I spend so much in Target, sometimes I look at my bank statement and think, someone stole my ATM card.
Then I realize, Oh, sh*t. That was actually just me, three times last week.
Target knows what’s up. They entice you with brightly-colored plastic and seasonal cups that will either: A. break or B. get lost — probably within a week of purchase. And that’s just the tip of the skillfully-crafted, Orla Kiely-iceberg. Target has devised ways to steal your money — like some kind of commercial conglomerate ninja — all while making you think it was your idea.
Technically, this isn’t Target. It’s inside Target. Guilt by association. You’re going to need sustenance. Namely, a Frappuccino. Also probably a muffin or some other baked good. This is a scam because A) The caffeine is going to hype you up and make you forget how much money you set out to spend and B) The muffin sugar is going to reduce your defenses. You are now out $8 and the caffeine-induced mania will make you stop at the Dollar Spot.
2. The Dollar Spot. It’s a lie. The end.
Not everything in the alleged “Dollar Spot” is a dollar. Some of it is actually $3, and it’s always the shit your children want most (i.e., Hello Kitty baskets). Even if everything was a dollar, that pricing is only as good as your self-restraint. Twenty-seven dollar spot items is (in case you are times-tables rusty) $27, plus tax. Congratulations! You now own 27 pieces of carcinogenic Chinese crap (no offense, China). And you’re $27 poorer ($35, counting the Frappuccino).
3. Notepad lure.
These bastards are always changing their notepad selection. SCAM. Every time they stock the shelves with a new color Moleskine or a spiral-bound pad with inspirational/witty text, one falls into my cart. Never mind that I have 17 notebooks at home that have three pages of notes them. Never mind that the last notebook I bought is now a coffee coaster/paperweight. They are just so cute. Especially all stacked together with absolutely nothing whatsoever written in them. FIVE. DOLLARS. A. WEEK.
4. THIS aisle.
I don’t even really know what this aisle is. But, I just realized my living room is painfully outdated. And I went ahead and spent $64 on throw pillows. Seriously, what is even happening in this aisle? It’s carefully crafted to scream, “YOUR HOUSE IS HIDEOUS.” I don’t have a nautical theme anywhere. But now I have a lobster pillow and a faux-coral sculpture I don’t even understand. The only reason I didn’t buy a lamp is there was no room in my cart after the fucking pillows. $84 (pillows + useless [but stylish] faux-coral).
5. The end cap black hole.
Would you just look at this? Never mind that I don’t have an inch of wall space. Never mind I don’t even really know what this is. It has a hobnail glass jar and it’s aqua. And for the love of all that is holy there is jute. SOLD. I’ll put flowers in there. Or something. Notepad? $29 (plus tax and another $5 notebook).
Oh, these look innocent enough. They’re just Hot Wheels. I’m mean, they’re only a DOLLAR. You already spent $3 on the Hello Kitty basket, anyway. Yeah. It’s all fun and games until you realize you have 74 Hot Wheels. Hot Wheels? More like Hot STEALS. One dollar today. $74 annually.
7. Buy-something-get-something-free trickery.
I.e., four packages of Oreos = one gallon free milk. Do I need four packages of Oreos? Yes. That’s not the point. The point is, if I see a get-something-free sign, I’m sucked in. It’s the Dollar Spot lie with less cancer from China, or the end cap black hole with more cookies. Take your pick. $12.
By now, you’ve made it three-quarters of the way around the store. You’re definitely going to need some wine to dull the shock of the pillows you bought that you so didn’t need. Probably more than one bottle. Buy six, get 10% off (also see #6). They sell vodka too. Bless. $65.
9. This section.
I don’t know what happens to my ability to reason when I get to this section of the store. This is Target’s master plan. First, they exhaust you by making you walk their Triwizard Tournament labyrinth. Then, they assault you with the heavenly scent of lavender. My feet hurt and I’m tired and a nice mineral salt soak sounds pretty necessary. And you can’t have a soak without the matching scented lotion. Obviously. $19.
10. The Checkout.
Home stretch, you think. NOPE. Illusion. This can go one of two ways: If you have kids with you, they are going to beg for candy/Teddy Grahams/Goldfish. This is going to be annoying, but also distracting in a beneficial way. If you can manage to get out of there without buying candy/crackers/cookies, then you’ve probably also avoided the sample size section to your right. If you haven’t avoided the sample size section, you now have yet another Eos lip balm and lotion. $6.
Now, do what any self-respecting woman would do. Rip your receipt into a hundred tiny pieces, go home, uncork that wine and run yourself a heavenly lavender-scented bath.
*Article originally published on Huffington Post.