Savvy shopping on tax holiday is family business

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Taking four elementary-age boys into the shopping frenzy created by this weekend's tax holiday didn't faze April Bryant of Cape Girardeau. With a list of stops in her head and a determined look in her eye, she set out Saturday on her task with the assistance of her mother, Eve Beatty, and mother-in-law Kathy Darby to shop for school clothes. Bryant is a savvy shopper. Clearance racks and marked-down goods are the first to catch her eye.

Shirts, shorts and socks topped the list, so the family group headed for Kmart. The four boys -- Austin, who's going into sixth grade at Central Middle School; and Dakota, Joshua and Lance, who will be in the fourth, third, and first grades, respectively, at Franklin -- had their own ideas about what they wanted. With long hair flying as she kept a watchful eye on the boys, who were darting in every direction, Bryant was in control. This wasn't a day for dillydallying; decisions had to be made.

A skull and crossbones cap was ruled out by Grandma Beatty. Sports teams didn't fare well with Mom, so in the end Sponge Bob, Chevy racing and dragons won out in the hat department.

Bryant found a good bargain on shorts and matching shirts, but when Darby pointed out they would need to be ironed, easier-care clothing was selected.

After a quick stop at Walgreens, it was off to Shoe Carnival with an offer of buy one, get one for half price. Austin quickly found a pair of white athletic shoes trimmed in red, his favorite color. Bryant was able to get from one boy to the other and help with final selections. She was also able to take advantage of the savings and find a pair of shoes for herself.

With shoppers everywhere and "mommy" echoing from the four corners of the store, Beatty thought the experience was hectic.

"This is why I do my shopping during the week," she said.

Darby agreed that this definitely wasn't a normal shopping experience for her.

Other than the heart-stopping moment when Bryant couldn't find her wallet, the day seemed typical.

"This is what it's like every time I go grocery shopping with the boys," she said.

Bryant didn't have school materials on today's list.

"I took care of that earlier when Target had their big sale," she said.

"When are we going to leave?" asked Lance, who had enough shopping for one day.

Just two short hours after beginning, Bryant could call her shopping finished. The offer of pizza brought smiles to the faces of the boys -- grandmas too -- as they headed for Cici's.

And just where was Dad during all this? Bryant's husband, Kent, was home nursing a sinus infection.

"I knew there would be too many people out there, and I just didn't feel like going," he said.

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