Thought Catalog

How To Shop At Target In 20 Simple Steps

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Nobody is immune to reckless spending tendencies induced by the bulls-eye donning, shopping goliath that is Target. Once you step inside, you’re hit by something I like to call the Target Haze. It’s basically a red and khaki aura that mists over you, making the stingiest folks disregard their budgets and splurge like there’s no tomorrow. Here’s the only possible method to adapt when entering the beloved Tar-jay.

1. Don’t wear any articles of red clothing to Target because you will be mistaken for an employee.

2. Have a plan. No, it’s not going to work — but it’s adorable that you want to try. Make it short and sweet. If you’re extra determined (which is even more cute), scout the ads and the website in advance so that you have a serious shopping strategy. Ha.

3. As you make your way towards the entrance, be distracted by Target’s big, red, mysterious balls in front of the store. They’re like the Stonehenge of the retail world, and their immovability and uselessness leaves us unfocused as we enter – which is exactly what they want.

4. Immediately spot something that would definitely look good as a decoration at your place. Put it in your cart and spend the rest of your shopping trip weighing the pros and cons of buying or not buying it. (SPOILER ALERT: You end up buying it.)

5. Try to make eye contact with employees. Not because you need help, but because it’s fun to see which workers are disgruntled and determined not to provide assistance.

6. Be blocked by an inconsiderate customer who rudely congests an aisle. Complain to yourself. Then realize that it could be worse. It could be Wal-Mart.

7. Make a conscious effort to find clearance shelves. They’ll often be surrounded by aggressive consumers who pick at them like famished zombies feeding on the flesh of a meaty corpse. Speaking of which, there’s The Walking Dead on DVD for $14.99 — can’t pass that up!

8. Come across something that you don’t need, need — but you’re convinced that you could really use (e.g. new bath towels, a Frappuccino maker, etc.). Place all of them in your cart with the utmost confidence.

9. Go to Target’s seasonal section 4-7 days after a holiday. Enjoy. (All of the holiday specific goodies become so cheap that you can’t resist. I find Peeps repulsive, but at 20 cents a pop I’m obligated to buy a couple packs.)

10. See impassably low priced, name brand cereal. Stockpile ‘em in your cart. (“Cereal” is interchangeable with numerous products. The key is the “name brand” part.

11. If you’d like to be an inconsiderate jerk, put items back in areas that they don’t belong or where they’ll spoil (e.g. a formerly refrigerated block of cheese placed brilliantly in the automotive section). Unfold clothes, throw shoeboxes on the floor, leave your garbage around, make as many messes as possible… Or be a half-decent person and have respect. It’s not bad to be slightly considerate of cleanliness despite the fact that you don’t work there.

12. Have a shamefully deep, but silent, philosophical discussion amongst yourself. Include your responsible and irrational sides. Come to the conclusion that life’s too short not to treat yourself and proceed to Step #13.

13. Completely disregard whatever premeditated “blueprint” you had from step #2. Now you’re on the “redprint” which is pure, unadulterated chaos.

14. At checkout time, choose from one of the preposterously long lines. You’ll notice that Targets usually have 15+ registers, but only two of them open. We feel for that poor couple of cashiers handling an abundance of guests. It’s not the most convenient thing, but it could be worse. It could be Wal-Mart.

15. While waiting in line, scan and consider buying gum, ChapStick, drinks, snacks, gift cards – all of those little knickknacks conveniently surrounding you before checking out.

16. Assess every item in your cart, reconsidering their level of necessity again (including the gum, ChapStick, soda, jerky and four pack of lighters you just tossed in the cart moments prior to this evaluation).

17. Inevitably be offered a Target credit card which will save you money on every transaction. Think “no.” Say “yes.” You’re like a druggie. Target is your addiction and that credit card is an enabler, encouraging you to get your fix more often.

18. Watch the total rise as each beep of the scanner makes you cringe, and you come to the realization that $9.99, and $19.99, and $24.99, and $49.99 — plus tax adds up rather quickly.  You came for eggs and deodorant, you somehow have Tupperware and a new bedspread. Don’t stress, we’ve all been “hazed” by Target.

19. Apologize to your bank account and take a self-loathing swipe with your debit card (or newly acquired Target card). If you’re paying in cash it’s even more difficult. They’ll practically have to pry the dollar bills from your shameful grasp.

20. Walking in the parking lot, fresh air will fill your nostrils, wearing off Target’s Haze. Your resistance was futile, you got got. On the drive home, question your maturity levels and if you’re even responsible enough to possess a debit (much less, credit) card. Be disappointed in yourself for overspending, then glance at the bags in the seat next to you, full of awesome new stuff that you don’t need, but kind of want – and everything will feel better. Not much better, but just enough to justify your poor decision-making skills. TC Mark

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