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SCW LAST WORD COLUMN: From the Mouths of Babes

Statistics never completely tell any story. And that couldn't be more true for Generation Y, the members of which are more individualistic than the youth of previous generations (see story, page 26). So SCW decided to look beyond the reports and the focus groups — we found a few good kids to discuss their shopping habits.

Of course, Joey Rabinowitz, a 13-year-old Atlanta 7th grader, and Kelly Coyle, a 19-year-old college sophomore in Indiana, Pa., may not reflect the thoughts and behavior of everybody in the next generation of adult shoppers, but they are excellent translators of American youth culture for the unindoctrinated.

Kelly Coyle:
I shop about once or twice a week at school and I'm with my friends almost every time I go to the mall. When I'm home I shop with my mother every other weekend. At home in Scranton, I usually shop at Viewmont Mall or The Mall at Steamtown [owned by Crown American Realty and Scranton Mall Associates, respectively], and occasionally take rides up to the Crossings Factory Stores in Tannersville [Pa.]. When I'm at school I shop the Indiana Mall, although there isn't a very wide range of stores. Normally I go into every store just to see if something catches my eye.

I shop in a good number of department stores, just because they seem to have the best sales. But I like to stop in a few vintage stores to see if I can pick up anything cute that isn't too expensive.

I usually buy clothing or shoes. I'm real big on shoes. I'm not that interested in specific labels, because I'm willing to shop anywhere. I like clothes that are inexpensive and comfortable. I also don't mind going to places like T.J. Maxx, Target, or Wal-Mart, because usually something that I own will get destroyed so it's easier to spend less money. I probably spend about $500 to $600 on clothes a year.

I read magazines like Vogue and Elle, mainly for makeup tips, and if I see something that I like, I usually see if I can find something similar.

I like to be up to date with fashion, but I don't try my hardest to always look like that. I'd rather wear a pair of sneakers, jeans and a T-shirt sometimes.

The next major event I have to shop for is friends'graduation parties this summer. I'll most likely take my mother with me because she knows my style and can be honest with me about what things look good, and what things don't. I try not to spend more than $50 to $60 on an outfit, and it will most likely be a summer dress or a pair of capri pants and a nice top.

Joey Rabinowitz:
I go shopping about every weekend and occasionally in the middle of the week. I go with my parents to the grocery store every weekend. I hardly ever shop with friends. I also go with my dad to electronics stores every so often or get dropped off. Sometimes I have to buy clothes with my mom.

I like going to certain stores at the mall and the food court. I hate department stores. They're the worst thing ever created. They're so boring. They're mostly clothes, and clothes don't appeal to me.

You have to spend so much time finding what you want in department stores. I like to go to stores that I know have what I want: the Electronics Boutique and Discovery Channel Store at the [The Rouse Co.'s] Perimeter Mall, and also at the Sports Authority. I buy mostly baseball stuff, bats, pants and gloves. Sometimes I go to other stores if they're having a sale. I buy sporting equipment, electronics or music.

My most recent big purchase was a suit for my bar mitzvah. I went to Nordstrom with my parents to buy it. I also went to Old Navy with my mom to find clothes for the party.

I've heard of the Gen Y thing, but it doesn't really mean anything to me.

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