I'm sitting here listening to Virgin radio's breakfast show as I do every day after the school run... apparently according to this morning's 8am news the 'back to school' market in the UK represents the third biggest peak in shopping in the UK after Xmas and Black Friday with parents spending an estimated £1.2 billion on all the things kids need for going back to school.
That is very interesting from my position here in my mainland Europe 'brexile'! I was saying to Thomas last night that when I was getting the kids ready for going back to school today, I was amazed (and relieved) at how little it cost me compared to back home (I bought two bags at a tenner each). There is the obvious no uniform or PE kit so nothing to buy there but it struck me yesterday, I haven't actually seen anything much in the shops encouraging parents to bankrupt themselves... there are no more school bags, pencil cases, lunchboxes in the shops than there have been any other day since I first visited back in April. There is no more stationery than ever there is. I have seen a total of one 'Back to School' sign hanging in a shop (in Deichmann's in Odense Rosengårdcentret - basically the equivalent of Braehead - above the trainers(!), just like home, not!)
The hype and hysteria I associate with Back to School is just missing altogether. There isn't any great pressure to throw out last year's bag or pencil case and replace it with a new one, unless it is worn or broken. There are no queues round the block outside the hairdresser's! It all feels much less stressful as if sense rather than commercial pressure is driving the back to school period.