A College Student's Thoughts On Shopping With Parents

A College Student's Thoughts On Shopping With Parents

We love shopping, and we love our parents, but sometimes the two don't mix well.
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As most university students could probably tell you, there is little time for shopping during the three-month period of classes, homework, and busy-ness that is the standard college semester.

When final exams have come and gone and students return home for holiday breaks, we're all in need of a little retail therapy.

Sure, we probably pick up groceries once every week or two, and walking the aisles of the local grocery store, choosing the best apples and picking between flavors of hummus, can be a relaxing break from schoolwork. But we rarely have time to shop for much more than the essentials during our action-packed college semesters.

Now that we're home with plenty of free time at our disposal, many of us will spend it shopping for gifts for ourselves, as well as countless friends and family members. And naturally, being at home during the holidays, a significant percentage of these trips may happen in the company of our parents.

Parents of college students are some of the most patient, loving, and generous people on the planet. They constantly put up with so much from us, their beloved, almost-grown-up children, who are trying to navigate our new-found independence while still feeling part of our families.

Shopping with parents during the holidays can be a great way to spend some time with them, catch up after a long semester, and just enjoy their company. But on the other hand, it can also be a bit stressful.

Shopping, especially during the rush that happens before every major holiday, really seems to exemplify all of the disagreements that we have with our parents on a regular basis. Sometimes we can't agree on what stores to go to or which ones to avoid.

Even when you want to go to the same places, you struggle to decide where to go first. Maybe your father walks right past the clothing section and gets impatient with you for trying on fifty pairs of jeans, not realizing you've been alternating between two pairs all semester because you haven't had a chance to shop for more.

Or on the flip-side, maybe your foot starts tapping while your mother decides between shades of lipstick since you had an 8 AM class this semester and haven't worried about makeup in months. You wonder why your parents are willing to spend so much on certain products, and they worry that you're wasting what little you made at your summer job on things they don't think you need.

If you're picking out gifts for family that you haven't seen in a while since you've been at school, it seems that they reject every suggestion you offer because "Grandma already has enough lotion" or "your cousin doesn't like trains anymore." Seriously, can we ever be right?

But, as frustrated as you might be at your mom for taking forever or at your dad for second-guessing all of your choices for Christmas gifts, try to remember that you won't always have the opportunity to spend this much time with the folks.

As hard as it might be to imagine now, you could end up moving away for your career, or working right up until the holiday, so there may come a day when all of your shopping happens solo or with friends. Shopping with the parents isn't just about finding the best deals and checking items off of your own to-do list; it's also about spending time with people who have had a huge role in your life, love you, and want you to succeed and be happy.

Next time you hit the stores with your folks, be patient with each other, and enjoy every busy, boring, quirky moment that you have with them. And if they offer to pay, just consider that an added bonus.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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The Tradition At Nordstrom: Celebrating One Holiday At A Time

A reminder that the next holiday coming up is one of thanks, not gifts.
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Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas as much as the next person. I love when the lights go up and the sound of Christmas music is played in everyones' cars. I love when my house smells like pine needles and cinnamon. I love the smiles you see on strangers' faces during the holiday season. However, when the holiday season starts in early November, it tends to throw me off a bit. My mindset quickly changes to asking myself if I have enough money to buy this person a present this year and the idea that I am going home for Thanksgiving to see my entire family for the first time since I left for school is no longer in my head. The fact of the matter is, when two holidays are being celebrated at the same time, one of them will get pushed to the corner. That is why I think it is absolutely awesome that Nordstrom has decided to celebrate one holiday at a time.

Every year outside of Nordstrom, you will see a sign that reads

“at Nordstrom…

We won’t be decking our halls
until Friday, November 27.

Why? Well, we just like the idea
of celebrating one holiday at a time.

From our family to yours,
Happy Thanksgiving.

We will be closed Thanksgiving Day.
On Friday, our doors will open to welcome the new season.”

Closed on Thanksgiving Day, Nordstrom proves itself to be different from other stores, that have Halloween Candy out in August and start airing Christmas commercials in late December. I do not think society realizes how much of an impact these stores and media have on our lives. If we see a Christmas commercial in late October, of course we are bound to get excited about making our Christmas list. By focusing on the idea of gifts and things we want, we forget that the holiday season is when we should be giving thanks.

