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Back-to-School Advertisements Tell Us Something About How Things Have Changed

When I graduated HS and was heading off to college, the year was 1983, I remember it well, as I was the Senior Class President and soon I would be the low-man on the Totem Pole all over again. I remember the Back-to-School ads targeting graduating high school seniors on their way to college. Back then we didn’t have cell phones, well, we did but the cost was exorbitant – how about $.70 to $1.00 per minute? Now then, perhaps like you I’ve been getting the same back-to-school ads in my mail box.

Recently, I’ve gotten them from Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Target, Walmart, and quite a few others. Dell has sent me their catalog, so has Apple, and other electronic manufacturers. In my day there were electronics, but they were things like a Texas Instrument mathematics calculator, a Casio calculator watch, and all sorts of Boom Boxes. You could get a TRS-80 computer, which is hilarious considering what we have today, you’d have been better off with the TI calculator to tell you the truth.

They also had typewriters, IBM, and other brands. I already had a small one that was electric and it made corrections by changing the cartridge. Now flash forward and here I am reading my “College Essentials 2010 – Everything – College Guide” full color newspaper size advertisement and marketing piece from Target. Amazing! There is a $5.00 coupon attached with a bar code (next year will probably be an RFID Chip) and it is jam packed with stuff I could only dream of back in the day – and with a forward thinking innovative mind, I probably did too!

Inside is a set of speakers made for an iPhone docking station to play tunes, Xbox 360 Arcade Console, iPad like computer, iPods, Digital Recorder, Graphic Calculator for calculus, memory sticks, custom small printers, digital cameras, digital video cameras, entertainment centers, coffee pots, microwaves, backpacks, cleaning supplies, bathroom supplies, and Mountain Dew by the case? OMG! I wish. And what parents are supposed to buy all this for their kids – that is insane? Let Obama’s Stimulus pay for it – have you seen the price of tuition these days?

With all these distractions how on earth is the kid suppose to graduate? About the only thing that wasn’t in the catalog was the alcohol that kids drink in college. I think we are spoiling our kids, and perhaps we need to get back to learning, not shower them with all the material goods of the rich and famous. We need to teach them to fish, not load them up with everything but a fish tank for their dorm room! Please consider all this.