Confessions & Scary Truths, Parenting, Self-Reflection

All the ways my paychecks go to Target

Hi there. It’s me: the lady who lives at Target. You’ll find me by the checkout, stealthily checking my banking app to make sure I have enough to cover the mass of superfluous goods I’m proudly carting about the store. Well, I’m also checking my Cartwheel app—I’m not an idiot!—and I’m about to save $.03 on hand soap. Here’s how I’m (you’re?) currently wasting money at Tar-jay:

The “Walking Billboard” Department

When my son was younger, I despised character-themed clothing. Cut to me, 10 years later, scurrying to the character t-shirt display because they were sold out of his favorite last week. Who have I become? Now is not the time for an existential crisis. Knees to chest, lady: Someone else is about to snag the last size-large Minecraft tee!

Books of Good Intent

Ask me how many Paleo cookbooks I have on my shelf at home. The answer is five. How many of them do I use for recipes? Zero, because who uses books for recipes when they’re free online? Does that stop me from making the slow sashay down the non-fiction aisle? Nope, I’m there, staring down Ina and that Pioneer lady. Just get in my cart, gluten-free cookbook; I’ve forgotten I already own you.


So, you’re in the toy aisle because kids, but it’s you who gets completely blindsided by a vintage Strawberry Shortcake doll. You stop, you stare. You look through all the boxes to see if they’ve also brought back Blueberry Muffin or Cafe Au Lait (they haven’t; your checking account thanks you). The box has a scratch-n-sniff strawberry on it. You snatch it up, shove it against your nose and inhale deeply. You have exactly zero shame. It smells like your childhood (the good parts, anyway). You snap a pic and post it to Facebook and everyone is all, “OMG I REMEMBER THAT.” Their comments only fuel your desire. But you don’t know what you’ll do with it so you muster up the strength to put the NO in nostalgia and leave Ms. Shortcake there. You’ll come back and sniff the box again next time.

Seasonal Nopes

Summer’s coming! Colorful cardboard beachballs hanging from the ceiling beckon you to the seasonal aisle. Squirt guns… floating toys for the pool…sprinklers…backyard games! How are your children – or you – expected to have a fun summer without basically this entire aisle? Into the cart it all goes! You won’t be able to find any of it when you head to the pool, though, because it’ll be in the garage in a misplaced beach bag (from the “dollar” spot, of course) that you forgot all about.

“Healthy” Snacks

Lately, you’ve been feeling pretty low when packing your kids’ school lunches. You know those Goldfish crackers are full of nitrates! So you’re strolling along the snack aisle when it happens: you find a healthy treat that incorporates real fruit (.02%)! And vegetables (0.01%)! And, it’s TWO for $7, saving you $.03! I mean, why wouldn’t you buy two boxes of orange-carrot-arugula bars your kids are sure to love? (Hint: they won’t, and now you’re out $7.)

Crafts That Won’t Get Made

If you can resist the crafting aisle, you should hold a class, because I’d register all up in that. The crafting section draws me in like Cinnabon smell. It’s a fantasyland of Pinterest Potential. Go ahead, though. Look around all you like. Consider the paints and wooden letters and your dreams of spelling out something cute/inspirational for your mantle. Envision the Etsy shop you’ll have, full of yarn-things. Think about the compliments you’ll receive from your square canvas watercolor masterpiece. Then just keep walking, DaVinci—this is not your aisle.

I mean seriously, Pokemon. You’ve been around for like 20 years. WHEN are you going to stop coming out with new characters and new packs of cards, tins, and new Mega-Whatevers because this is madness. My son’s bedroom floor is basically made of foil packets now. And Target’s merchandisers are on point; they didn’t put this row in the back by the windshield wiper fluid. Noooo, it’s right up front on your way to the check-out, so your kids will beg for JUST ONE PACK while you’re stuck in line on your app, frantically moving money from Savings to Checking.

Two of Everything

Is it just me who always puts two of everything into her cart? Sure, sometimes it’s because I save $.03 when I do it, but I’m convinced this is a phenomenon. There’s some kind of subliminal messaging wizardry at play here. Need a new towel? Well, two would make more sense, you should have a matching set. Cold coffee in a carton sound good? Not as good as TWO, because what if you really like it and then wish you had a second one for the next day? TWO OF EVERYTHING. AND SO IT IS.

THAT End Cap

Ah, the siren song of clearance beauty products. Once, I scored a Target exclusive Beachwaver for $30 here—the only one! Someone had returned it!—so now I cannot pass by this potential treasure trove of hairsprays and aloe vera gels in search of a red-tagged goldmine. It’s very Antiques Roadshow in these here parts. The only thing I really should purchase from this section is a sleep mask, because overnighting in the store would just make a lot of sense at this point and save me money on gas. Wonder if it’s on Cartwheel?

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