My youngest daughter is starting middle school next week and I’m not okay with it.
Sure, those of you who dropped your kids off at college this week will tell me I don’t know the half of it. And you’re right. But the 40% I do know is still hard to swallow.
It’s not that I wish she was a toddler again or anything. I love that we can watch Marvel movies together. I can swear in front of her and trust that she’ll only repeat it appropriately. She makes perfect crème brûlée from scratch. I don’t miss diapers.
But middle school is a game-changer. According to our data, 41% of adult women say they hated middle school, versus only 16% who loved it. I didn’t grow up around girls, so I had no idea until our older daughter left elementary school how awful it would be. Then, I started reading about it (Untangled by Lisa Damour was my life jacket if you’re ever in the same boat).
Boys are clueless, borderline-Neanderthal creatures and their obliviousness is like a shield. I was — and still am — one of them. Boys have it easy, relatively.
Girls, though, are insightful and affected. And they can be mean — holy cow, can they be mean. They use friendship as a weapon. And social media is the bayonet.
We won’t allow Noelle to have a phone or social media until she’s 13, which puts her in the minority. It won’t protect her. She’s a girl with the last name Dick, as if middle school isn’t torture enough.
Her sister survived and heads off to high school this year with wind in her sails. But it wasn’t a cake-walk, by any stretch.
So, I want to pause time in the worst way. I recently overheard someone refer to August as “the Sunday of months” and I immediately wished I had thought of that because it’s spot-on. Maybe sending your baby girl off to middle school is like the end of Christmas break. You know that a few months of nasty weather and dark days are on the way.
Fortunately, another summer will be here before we know it. Time flies, indeed.
Here’s what we’re seeing right now:
While we’re on the subject, back-to-school shopping is shifting online at a much slower pace than other areas of retail. Perhaps it’s a popular family outing or the kids just like to touch and wear their new backpacks before buying them. But in-store back-to-school shopping is still boss by a safe margin. Incidentally, over 40% of back-to-school shoppers hadn’t even started shopping before this week. 30% had completed all of it. Count us in the majority.
In more back-to-school news (can you tell I’m obsessed?), consumer confidence should be a harbinger of a healthy retail season this year.Naturally, people with a more positive outlook for the U.S. economy expect to spend more this year than last. Since we know economic sentiment has been improved comfortably over last year…well, you can do the math.
People in the U.S. Northeast are the best tippers — those in the West are the worst. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger, Left-Coasters. The numbers don’t lie. Also, Millennials are the heaviest tippers AND the most likely to not tip at all — though the latter is a tiny percentage. Most people vary their tips based on service but nearly 1 in 4 give the same percent every time. Oh, and 49% of consumers (and even more Millennials) believe tipping should be rendered obsolete, replaced by better wages for workers. That Danny-Meyer-led trend could catch on — at least until we replace everyone with kiosks and robots.
The President’s attack on Harley Davidson last weekend didn’t move the needle — because he already moved it. We wrote about declining consumer sentiment toward Harley Davidson in late June, after news (and resulting tweets from the Prez) of their decision to move some manufacturing overseas. 38% of U.S. adults said the move worsened their opinion of the brand. We re-ran the question on Monday morning after Trump again fired shots at Harley. Almost uncannily, the numbers were exactly the same. The Trump-Tribe had already made up its mind.
Vegan and vegetarian products still have a lot of room to grow. My one kid is a “pescatarian,” meaning the only meat she eats is fish. The other kid is allergic to fish and nuts, so planning a menu around our house is basically the bane of my existence. We go vegetarian from time to time — putting us inthe 25-30% of Americans who would — at least sometimes — cook or order vegetarian/vegan. That’s a far cry from the mere 5% who eat vegetarian/vegan ALL the time, suggesting there might be a larger market opportunity than my bacon-loving self would have ever thought.
Somehow over 1/3rd of people have never worked with assholes. We ran an interesting study this week, asking people whether they’ve ever experienced “incivility” in the workplace. 65% of U.S. adults said ‘yes’ and 35% said ‘no.’ Women were more likely than men to say ‘yes’ — they were also more likely to say that the incivility was from another woman. People in computer/technical/medical fields were by far the most likely to experience incivility at work. The least surprising stat of all: People who face incivility in the workplace are leaps and bounds more likely to be experiencing job burnout. Nobody wants to work with jerks.
Some Random (Facial) Stats of the Week
- 39% of people prefer beards to mustaches (22%) — 39% prefer no facial hair at all
- 45% of men prefer beards, 23% mustaches, 32% nothing
- 32% of women prefer beards, 21% mustaches, 46% nothing
- 34% of women “always” wear makeup, even away from work or social events
- 19% of women use eyelash extensions, false eyelashes, or both
- 6% of Americans have had or would consider having a facelift
- An equal 6% of Americans have had or would consider having Botox injections
You’re all beautiful just the way you are.
Hoping you’re well.