Moms And Their Tweens Are Losing Their Accessories-Addled Minds Over Locker Decorations

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lockerlookzThe priorities of middle schoolers don’t have a reputation for being stellar. Among my own were 1). Is my hair straight? 2). Is my hair straight? 3). Is my hair straight? But it apparently isn’t just tweens who are throwing full on tantrums over how even their lockers appear. Sadly, it’s the mothers too. reports that in St. Louis, Missouri, the lockers accessories company LockerLookz, which sells locker chandeliers, mini shag rugs, magnetic wallpaper, and dry erase boards, has been confronted with quite the rainbow of batshit parents:

The fledgling entrepreneurs say they were getting 2,000 calls a week, many from retailers begging for more product because they couldn’t keep what they had on the shelf. Sterling says a retailer called to tell them about a mother and daughter who wanted to buy the only remaining display items, but when the store refused to sell the display, the two threw a tantrum, plopped on the floor and refused to leave until they sold them the display. (The store caved to their demands.)

Also, two mothers reportedly “nearly got into a fistfight” when both of them were vying for the last remaining $24.99 battery-operated chandelier at a store. And when parents aren’t close to brawling over mere locker decorations or throwing tantrums in stores, they’re lining up like tweens at a Justin Bieber concert:

Other specialty stores said they had to hold lotteries to decide who could purchase the items and reported lines of 300 customers outside their doors. Sterling said they received emails from girls whose parents drove them 200 miles in search of the locker accessories they wanted, only to find them sold out. And they heard calls from sobbing tween girls.

If you’re just as head-scratchy as I am over why locker accessories (seriously mini dry erase boards?), of all things, would turn a bunch of parents into foaming at the mouth lunatics, here’s one pretty salient theory:

It’s because this [company] hit upon a burgeoning rite of passage and turned it into a commercial bonanza. These lockers, like so much of what is de rigour for this demographic, seem worlds removed from the stuff we had.

[Christi Sterling, co-founder of LockerLookz] says much of the conversation among girls the summer before middle school centers on how they will decorate their lockers…Today’s tweens have had their own branding since birth. From their Pottery Barn-decorated playrooms to their mural-enhanced bedrooms, we’ve created a stylized aesthetic for each stage of childhood.

Of course, tweens want to express their individuality. They’ve had more designed around them and for them than any 9- to 13-year-olds in recent history. They expect a customized childhood.

Furthermore, parents have not only been clawing all over one another to partake in this “customized childhood,” but they’ve also been exhibiting their love through crap:

And parents have become used to demonstrating their affection through things, especially if they see other parents doing it. Like so many other aspects of parenting, it becomes a race: Will my daughter feel left out because her locker is so 1980s industrial gray metal?

How you get from “will my kid feel left out?” to being an adult throwing yourself on the floor of a store seems like a continent of space to travel. But we officially have to expand the adage about not negotiating with toddlers or terrorists. Also never negotiate with the grownass woman crying on your floor about wanting the last battery-operated locker chandelier.