Sunday, July 22, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 20

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on August 15th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 24 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 24

Shopping with Joe Cool

Ariel corners the market on cool school attire


August has arrived and school is about to commence. So start your motors, moms and dads, and rev up your charge cards—we’re all going shopping!

There’s school supplies to buy, of course, and the newest, coolest lunch box or backpack. That’s the easy stuff. Get ready to race to the sales for school clothes. I hope you’ve all kept up with the latest trends!

For the past 11 years I have gone shopping for school clothes for our grandson. When he was a little guy it was so easy. I did most of it alone—one-stop shopping at Kmart for everything.

Trends were simpler then. SpongeBob Squarepants, Ninja Turtles, and Power Rangers were popular for both T-shirts and underwear. Sneakers made for running around, with Spiderman logos, were all the rage.

As he grew older, Bazinga and nerd shirts were popular, although SpongeBob was still pretty cool, as were plaid shorts and soccer team jerseys. Basic tennis shoes for hanging out during recess and lunch break filled the bill. Plaid boxers shorts were requested—no cartoon characters, please.

Our boy, The Briteen, is now in high school and everything has changed, except those plaid boxers. He wears the same size as my husband, The Brit, so I must take care to buy extra pairs. This avoids morning bellows of, “Bloody hell, I’m out of underwear again! What’s going on?”

What’s going on is we now have a teenager who changes underwear with his moods, which can change hourly. Shopping for school clothes has also changed. My only job now is that of chauffeur and ATM.

The Briteen likes to wear skateboard gear—shirts and hoodies with logos like Huf, Thrasher, and Primitive. Am I dressing a high schooler or a caveman?

And don’t get me started on socks! This kid has a collection of socks that run the gamut of stripes, logos, and prints of doughnuts and Union Jacks. He browses sock racks like an oenophile looking for the perfect vintage. But I say no to marijuana leaves.

I am a supporter of legalized cannabis, but it has its place and, for now, that place is not emblazoned on my kid’s clothing. I just feel it’s inappropriate for a 15-year-old, as are slogans that put down other people or are just plain vulgar.

“But I like the tops of these socks and the leaves are on the feet which won’t show from inside my shoes,” The Briteen reasoned over one particular pair.

“Okay, but you keep your shoes on!”

Shopping has never been the Briteen’s favorite activity, but he does have some favorite haunts like the clothing shop Passport in SLO. This small store is great for three reasons: They have a 40 percent off rack in the back, stock first-run skate shirts that my kid loves to collect, and they have sales clerk Chris Limon.

When shopping with the Briteen, I have learned not to be helpful. This is where good sales clerks, like Chris, are so wonderful.

“Look at this lovely shirt, Honey!” I held up black and red plaid button down shirt from the sale rack. It was promptly rejected.

“But it’s so soft and would look great on you,” I reasoned. “At least try it on. You’ll thank me later.”

However, I was quietly rebuffed with a tolerant look. I slunk away, the uncool grandma, and waited to be summoned by “Beau Brummell,” charge card at the ready.

Chris proceeded to show Mr. Brummell the latest shirts, respecting my quietly uttered comment about budget. He pulled a black and red checked button down shirt off the sales rack. Hey, didn’t I just do that? Why am I sitting in the corner?

“These are really popular,” Chris told my kid, who tried it on and loved it.

“Oh, Grandma, this looks so good, and it’s so soft and comfortable! Can I get this?”

Yeah, don’t listen to your Grandma, who loves you, listen to the nice man she discreetly begged to advise you and do what he suggests, which is exactly what I was trying to tell you. You’ll thank me later.

Vans and Zumiez at the Pismo Outlets are my kid’s other go-to venues. Both stores have BOGO deals, which always get my attention. But this year he said something that melted my heart.

“Grandma, could we also check out Ross? They have good deals.” I heard angels singing!

Speaking of angels, Zumiez has one. His name is Angel! This guy gets it. He must have read Mark Twain who said, “Teenagers don’t ask questions because they know all the answers.”

When I told Mr. Cool a shirt he tried on was too tight, he insisted it was perfect.

“It pulls across your chest. Go up a size,” I pleaded. “You’ll thank me later.” I was politely rebuffed and retired to my corner.

Angel found him a BOGO deal on some pants and said, “That shirt’s too tight, man. You should try a larger size.” Briteen did, and looked ultra cool. Yeah, don’t listen to your Grandma, who loves you, oh, never mind.

Angel helped find good buys for a cash-strapped grandparent while making my beautiful boy look super cool and fly! Or is it fleek? I can’t keep up.

When we got home he modeled everything for The Brit, who congratulated him on his excellent fashion sense. Huh? Where’s my credit in this?

“Thank you both for the clothes,” The Briteen said as he proceeded to raid the fridge and pantry for sustenance. Shopping takes a lot out of you! I proceeded to the recliner and elevated my aching feet, but just before I got there something magical happened.

A strong pair of arms encircled me and my little boy’s voice, now deeper, spoke. “Thank you, Grandma, for taking me shopping. I love you.”

What could I say? “I love you, too, Sweetheart!” I was right after all—he thanked me later!

Ariel Waterman enjoys shopping local and hopes you do too. She can be reached via Managing Editor Joe Payne at

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