My red and white bulls-eyed world has been rocked not once, not twice, but three times in the past month.
I should think it could go without saying I am a willing drinker of the kool-aid that is Target. I mean, duh…I breathe, and Target exists. It does not take a genius to deduce anything here. Besides, the Target kool-aid is hard to resist, seeing as how it is always attractively arranged on end caps alongside clearance candles, brightly chevroned decor by designers I couldn’t otherwise afford had they not decided to slum it with “exclusive” “bargain” collections, and cleaning products that seduce me into thinking that if I use them my house will finally be rid of that stagnant faint smell of dog, kid sweat, and week-old bowl of leftover cereal and milk that I know is somewhere, under something, but I can’t find where the stench is coming from for the life of me. I dare anyone to resist that kool-aid.
That being said, my status as a fervent follower of the Target way of life creates certain truths I hold to be absolute. One, snack foods taste better when they come from Target. (I’m not sure, but I think they are imbibed with extra snack-tastic-ness when placed in those red plastic shopping carts…speaking of which…) Two, Target shopping carts have an extremely high accuracy for repelling germs, dirt, and wonky wheels (Seriously. When was the last time you got sick after visiting Target…or felt uncertain about placing a bunch of bananas directly into the cart without a bag…or sounded like you were dragging a wounded animal along with you every time you wheeled down an aisle? You can’t say that about Walmart.) Three, Target gift cards are the perfect gift for the person who has everything…or nothing. (Because who couldn’t use one more boyfriend cardigan at that price? Not princesses…OR paupers.)
But the two most absolute-est absolute truths about Target are 1) everyone is a Target person deep down, and 2) *everyone say this with me* you can NOT leave Target without spending under $100 and/or buying at least one extra item for each item on your list.
Well, get ready to be told the earth isn’t flat. It turns out, BOTH of those are myths.
I’m sorry. That was so abrupt. I should have told you to sit down first. If you need a moment before you read on, that’s okay. I was where you were not long ago. Go on. Get yourself together. Pour yourself a drink in that tumbler from the dollar bin. Have some Market Pantry comfort food ready. Find a Nate Berkus throw pillow in case you need something to beat in disbelief. Maybe pop an Up & Up ibuprofen. It’s about to get raw and real in here.
Okay. Forget Loch Ness. Forget Sasquatch. Forget the Yeti. This past weekend, I was face to face with the most unbelievable mythological creature, one I was sure was only a folklore legend: someone who claims to be “not a Target person.” And the scariest part was that she looked like a normal, well-adjusted woman. She is someone who walks among us, easily passing herself off as a Target-loving human whose existence follows the known laws of natural science.
What’s more, this person, this “not a Target person,” is someone I have known and trusted for a good portion of my life. How is this information just NOW coming to light? I have always held fast to the belief, nay fact, that if given the choice and all other things being equal, not a soul walked the earth who wouldn’t choose Target over Walmart. But as sure as the sun rises every morning, there she was, telling me she preferred Walmart “for the entertainment value when buying toilet paper.” Sure, Walmart does have a certain “entertainment value” that Target can not seem to equal. But…but…the shiny red carts…the boyfriend cardigans…the fact that I can get a Starbucks, a harvest chicken salad, a slotted spoon, and a Star Wars Lego kit all in one stop. How can cheap entertainment value compete when push comes to shove? I mean, I love watching Real Housewives, but if there is only one hour of space left on my DVR, I’m scheduling it to record The Walking Dead. Every.time.
I know what you are thinking. Someone who prefers Walmart over Target? It’s MADNESS. And I am sure you must be hoping for some proof…some photographic evidence that such person REALLY exists. Sadly, I have none to offer. Not even a blurry photo that could just as easily be of a peanut butter smudge on my lens. I simply have to hope that my word is enough, that the bond of trust we have built over posts about superhero keg parties, being a bad Catholic, and going to a Michael Bolton concert will be enough to warrant your belief in my tale. And here is why: I just could not bear to expose this “not a Target person” to the masses, to leave her open to ridicule or hate mail or over-zealous Target evangelicals who seek to convert her…this person who otherwise blends in seamlessly with us Target people. For, though I do not share her sentiments about our beloved mecca of stores, I learned that this “not a Target person” is not the monster we all imagine them to be in our campfire stories. She is a gentle creature, who would rather forgo the grande non-fat mocha latte and surprisingly good quality footwear for the price, in favor of shopping for toothpaste and organizational bins alongside a lady who brings her three cats in a stroller. She is not hurting anyone, and there is no reason we can not coexist peacefully.
Kumbaya. Yes? Okay. Now I’m going to rip off the other band-aid. Twice.
Four weeks ago, I, Kelly Suellentrop, of sound mind and body, entered my local Target, placed the six items on my list into my basket, proceeded to the checkout, and spent a total of $32.17. No extra items. Under $100. Way under. My husband actually offered to take me out to dinner to celebrate the achievement. But wait. There is more. Last week, I went and did it AGAIN.
To answer your question, yes, I have already made a doctor’s appointment and requested a thorough medical workup. But seeing as how there is at least one “not a Target person” in existence, it seems that maybe this Target tenet of mandatory over-spending should also be called into question.
Or maybe this is more serious than I thought. Maybe I have been infected. Maybe I’m becoming “not a Target person.”
I better go put on a Merona knit dress and some Mossimo ballet flats, click my heels three times, and chant, “There’s no place like Target…There’s no place like Target…”
And the only way I know I will be cured is if I go there and end up coming home with a new bedspread and a summer steel beverage tub for parties on the deck we never have. Somehow, I don’t think my husband will offer a celebratory dinner after that, but at least things will be back in order with the laws of natural science.