Saturday, November 01, 2008

My Love/Hate Affair With Target

Today I made a pilgrimage to Target. I do this every other month to stock up on staples such as health and beauty products, cleaning supplies, tissue, and misc. items for the house. Their prices are lower than the stores near where I live and the choices seemingly endless, and unlike Costco and Sam's Club(which are located no where near me) doesn't package things only useful to families of 10). Basically, I go there to save money. For example, I needed a couple of halogen bulbs for my desk lamp. At the local market they are $10.95 each. At Target $4.95 each - the same bulb. Need I say more?

But my love of Target is far from perfect. The parking is horrendous, even considering they have a huge lot. But they share that lot with Bed, Bath and Beyond, another major shopping destination. It is not uncommon to see cars blocking aisles, blinkers on, waiting for someone to vacate a space. Never mind that the people are taking their sweet time loading their purchases into the trunk, strapping in kids, checking their voice mail, or arguing with their spouse. The waiting car will simply wait, no matter how long it takes, because parking is as rare as an honest politician. People will even wait for a space when there are many open spaces on the far end of the lot. Heaven forbid someone should be made to walk a few hundred yards! Me, I don't mind the spaces in the back forty. By the time I park and walk to the store, the other fools are still waiting, burning fuel, and the patience of every driver backed up behind them.

Then there's the traffic jam inside the store. Have you ever noticed that the aisles of a Target are not wide enough for two of their carts to travel side-by-side? They either need smaller carts or bigger aisles. Seemed like half the aisles I traveled today where gridlocked. Customers often find themselves facing off, cart to cart, with other shoppers until one gives in and backs up to allow the other cart to pass so both can continue shopping. And forget about stopping in the middle of an aisle to read a label. I think I saw a lady today being ticketed by the discount store police for that.

So you get pass the parking and crowded aisles, complete your shopping and make your way to the checkout. At my local Target they have 20+ check out stations, but I've never seen more than a few open at one time, with the exception of during the month of December. So we wait again. At the checkout you have to be diligent (my checker missed a 2 for 1 deal and I had to point it out to her). Once checked, she bagged the stuff and moved on to the next customer before I even had my change in my wallet and my bags in my cart. Once, I even walked out with a bag belonging to the customer behind me. Talk about getting the bum's rush.

Shopping at Target, or any of the big discount stores, is like being a cow shopping with the rest of the herd for hay. But with 2 for 1 deals and bulbs at 50% less, all I can say is Moooooo.


Kathryn Lilley said...

I have an allergic reaction to Costco and other big-box stores. My husband dutifully goes once a month to stock up on bulk items. But if it were up to me, we'd be spending excess money on smaller quantity, overpriced goods! I do love going into the pantry and seeing 20 boxes of Kleenex, boxes of toothbrushes, and the like! Hubbie even gets his gasoline from Costco, whereas I always pull into the nearest gas station.

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