The 5 Stages of Shopping at Target

Listening to people talk today, Target seems to be the suburban equivalent of Las Vegas. There are no clocks on the wall, no windows to let you gaze outside and I wouldn’t be surprised if they pump oxygen throughout the store to keep you alert.

I’ve heard it suggested they might as well implement at $25 cover charge, as it seems to be impossible to walk out of the store without spending at least that amount. And as aware as I am of the hypnotizing logo and siren song of sales, I still find myself traveling through the five stages of shopping at Target every freaking time.



I’ll only go in for one thing. In fact, just to ensure that I make it quick, I’m going to drink at least 24 ounces of tea and water—not Starbucks from the Target location, as that will simply caffeinate my craziness—and “forget” to use the bathroom before leaving. Given my aversion to hovering above public pissers, this is a fool proof plan.

Plus, if I go at a time in which the store is most likely to be full of screaming children who feel they need ALL THE THINGS when in fact they just need a nap, the constant soundtrack of shrieks will serve as a not-so-subliminal reminder that although the appeal of a discounted chevron towel in the SAME EXACT COLORS as my kitchen—only $4!—my greater desire will be to escape from the ear-splitting screams.


After finding the one thing I went in there for, I come across bright colored melamine plates that would look great stuck in my cupboard for months—only $2!—and a 3-pack of gel fresheners in a variety of seasonal scents—only $2.79!

What the hell, Target? This wasn’t in your ad and I didn’t bring my 75-cent off coupon! I haven’t planned for these additional purchases! Crap. I also have to pee.


Even though I only came in here for one thing, at least I didn’t grab a cart. I WILL NOT GRAB A CART—or as I prefer to call them, “enablers.” Better to carry what I “need” by hand so that I have a palpable feel as to my prospective purchases. If I can’t carry it, I don’t buy it.


Crap again. I can carry a lot in my arms.


Fine. You win. Where the hell is the wine aisle? I might as well go all-in. A full-bodied red would look lovely in the two new Room Essentials wine glasses I have perched precariously on top of the Nate Berkus towel I found over on clearance. Next time I’ll stick to the plan, but this is simply too good to miss.

Now where are the bathrooms again?

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29 responses to “The 5 Stages of Shopping at Target

  1. Sounds about right. I usually leave my ban cards at home and only bring the cash I need when I shouldn’t get more than I plan on.

  2. If loving Target is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I actually mentioned their popcorn special in my wedding vows. True story.

  3. This is all too true. There is no other school in the world but Target where I can go in for some shampoo and toothpaste and come out over $100 later with a new bed set, a movie, some snacks and god knows whatever else I didn’t need but Target made me want.

  4. oooooo I can never leave buying one item by the time I’m done shopping I’m remortgaging my home.

  5. It’s like Whole Foods, where you can buy three things or fifteen things, but it will always end up costing you $60. What kind of voodoo magic is that?

  6. I feel the same way about pulling out the cart. It works about as well for me.

  7. The Target People pump us full of oxygen while we shop–that was a lightbulb moment for me. No wonder I’m always so awake and happy in there. That and Starbucks.

  8. I try the “no cart” rule as well but it sometimes works to my detriment. For future reference, your pockets don’t count as a place to carry stuff and bail is more expensive than shopping at Target with a cart.

  9. Particularly hilarious to me as I just came home from not one but two trips there today. I am on a first name basis with the customer service desk clerk and the “cart attendant” today.

  10. You have never spoken such truth as you have spoken about the stupid Starbucks locations they have in their stores. *sips $3 iced tea I could have made at home for 50 cents*

  11. This is the first time I have heard someone compare Target to the time warp casinos in Vegas…genious!

  12. The moment I set foot in Target, I need to go to the restroom. It doesn’t matter if I just went somewhere else. Weird psych thing, it is.

  13. Got out of there for less than $50 yesterday and considered it a victory.

  14. Luckily we don’t have a Target. The closest one is almost an hour’s drive away.

  15. I’m quite glad we don’t have Target in the UK! I think I’d end up spending all my money in there, it’s bad enough in regular stores!

  16. I don’t live in the States, but my wife is from there so I know all about Target.
    We will be moving stateside in 2015, so I look forward to re-reading this post in a year and upgrading my smile to a knowing chuckle.
    Great post 😉

  17. This is soooo me!!! I’m LMBO! I tell myself I’m staying away from Target but I feel this magnetic pull…. 😜

  18. So that’s what I go through when I shop there! lol makes perfect sense 🙂

  19. Your Target has a wine aisle! Lucky!!! 😉

  20. soooo very true! I tend to go for the wine first though and then work my way down the aisles, lol!

  21. I totally relate. Last night my credit card was declined at Target and tears welled in my eyes…I didn’t care about why the card was declined only that my two-hour explore would result in me not getting my mixing bowls, fleece lined black star print tights on clearance, and a bread pan (side note: the hyper-vigilante credit card fraud team at my bank were put on alert because I paid at the pump?! – hello, it was RAINING!). While I basically wind-sprint through Wal-Mart, Target is my heaven.

  22. This is so me and how it is shopping at Target!

  23. moylomenterprises

    Hilarious and oh soooo true.

  24. I have THREE Targets all within a 15 minute drive. I don’t go often, but I don’t go to WalMart at all. I just wish they had more ‘Made in the USA’ items. I would buy more. I hate buying stuff from China, so I end up not getting much, but if it is USA made, and it is even remotely cute or I can find a use for it, well into the cart it goes.

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