Open Your Notebooks, Take Out Your Pens

The excitement over the new school year surges when shopping for school supplies and there can be no doubt that this year the products are more attractive and user-friendly than ever.

Atara Ofek
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Atara Ofek

The excitement over the new school year surges when shopping for school supplies and there can be no doubt that this year the products are more attractive and user-friendly than ever.

Loose-leaf binders and notebook covers are made of thin, flexible plastic, making them much easier to stuff into schoolbags; they also last much longer compared to the older cardboard bindings, whose edges tended to wear out quickly.

Fashion companies now design notebooks and binders, pencil cases and book covers, schoolbags and organizers - all in bright, attractive colors. Pencils and pens are brilliantly colorful, with all kinds of new gadgets, and the chain stores are offering attractive deals.

A survey conducted by Business Data Israel (BDI) shows that the average cost of a basket of school supplies (not including textbooks) this year, like last year, runs about NIS 300-400. Most products are imported from abroad and the expensive brands cost 10-15 percent more than the others.

In order to save time and money, one can order a "Limoodit" kit containing all necessary school supplies, including a schoolbag suitable for different ages, on the phone or Internet at almost half the price a similar basket of supplies would cost in the stores. However, it is a package deal and customers may end up with unnecessary or irrelevant products. However, in the basket for the younger grades, we were moved to discover a nostalgic assignment book - simple and soft-covered, straight out of the 1960s - with timetables and homework pages, place for teachers' comments and a place to record absences at the end of the week, alongside a place for parents' signatures - so innocent and unsophisticated that one could cry. Orders 24 hours a day at Teleklal - 03-6066553, or at the company's Internet site: www.limoodit.co.il.

Don't forget your schoolbag

A JanSport schoolbag, that arrived late and missed this column's survey of schoolbags last week, was trialed by a small team of testers, which after the fact awarded it first place. The bag's rounded design, which has become the distinctive trademark of JanSport bags, has been copied by other schoolbag manufacturers, but no other bag we tested sat so well on the body, as if it had been tailor-made to order, thanks to the perfectly ergonomic back, the distribution of weight between the shoulders and hips and the ingenious S-shaped straps, covered with a thin "sweatbuster" mesh which sit on the shoulders and chest perfectly. The catalog displays a wide variety of bags with one or two main compartments in lovely combinations of youthful colors. It is just a shame that most models do not have side pockets for water bottles and that the wide straps are thick and hot.

In the Airzone model we tested, like many others, the lining contains a new material that resembles a dense honeycomb, which appears as a motif on the shoulder straps and on an ornament hanging from the front zipper. The new material is supposed to absorb shocks and distribute weight properly. (NIS 160-490 at Office Depot, Kravitz, Dionon, Lametayel, Tik VaTik, Ricochet and Zentner stores and at sports shops and schools with back-to-school supplies.)

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