I believe that most people love Thanksgiving. I believe that they love eating good food with their family. I believe in the relaxing post-turkey naps. I believe that taking a step back and looking at your surroundings that day will give you an overwhelming feeling of gratefulness. And I believe that Nordstrom celebrating one holiday at a time is an idea that most stores should follow.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/11/10/black-friday-battle-shapes-up-as-nordstrom-vs-walmart/

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Amazon's HQ2: How Will It Affect Virginia?

Amazon has chosen Crystal City, Arlington, to house one-half of its new headquarters, "HQ2." But how will it affect the state as a whole?

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On November 13th, e-commerce giant Amazon announced it will split its new headquarters between Long Island City in New York and Crystal City in Virginia. This major decision ends a tight competition between cities and states across the country who have been offering the company huge tax breaks and incentive programs since 2017.

But in the end, Virginia offered the best deal: a multi-million dollar direct state incentive package, which Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday, November 13th, promising $550 million in direct state incentives as long as the company creates 25,000 high-paying jobs and makes a capital investment of up to $2.5 billion in the state over the next 20 years. He also revealed that the package will provide for $1.1 billion in state investments in higher education across Virginia and $195 million in transportation improvements for northern cities. Amazon will receive additional incentives (just a slight $200 million more) if they create over 12,000 more jobs in the future expansion of the headquarters, which they haven't promised yet.

So, that's a lot of information and numbers. From the numbers, it sounds good, right? Or wait, maybe it sounds bad. The creation of more jobs is obviously a good thing, but what about that huge incentives package? It's hard to tell how Amazon's presence will affect Crystal City and the state as a whole just yet, but many are anticipating a drastic impact.

On one hand, Gov. Northam called Amazon's choice a big win for the state, one that will bring in many immediate jobs and spur entrepreneurial activity. Virginia's incentives package includes investments in the state's public education and transportation infrastructure, which will only help to grow a strong workforce, a stable and competitive business climate, and a top-tier higher education system.

Todd Haymore, a former secretary of Commerce and Trade, wrote a column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch declaring Amazon's "HQ2" will benefit not only Northern Virginia but the entire state. He wrote that the project will propel new technology investment throughout the state and only affirm Virginia's title as the "Silicon Valley of the East Coast." And because the headquarters will need a skilled workforce, Amazon and Virginia agreed that colleges such as Virginia Tech, George Mason University, and Virginia Commonwealth University will be building new centers and programs to increase the number of people getting degrees in computer science and engineering. Haymore also said that the new jobs available will grow an educated workforce, stabilize taxes, provide reasonable costs of living, and establish high quality of life metrics.

Looking at the thousands of new jobs and the billions to be invested in education, transportation, public health, and safety, it's no wonder why some are ecstatic about Virginia's upcoming HQ2. Others, however, are gravely concerned about the site's potential effects on housing, traffic, and wage inequality in the state.

Michael Hobbs wrote for the Huffington Post about Amazon's effect in Seattle: he acknowledged that while Amazon did grow the city's job market and per-capita income, it was undeniable that the growth disproportionately disadvantaged poor residents. Housing prices in Seattle were pushed way up, "turning homeowners into millionaires and renters into refugees." The homeless crisis got so bad that the mayor declared it an emergency. So it's no wonder why many Virginians are concerned, especially considering Arlington's existing housing shortage due to steeply rising prices and tight restrictions on building apartments.

The Seattle-based music artist who goes by the name "Spekulation" echoed these concerns when he tweeted, "Dear New York and DC, Amazon isn't bringing you 50,000 high paying jobs. They're bringing 50,000 people with high paying jobs to where you currently live. This won't help your community, it will replace your community."

Michael Hobbs also wrote that, with the addition of high-paying jobs, thousands more low-paying jobs will be created underneath to supplement. This could pose a problem in Virginia, whose minimum wage is $7.25 an hour with no policies guaranteeing sick paid leave or family leave. If basic working conditions aren't improved, he said, Amazon's investment will only create a more impoverished and insecure workforce.

Another major concern is the effect HQ2 could have on traffic in the area. As a lifelong resident of Virginia, I can tell you that the traffic – not only in the northern region but in the south too – is absolutely a disaster. During rush hour, a holiday, the weekend, or at any other random time, traffic can stall to the point where it takes more than an hour to go a little more than a mile. Transportation conditions could improve with the investments in the state's incentives package, but it's yet to be seen.

Regardless of where you live in Virginia, there's no doubt that Amazon's stake in Crystal City will massively affect the entire region. Whether those effects will be positive or negative, we'll just have to wait and see.

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