Looking slightly dazed, Adilene Torrijos wandered down the aisles in the Darien clutching her first-grade son’s school supply list.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” Torrijos said. “I’m trying to find everything exactly as it’s listed and this is my first time doing this.”
She laughed as she remarked that her son’s only concern was that his mom could find as many “Lightning McQueen” (the animated character from the movie Cars II) products as possible.
Local stores have been filling their school supply shelves to the brim with writing utensils, folders, papers, accessories, lunchboxes, backpacks, calculators and even underwear in anticipation of the buying frenzy. Most area schools start in two weeks or less.
Walmart assistant manager Laurie Ola has been overseeing back-to-school sales for five years. She said she’d been curious if sales would dip this year because Illinois isn’t offering its tax-free holiday, but so far that’s not the case.
“So far there’s no slow down,” noted Ola. Her biggest challenge preparing for the school season was obtaining the supply lists from the schools’ websites.
“Schools are very specific in what they want the kids to bring, so we want to have the list and items ready for parents,” Ola said. She laughed, noting the items hardest to keep in stock are the simplest—wide-ruled notebooks and especially multipack, rectangular pink erasers.
Chris Rieter, manager for at Cass and 75th, said customers have been taking advantage of school supply sales over the past two weeks.
“Even grandparents come in to pick up extra supplies for their grandkids,” Rieter said. “Everyone wants to take advantage of the sales.”
Last year, Rieter couldn’t keep Crazerasers—fun-shaped collectible erasers—in stock. He said school supply sales always spike a few days before the start and a few days after.
Shana Doan has three children, one each enrolled in elementary, junior high and high school. She perused the Walmart aisles looking for very specific items from her seventh-grader's list.
“My high school son cares about brands, my little one is happy as long as there’s SpongeBob on it and my seventh-grader isn’t particular about any of it,” Doan explained.
She said that her biggest challenge is finding the right kind of backpack.
“The kids have so many heavy books, [the backpack] has to last, but it also has to be cool,” said Doan, who said she usually finds backpacks at Kohl’s and online.
You can find the school supply list for most Darien students below:
Eisenhower Junior High School (choose grade level from menu on left)
Hinsdale Central High School (Textbook list only)
Hinsdale South High School (Textbook list only)
Kingswood Academy (find grade level under Mandatory Forms)
Our Lady Of Peace (current list not yet available online)