Right On Target: 3 Things I Won’t Miss About Your Favorite Store.

Hi again friends. I’m currently bacheloring it up with my best bud Lemmy, as my girlfriend/Lemmy’s mama is out of town for work. She’s going to be out of town for quite a while, unfortunately.

I’m not 100% sure what she does. I think she’s probably in the CIA. It’s either that, or she’s one of the Avengers.  I hope it’s the Avengers, the State Department seems a little disheveled lately.

Each time she leaves, there are a couple of things that change for me.

The sheets don’t get changed as often. It’s not because it’s “her job” or something antiquated like that. It’s because I’m a heavy sleeper. I could sleep through a live reenactment of a Bollywood movie in our apartment. I could sleep on the floor. I could sleep by the door. And since she’s gone, I could sleep with a…deep longing for my love to return. What did you think I was going to say? You all have sick minds, and I’m embarrassed for your mothers. But the fact that the sheets are dirty, on the bed, on the floor, none of that matters. If I am horizontal, I will be asleep in 30 seconds. It’s a gift.

I eat sardines. I like sardines, because (a) they are packed with protein, (b) I grew up eating them, and (c) I share 80% of my DNA with the California Sea Lion (zalophus californianus), which helps explain my tolerance for the cold and penchant for asserting my dominance down at the wharf. But when my girlfriend is around, I bench the sardines, as she doesn’t like them in the slightest. Plus, they make the house smell like the inside of the Gorton’s Fisherman’s hat after a long day of earning our trust. Even candles can’t solve everything.

But the biggest change is that I get a long reprieve from going to Target.

I don’t hate Target, not at all. It’s actually a pretty amazing store, and I understand why so many people swear by it. Where else can you buy dog food, a television, clothes for the whole family, groceries, prescriptions, eyeglasses, and a card to apologize to your girlfriend for including her in your blog again?

The answer is Walmart. But where can you do all of that without getting run over by a bunch of able-bodied people riding around in motorized scooters? That’d be Target, shoppers.

Little known fact: “Come shop for everything without getting run over by a bunch of able-bodied people riding around in motorized scooters,” was Target’s first motto when they went into business in 1902. It didn’t resonate particularly well with the focus groups, whose primary comment upon hearing it was “What is this tomfoolery? The Second Industrial Revolution has left us too impoverished to buy your pre-sewn garments and pre-churned iced crrreams (I think people rolled R’s back then) at your emporium, good sir.”

I’m glad Target exists, but I’m glad I don’t have to go there for the next little while. Here are a few reasons why:

1. It’s freaking massive.

If the Target nearest my home were a state, it would be the 17th largest state in our fair union, nestled between Wyoming and Pennsylvania in size.

That’s probably not true, but that’s the sort of comparison necessary to convey the magnitude of space covered by a Target store. I was going to say it was the size of 12 association football pitches, just to be obtuse and anger someone for such an un-American reference, but I opted out at the last second. Aren’t you relieved? I sure am.

In one respect, the fact that Target is larger than the Death Star is a good thing: they sell everything one could need to live a modest yet stylish life, and at prices we can afford! *checks email for pending Target sponsorship payment.

But being the size of a moon-sized space station means that a “quick trip to Target” is like taking a “quick drive over to Saskatchewan.” Assuming you don’t live near Saskatchewan.

That’s a rather safe assumption, because the last United States Census said that less than 14 people lived within 50 kilometres of the province.

Note: I put that in kilometres because you’re now trying to figure out how many miles that is, and exercising your brain on a regular basis can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.   So, remember me when you’re able to remember things in the future. You’re welcome.

All of this is to say there is no such thing as a quick Target run. It’s like a casino. Need to use the bathroom? It’s 48 clicks north-northeast of the electronics section, and you’re going to need to walk by 17 different AMAZING clearance bargains en route to relieve yourself. Watch your six, rookie. They design them like this to maximize your time in the store, and in turn, maximize their drainage of your checking account. I hear they pump pure oxygen in, too.

Every time I leave the casino Target, I’m exhausted and broke. They didn’t build that place off of people winning, pal.

Well played, Bullseye. Well played.

2. Clearance

Psychologically, there’s something about “clearance” that makes otherwise obvious non-starters leap into your basket.

Do you need a vegetable spiralizer? Have you ever wanted one? No. I mean, sure, it’s kind of a cool idea, and we could lower our carb intake a bit and…wait, it’s only $4.38 on clearance?! HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. We could buy one for us, and buy one for each of the cousins and Aunt Edna and maybe we could keep a back-up just in case. *throws 13 vegetable spiralizers into the cart.

Combined with the layout and size of the place, Target knows you will absolutely not be getting out of there with “just mouthwash, a new bathmat and a poster board” like you promised yourself and your S.O. Zero point zero chance, Jenna. They know you too well. Sad!

When you go to the mouthwash aisle, guess what: Tom’s of Maine toothpaste is on CLEARANCE! Normally, we just get Crest, but this is the good stuff! There’s no harmful chemicals or fluoride or beneficial chemicals or flavors, it’s actually just clear goo. But it’s on CLEARANCE, so this is our chance to try it! *the red clearance sticker obfuscates the fact it’s only 15% off of the $6.49 starting price for a tube of goo, when you’d otherwise buy your usual delicious brand for $2.49 full price.

Well played, Bullseye. You son of a bitch.

