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10 Big Buys to Bring Back to School

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Effective back-to-school shopping isn't measured in packs of pens and reams of paper that will be gone in the first month, but in the goods built to last until graduation day.

As families flock to Target (TGT - Get Report), Walmart (WMT - Get Report), Kohls, Staples (SPLS) and other stores to part with the $604.40 the National Retail Federation predicts they'll spend this year on back-to-school stuff, nearly half of their haul will consist of electronics and big-budget supplies. Though the K-12 crowd will contribute roughly $21 billion, collegians will accumulate about $55 billion in goods.

With that in mind, we at TheStreet took a look at both the day-to-day and more durable items available to parents and students this summer and selected 10 products that should last from the first bell to the cap-and-gown fitting:


Available at: Nordstrom (JWN), ThinkGeek

Any college student who's ever crushed a clock radio with their bare hands or parent weary of being grunted at, shrugged off or pelted with expletives or worse when it's time to wake their sleepy students should let the robots take over. Invented in 2005 by then-Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate student Gauri Nanda when she had trouble waking up, Clocky gives sleepers one press of the snooze bar before it spins its wheels and runs away. The $39-to-$46 Clocky can drop three feet from a bedside table, mooting any chance of a mercy killing, and beeps in a random (and highly annoying) pattern as it runs away. By the time you've caught Clocky and turned it off, your body is awake and your mind, after formulating ways to destroy the elusive device, is ready for the day ahead.
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