Sitting in the parking lot, studying the people coming and going through the doors of Target, it would seem that this store may be the equivalent to the casinos throughout Las Vegas. There are no clocks on the wall, no windows to let you see outside and I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually pumped oxygen throughout the store to keep you focused!
We tell ourselves (and our other halves): I’m only going in real quick for just one thing. And just to ensure that I make it “real quick” I don’t take a cart upon entering the store. DO NOT TAKE A CART! They are enablers. Better to grab a basket so I can have a palpable feel as to what my prospective purchases will be. I tell myself, if I can’t carry it, I won’t buy it. I have found out that I can carry a lot in my arms. I also bring my water in with me, so I don’t have to stop to buy an Icee / popcorn combo meal for $1.49 at the food café. This is a foolproof plan. Plus, if I go later in the evening the store will most likely not be so full of suburban moms thinking that they need to buy the latest workout clothes that are two sizes too small for them, when in fact they need to be shopping in the plus size section.
The first thing I’m drawn to is that damn dollar section they have right when you walk in. Even though I know it’s going to be there every time I walk into Target it still manages to take me by surprise. But I’m not going to get duped this time; I don’t need another pack of brightly colored pencils. I’m going to walk on by…. but wait, are those miniature bags of Combos? Perfect for an afternoon snack! And linen-lined wicker baskets? I can’t pass up a basket. I just can’t. You can never have too many baskets. Never ever, ever. And they’re only a dollar after all. I might as well grab a small aluminum tin bucket as well, you know, to keep those colored pencils in or something. Why not? They’re only a dollar. I’m distracted by the dollar section for only a bit when I happen to notice that swimsuits are on display once again. I walk away from the swimsuit section only after I browse the clearance rack of tops and bottoms. I’ll pay $1 for a pack of colored pencils but I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay $12.79 for a summer dress when it’s still winter. But then I find an adorable grey hoodie. I love hoodies. Who cares if it’s labeled “maternity?” What does that really even mean anyway? I put it in my basket as a “maybe.” What did I come here for again I ask myself? Oh yeah, a birthday card. But that’s clear across the store so I better take the long way there wandering through the aisles of seasonal stuff in the very back corner of the store. Like a good Target customer, I follow the store route. I stop and look at cute Christmas decorations I don’t need when I suddenly see a man in a red Target shirt and khaki pants bringing out new merchandise! I find an adorable stocking that would look cute for the dogs. After I have skimmed the grocery aisles, I make it a point to get to the health and beauty section, knowing the exit is not far. I come across my salon shampoo on sale in the beauty aisle for only $16.69. I browse the endcaps of the aisles for anything marked down that I might need. Like the 3-pack of air fresheners in a variety of seasonal scents for only $2.79. What the hell…… I’m pretty sure the main reason I came in here today is to get a birthday card, so I spend 10 minutes looking for the perfect one and a pick up a sympathy card just in case something comes up. When I get to the checkout my basket is full and I’m exhausted. As the cashier starts ringing up my items I start to get worried and feeling a little sick to my stomach. My final is bill is $102.00. What in the hell just happened I wonder?
I unquestioningly sign my name on the credit card screen feeling nauseated for how much I’ve just spent. The cashier hands me my receipt and says “have a great day.” I won’t be back for a while I think to myself. I quickly grab my bags and walk out to the parking lot, past the other mothers dragging their kids inside to get their fix. The wind blows through my hair and as I load my bags into my car and sit down into my driver’s seat I realize one thing: a trip to Target is a lot like how I imagine heroin must be. There’s always a rush of excitement when you first walk inside, and most times you’re not even sure why you’re there, to begin with, yet almost every time you leave with a feeling of remorse, guilt and a set of new track marks on your arms. But still, in the back of your mind, you already know you’ll be returning very soon… to take something back you tell yourself.
You win again Mr. Geisse! (founder of Target).