Now before you go getting all mad at me for calling Bullseye a son of a bitch, he’s a male dog, ergo, he is exactly that. No need to explain, you’re all adults who understand where the word comes from.

Plus, fuck that dog for tricking me into buying fancy toothpaste I didn’t want.

3. Self-checkout.

Nothing’s worse that being ready to bounce before things get any worse for your pocketbook or relationship, only to find that 37 people called out at Target today, and they’re down to only two cashiers. While 78 people wander around restocking shelves for some reason.

Did you do the math? If you figured out that I referenced 117 employees, congratulations! Keep it up, because America has cut all funding for Alzheimer’s research to build a wall to keep transgendered people out of the military’s bathrooms, or something like that. I haven’t been keeping my brain sharp lately, it’s all starting to blur together.

The big wigs at Target got together with the fat cats and all of the other rhyming two-word euphemisms for out-of-touch executives.

Big Wig: What if we could build a robot that would work as a cashier for us? They never call in sick, they never need time off, and once we buy them, they work for free!

Fat Cat: I like your style, Wig. Do you mind if I call you Wig? But how do we insure that the guests still get the useless, unhelpful “service” they’ve come to expect from our cashiers?

Loose Goose: Sorry I’m late, Wig and Cat, I was having unprotected sex with other geese I just met down at the bar on account of my lax morals. What if we have the robot malfunction constantly – we’ll save money AND frustrate the living hell out of everyone.

Big Wig and Fat Cat: (in unison) BY GOD, THAT’S IT!

And with that, they created the self-checkout lane.

In theory, it’s brilliant. No more waiting while Gertrude insists that she’s always paid half with a personal postdated check, and half with Chilean pesos left over from the trip her grandson went on with his friend Gary. No, not that Gary, this is the Gary from Binghamton. Wait, how much is the total? That doesn’t sound right. Let’s look back through everything and see what we missed. Did I tell you about my grandson’s friend Gary? He’s from Binghamton. Maybe this was the right total all along! My mind isn’t what it used to be on account of my unwillingness to do math problems in online articles as they are presented to me. *promptly dies of brain atrophy in the parking lot.

Something changes in your mentality when the thing that is holding you up is your ineptitude instead of someone else’s. It ain’t Gertrude this time. She died in the parking lot, remember? That was THREE SENTENCES AGO, Jenna. Have some respect. And you really need to get Lumosity or something quick before your brain turns into Cream of Wheat. *checks email for Lumosity sponsorship payment.

No, if it’s taking forever, now it’s your own fault.  Hard to get too mad at anyone about that.

Or…it could be the fact that the self-checkout register is designed to frustrate you.

The scanner is calibrated to pick up the SKU from any item you don’t want to scan from 2 furlongs away, but to refuse to read the code from the item you’re holding 4 inches in front of it.

Quick! What’s the mean of 2 furlongs and 4 inches? Tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock…

The system is designed to know how much every item weighs. After you’ve waved your tube of goo over the lasers 347 times and it finally goes BOOP, you place the tube in the bagging area. The computer knows that the goo tube weighs 128.7134751 grams, so if that’s what is placed in the bagging area, you’re golden.

If, however, the air balance of the room shifts by 0.001 kg/m3, your 3-year-old decides to climb up to get a better look at the blinding lasers, or your entire plan has been to steal Tom’s of Maine tooth goo, you will be admonished: UNEXPECTED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA. You will be encouraged to wait for assistance. Whatever you do, DO NOT RUN. Stand still and don’t make any sudden movements.  Everyone at Target is, not surprisingly, an expert marksman and archer.  There’s never a good day to die over organic, GMO-free, fair trade, locally sourced tooth goo.

The cashier will be there to assist as soon as Gertrude’s transaction is settled up. She just had to run out to her Buick to get one more Chilean peso.

Aren’t you glad you’re in control of your checkout experience? So much better this way.

________________________

Is Target the worst place on earth? Not by a long shot. That’d be Walmart. I don’t go to Target for all of the reasons I just gave you. I don’t go to Walmart because I have a little bit of self-respect. Big difference.

I’m going to miss my amazing partner while she’s off saving the world for a little while. And I’m excited that, while it’ll be SO hard for me to wait, I’ll be saving up for a big Target run by her side when she gets back.

 

 

Need some funny and thought-provoking words in your life? Subscribe here on my site by clicking the “follow” button, or visit me at facebook or twitter. You’ll be glad you did, next time you’re lost in Target.

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9 thoughts on “Right On Target: 3 Things I Won’t Miss About Your Favorite Store.

    • Haha, thanks! Glad you liked it. Gertrude is everywhere. I run a restaurant where guests go through the line and pay at the end. It’s like Chipotle with 100% less E. Coli. All day, every day, people get all the way through the line, arrive at the cashier, and then apparently realized that through their actions, they’ve entered into a financial transaction. Out comes the duffel purse, the “now I know my cards are in here somewhere,” the impatient foot tapping of the 38 people behind her…then Gerty fuels up and heads over to Target.

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  1. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! That is seriously some of the highest praise you could give me. He’s the first author that ever made me actually, literally laugh out loud. Very kind of you to say, you just made my day! 🙂

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  2. Thanks for making something so sadly true turn out so funny. Self-checkout at any store is never a time saver, because there’s always something that goes wrong. And the folks who wait until their order is tallied before finally fishing for their payment when they’ve been standing in line for 20 minutes… damn you to hell, Gertrude!

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