, and the cost would have still been up there as the pattern alone is $16.

My next stop was Staples. They had some lovely Jansport bags...for $60 a piece. That is just too far up there in price for me. I can't make myself drop $120 just in backpacks.

Kmart is nextdoor to Staples so I tried there. I found one okay Starter backpack but I really am trying to cut down on the things I buy made in China. US is preferable, but anywhere but China will do. I have a reason for this, but I am saving it for another post.

Finally I trudged on to Kohls, where I bought a gorgeous dress (thinking ahead to the daddy daughter dance and it was $10. You can't beat that) for my older kid. After finally locating backpacks I found 2 Jansport backpacks for $16 each, normally $40. Sweet!

So, not made in the USA, but made in the UK which is better. I wish I had the money for the High Sierra which if I remember right is a US company, but since locally I am looking at at least $45 per bag, this will have to do.

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