Thought Catalog

Inner Monologue Of Shopping At Target

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Their promise is simple: “Expect More. Pay Less.”

My promise is just as simple: “I CAN’T.”

It doesn’t matter which store, who I’m with or how I’m feeling: it is physically impossible to leave Target without spending money I don’t have, on things I don’t need.

From the second the automatic doors open, I’m sucked into some sort of alternate, bright and shiny dimension; to a land of tall racks and shelves fully stacked with inventory, just waiting to be justified and rationalized and bought.

Take this very likely scenario based on many true events, for example:

Four-for-nine knee-high socks? Sure.

How about a candle? I like candles, and it’s on sale and smells nice. O.K.

Some $5 DVDs? A new Moleskin? Yoga mat? Toss ‘em in.

Oh, and don’t forget the last-minute tube of Chapstick and a pack of winterfresh Orbit gum at the register; got to have soft lips and bearable breath—you never know where the night will lead.

Except it’s 2:30 in the afternoon, and it’s Tuesday, and what do you mean I have too many items for the express lane?

Well, it’s happened again.

It must be the lighting. In normal situations, isn’t exposure to bright, industrial, fluorescent light known to bother people? And give them headaches? And make them twitch? Or melt into a sad, sappy puddle? Not at Target.

At Target, beams of light glaze over toys, Dorito bags and KitchenAid mixers alike, illuminating items, making them glisten and gleam and trick you into believing they were made for you; your apartment or dorm or left bottom drawer needs them. All of them.

Or maybe it’s the color red. I always thought red resembled things like love and lust, or rage and Hell. Instead, “Target red” (has OPI copyrighted this for a Valentine’s Day shade? Dibs.) gives my soul a sense of rejuvenation: I know that I’m leaving that store a better and stronger person, and I leave the store empowered, ready to restock my medicine cabinet, pantry and desk drawer with the tools I need to succeed.

Or maybe there’s just something subliminal in that damn bull’s-eye. Who knows?

What I do know is this: I need to make a list before I leave home next time—oh, and gain some damned self-control.

I spent $221.58; yup—$221.58 in 45 minutes, but to be fair, I had to buy unsalted sticks of butter for my mom and sunblock was on sale and———.

Never mind. TC mark

image – Polycart
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Cut yourself some slack. One of the biggest regrets most people have about their 20s is that they didn’t enjoy them more. And I’m not talking about “buy more expensive dinners, take another trip to Thailand” type of enjoyment. I mean having the ability to take a deep breath and sip coffee in the morning knowing that you have done, and are doing, your best.

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