Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter
With less than a week to go before the 2013-2014 school year begins, hundreds of parents flocked the shopping malls and plazas in downtown Kingston yesterday scampering to find the best deals.
Many of the parents say they are being forced to scale back on back-to-school shopping this year as prices have skyrocketed but their salaries are roughly the same.
They said they have had to rationalise which items to strike off their lists as the dollars are scarce.
A member of the Jamaica Defence Force, adorned in his uniform, out shopping for his son about to enter grade 11, said the supplies are available, but he has had to be shifting his budget with each purchase.
"We have to be making some adjustments because pay is not going up but the prices are sky high," he said.
Another parent, Effanna Swaby, expressed similar sentiments while standing in line at a department store with her son's khaki uniform.
"The prices are shocking!" she exclaimed when asked how she was coping during the back-to-school season.
"Last year, I paid $1,500 for a suit of khaki, and now its $1,300 for a pants and $850 for a shirt. This is way more than I expected," she added.
Swaby said she devised a strategy with her son's father for him to fund the books while she would purchase the uniforms.
Several parents also told The Gleaner that they have been trying to save for some time now, hoping to beat the last-minute rush. However, they said they were unable to amass enough cash to avoid the crunch.