(Copyright 2002. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

Making a permanent impression since 1994

-- Opinion --

Sept. 9, 2002

Back to school ads are surreal

By Katie Jordan

It's that time of year again, and back to school sales are more plentiful than the wads of chewed gum stuck under your desk.

There are plenty of great deals to be found in catalogues, newspaper inserts, and practically everywhere else.

If you need a combination lock, head over to Office Max, where you can buy one and get another free. Now you can forget two combinations for the price of one!

For its back to school sale, Rite Aid has a great deal on paper shredders, in case your dog just can't stomach the high school workload.

Of course, you might also want to stock up on Rite Aid's Scotch tape -- just in case your teacher really insists on having that last homework assignment.

If it's technology you need, stores like Staples and Radio Shack try to capture your attention with intriguing ads made possible through the magic of computers.

One ad, from Staples, depicts two children poking their heads out of the pockets of a backpack. At least, I hope it's not an actual photo. I mean, I know it's tough getting your kids back to school, but I'm sure stuffing them into a piece of luggage constitutes abuse of some kind.

Another even more disturbing ad from Radio Shack features a group of kids with large electronic gadgets lodged between their shoulders instead of heads.

Sadly, not all stores are so technologically, or monetarily, inclined. An ad for K-Mart, for example, pictures some children surfing gleefully. On ironing boards.

If you're like the majority of teens out there, you just can't shop for the new school year without getting something to wear.

An advertisement from Bob's Stores pictures countless back to school outfits. Oddly enough, few, if any, of the models are actually in a school setting.

Instead, they're all at the beach or in an alley, looking suspiciously happy. "Bob's Stores: the coolest clothes to skip school in!"

Bob's also has a wide variety of shoes that could be worn skipping — or walking (but I wouldn't recommend running in the high heels).

You could buy a pair of Sketchers "waffle stompers." We're lucky the school doesn't serve waffles or else you could count on a whole new set of bizarre cafeteria rules.

Then there's "Air Icarus" from the ever-popular Nike.

For those of you who aren't Greek mythology buffs, Icarus is the guy who used a pair of wax wings to escape imprisonment, only to fly too close to the sun, melt the wings, and fall to his death.

Not somebody I'd want my shoes named after, but maybe I'm just picky.

Go ahead and buy 'em, just don't sit too close to the school's faulty heating system.

If you've already left high school behind, faulty heating system and all, don't feel left out: there are plenty of absurd advertisements aimed straight at the college-bound.

One such promotion boasts of Todd Oldham, "boy wonder of the fashion world."

The young designer came up with a totally revolutionary idea for dorm room décor: mixing patterns and colors!

Such a brilliantly simple idea, it almost seems like anyone could have thought of it.

Then again, Todd certainly wouldn't want to over-estimate the intelligence of today's consumers.

In fact, he's conveniently labeled his products for you! Never again will you suffer the embarrassment, or chafing, of confusing your rug with your bath towel.

If you've looked everywhere and still can't find what you're looking for, don't lose hope.

An insert from Walgreens claims that it's the place to "find everything you need to stay ahead of your class!"

That includes such classroom essentials as notebooks, pens and the Denise Austin Thigh Tek XL Thigh Toner and Body Conditioner (as seen on TV!).

The Tattoo's Insider's Guide to High School


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