The Target Effect

I went to college in a sleepy little Illinois town called Monmouth. It was a lovely place where I met my very first cow tipper, bought birthday presents from Farm King, and once received a house call from the local bartender to tap our keg. There was no movie theater, no mall, and only one restaurant where you wouldn’t look out of place wearing a dress. So on weekends, sometime between 3am pizza and 5pm first call, my friends and I would often make the exciting adventure to neighboring town Galesburg and go to the always unforgettable – and sometimes magical – time-suck that is Target.

The trance began as soon as the gates parted and I became engulfed in an enchanted maze of brightly colored shiny things – each more distracting than the last. In no time, what started as an innocent quest for Easy Mac turned into a cart full of flip flops, magazines, DVDs, Jell-O and a Slip ‘n Slide. As I’d slide my ten dollar bill back in my wallet and pull out the “emergency” credit card from Mom, I would always smile at my treasure trove and look forward to the next journey.

Ten years later and “the Target effect” is still in effect. A trip for batteries turns into three loads of groceries and a soft pretzel, a broken strand of Christmas lights costs me a new Christmas tree with all the trimmings, and a quick stop at the Chase ATM becomes Sex and the City seasons 1-6 and Saved by the Bell season 1 (shhh) – and I no longer attempt to walk in with just a ten dollar bill.

From the Eiffel tower lamp I bought for my dorm room to the margarita glasses with the little sleeping sombrero dudes I bought for my first apartment to the Flinstone gummy vitamins I bought last night because they looked awesome, my home is filled with the fruits of the Target effect, and my wallet is a little bit slimmer.

I could learn my lesson. I could walk in wearing blinders or leave my credit cards at home or start shopping at Wal-Mart or at least just stay out of that aisle with all the damned cute candle holders. But a place where pineapples, condoms and area rugs can live in harmony? That’s a place I wanna be.

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About WhiteElephantInTheRoom

I'm an 80s music lover, traveling junkie, mac & cheese connoisseur, amateur wine snob, party-planning priestess and Chicago transplant living in Southern California. I find adventure in the everyday and have a unending compulsion to write about it. Hope you enjoy reading my mind!
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6 Responses to The Target Effect

  1. Bob Cloud says:

    They can tell which products are to be colored and textured how and with proximity to what and priced where and their customer profile. Yep, market research pretty much drives everything retail.
    Interesting.

  2. Helena says:

    When I was in college, we spent far too much time at Meijer (at Target + grocery store hybrid). Same issue. I’d come home with all manner of unintended purchases.

    Also, I totally coveted that Eiffel Tower lamp when I first saw it.

  3. Isaac says:

    OMG. U R 2 FUN-E. LUV IT!

  4. doctorforyou says:

    I was so excited when two weeks ago I made it out of Target only spending $30. That being said, I rarely make it out for under $100. It really is a magical place bull of things that you just have to have

  5. Nancy Francis says:

    Target is coming to Canada!! At first I was so excited, but I soon realized that part of targets allure is that it’s inaccessible! Also, now everyone will know that my amazing flats were only ten dollars 😦

  6. Pingback: A Free Tour of Trader Joe’s | White Elephant in the Room

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