These Back to School Guides Assume Everyone is Wealthy

3 min read
These Back To School Guides Assume Everyone Is Wealthy

The “back to school guide” is a new concept. You would expect such a guide to contain valuable information kids and parents should know for the fast-approaching school year. However, Google it, and the search results will give you lists of expensive high-tech gadgets, which means that they are only useful to the extremely wealthy.

You would guess a legitimate back to school guide would offer information about rules and dress codes, not an ad for $499 over-the-ear headphones. Too costly for you? The next page suggests you purchase earbuds for $300. Every back to school guide follows this pattern.

The creators of these lists occasionally have fits of sensibility and suggest practical items — for example computers, which are commonly used in schools now. Unfortunately, the laptops they recommend have exorbitant prices, so they are out of the price range for a middle-class family.



In back to school guides for college students, like the one published by Engadget, “Back To School Guide,” you will find a cheap coffee press and a printer under “Accessories,” since they deemed these items lacking in the necessary quality to show up in the virtual reality section of the guide.

Surprisingly, they think modern students need an $800 HTC Vive virtual reality headset. Engadget says this device, “uses micro-mirrors to shoot images directly into your eye, so there’s no screen or pixelation to worry about.”

The Verge

The Verge

A completely unnecessary $500 drone appears on the “Back to School Guide” published by The Verge. If this makes your blood boil, you have to realize that these lists are written for the type of wealthy donor who gives funds to build a recording studio for his old choir group from college.



This guide categorized products by fields of concentration. Check out these recommendations for English majors – $62 Burberry cologne, a set of $129 earbuds, and a $100 wool jacket. This list assumes that English majors are simply heirs that squandered their family fortune and then accidentally majored in English.

The suggestions for engineering students are the following: a black knee-length trench coat for $135, a sweater for $190, and a set of color-changing light bulbs for $199. Apparently, Bloomberg assumes that engineering students are all nineties movie characters.

At this point, we know that these tech sites don’t have the slightest idea about the financial situations of almost all college students. Or how humans function on the most basic level.



CNET has a “Back To School Guide” that assumes the Purge movies are real. They have included several kinds of security cameras and an array of home security devices.  When parents of prospective college students read this list, they must assume that they are sending their children to a war zone. A ten-year supply of canned goods and a firearm wouldn’t look out of place on this guide. As if that weren’t enough, CNET’s guide actually includes a photo of a Google Home voice assistant device on a plate mixed with burnt chicken tenders. So we don’t really know what anything in the picture actually does. Why this strange obsession with mixing electronics and food? Maybe next on CNET, there will be a Samsung Galaxy dipped in ketchup.

CNET’s guide also includes used cars, but instead of sticking to obvious choices for college students–like a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corolla–, they wanted to be more original. With straight faces, they recommend a used Porsche Boxster for students. This is a car of choice for people who think Entourage is about them.

There’s clueless and then there’s so clueless that you believe that college students who sneak into the cafeteria for meals will be able to afford any kind of luxury car or product really.