Summer just started, but for those already looking forward to class time Staples today released its hot trends list in back-to-school buying.
First, neon's back so bring sunglasses when heading into the racks of backpacks and binders.
Not bright enough? Push-on pizazz with fiber-optics on staplers, rulers, dry-erase boards, pencil pouches -- even light-up lunch bags.
Lockers have largely disappeared in some districts. But for those who have them, magnetized interior decor has gone upscale.
A little dark in there? Add a motion sensor chandelier ($20) or a light-up pencil bin. My shared high school locker barely had room for the pencils, but for those worried about that bare look there are locker glitter rugs and magnetic locker wallpaper.
Hard plastic -- so passe. Calculators flex everything but the answers. A chameleon tape dispenser promises to change color when touched. Still stiff and frosty, cold packs come custom sized to fit lunch pack containers.
Banish the blah of those old composition books covered in crackly black and white. Custom covers printed on cover-sized stickers can put Facebook pics and personalized messages front and center.
Outfitting a cool kid can cost, however. According to the National Retail Federation, last year elementary through high school students averaged $688 each on back to school supplies.
By that number I clearly did not do my part to end the recession, but for college I seem to be making up for all those years of cheapskatery. Next on the back to school list for this parent: Cases of ramen noodles and tomato soup to last until this year's back to school bills are paid.