Your Plan Before Entering Target Vs. Your Shopping Cart After Leaving


Detergent — that was all I needed. Tide Lavender probably, but who puts themselves in a box and commits their laundry to one particular fragrance in advance? Not this guy. Anyway, I’ve fallen victim to Target’s charming ways in the past, but have yet to find answers as to why. How do they do it? Enchanting magic? Hypnosis? Voodoo? Paranormal influence from the ghosts of dead customer service representatives? False hopes that we can expect more and pay less?

My budget for this particular trip was $7-ish, give or take a few bucks. Get in, grab detergent, glare lustfully at a clearance endcap and get out. Maybe treat myself to a candy bar or some gum at the checkout register, but be bashful. SPOILER ALERT: Upon exit I had spent $70.96 and left with 16 items, none of which were detergent. Here’s a shot of my Tide Lavender-less receipt:

The Red & Khaki Wizards Strike Again
The Red & Khaki Wizards Strike Again

Now I don’t have solutions for those wanting to prevent similar things from happening to themselves, but I tried to think back and document what happened and where I went wrong. Basically when you enter a Target, you are nothing more than a fleshy marionette and they are the puppet masters. Their strategically placed aisles and discounted items are the wires and strings that jerk you around helplessly, as you stray further away from your shopping list and closer to buyer’s remorse (but also not really remorse because now you’ll have all of these new things).

All it takes is one sighting or misstep and then you’re suddenly swiping your debit card and there’s no going back. On this particular night, things went awry when I spotted disposable plastic bowls, which I had to acquire because I don’t enjoy doing dishes. This purchase would make sense if it weren’t for the fact that moments later I’d snag up a couple of cheap bowls and plates that weren’t disposable because $1.99. The hijinks could’ve ended there, but I noticed an abandoned shopping cart and felt the urge to utilize it for my few belongings. This is when the puppet master assumed full control.

A dish rack for $5.99? Why not? New toothbrush? I’m not even going to ask if it’s approved by the American Dental Association, I’ll take it! Trail mix? Sounds delicious. Cereal? Can’t ever have too much of that. Beef Jerky? Duh. Vanilla Icing scented Yankee Candle for $14? Okay, I actually don’t even slightly regret this one because it had a price cut and they’re usually 20-something bucks, plus now my apartment smells like Rachael Ray & I are preparing baked goods in my kitchen.

Rachael Ray Show
Rachael Ray Show

We can dig deeper and try to get to the bottom of why we lose self-control upon entering a Target, or we can just accept the red & khaki wizard regime’s mysterious abilities to make us disregard shopping lists and toss things in our carts with reckless abandon. It doesn’t help us any that our other main option is Walmart, which is essentially an unkempt zoo that allows us to walk amongst the animals. Not only will you inevitably buy more than you intended at Target, but often times you’ll leave without the sole purpose behind your going there, as I foolishly did.

To get an idea of just how hazy and out-of-it I became while shopping, there’s something on that receipt listed as ‘9X13 CAKE’ for $4.99 and I literally have no idea what that’s in reference to. I know for certain that I don’t have a 9X13 inch cake in my possession, though the glorious aroma of my apartment says otherwise. Regardless, what you plan on buying at Target vs. what you end up with is, and perhaps always will be whatever the puppet masters decide. Go ahead, try for yourself. If there’s currently one item you need, attempt to visit a Target and purchase just that one thing. If you somehow pull this off, please send me a picture of your receipt and restore some faith in the feeble, consumer marionette that I, and so many others have become. TC Mark


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