Sunday, March 28, 2010

For the Love of Target and All that is Holy

Since it's the sabbath, I should really only write about holy things. And in this house, Target falls into that category.

Ok, no it doesn't. But kind of, it does.

I am an admittedly huge Target fan. There's just something about it that doesn't make me feel cheap even though I am about as cheap as they come. My husband sometimes feels bad that perhaps our children will never know what a full-priced, brand new item of clothing feels like. Poor little, neglect kids, right? I can't wait for the telethon for that cause to roll out (I hope it's hosted by Tori Spelling).

Anyway - I love Target (I feel extra exotic when I roll the middle R - Tarrrrrrget. Try it. You'll like it). I was first introduced to Target as a teenager (no Targets in Canada). We were in Southern California and my mom said "Let's go to Target (read Tar-jay with a french accent)." It sounded so classy; I was instantly excited. Then we went in. And honestly, I can't remember anything about that inaugural trip. My only explanation of the lack of detail on this historic occasion is that I was so overwhelmed with awesome that I blacked out. I'm just not entirely sure. All I know is that Target made an impact and I have been pretty brand loyal ever since.

I have been known to float around Target on my kid-free nights if I have nothing else to do, or no plans with other friends (ie Target is my friend). Maybe I should feel ashamed at my lack-luster use of free-time. But I'm 30 years old now, and I can own that I occasionally haunt Target when I should be out solving cold cases or crocheting leprosy bandages. It's liberating to be able to loiter in the book section, look at EVERY magazine I can get my hands on, check out music I've never heard of, try on all the hats, touch all the baby clothes, buy my laundry detergent and go home. Simple minds = simple needs.

But I had no idea the kind of impact my love of all things Target would have on my children, specifically The Red Baron. At a very young and tender age, she could spot a Target from a mile away. "Mama, I see the red ball!! Let's go to Target!" I'm not sure why at Target elicited an excited reaction for long shopping trips, while trips of the same length at other stores received screeching-fetal-positioned-dead-weight style reactions from the same kid. Is it the lighting? The staff uniforms (or lack-there-of)? I don't know. But I do know that The Red Baron is about as loyal to Target as I am. Recently, at preschool they were learning about maps and each was given the assignment to draw a map to somewhere they liked to go and the teachers wrote the descriptions at the bottom in big bold letters: "Sydney's map to Grandpa's house" or "Anders' map to the beach." Other popular destinations were the lake, the park, the zoo. The Red Baron's map simply read "The Red Baron's map to Target." Initially, I laughed at this - the apple not falling far from the tree, chip off the old block, (insert your favorite cliche here). But then I started to worry - obviously other three year olds aren't demonstrating this kind of intense saturated commercialization. Is this healthy? Has my love for Target somehow clouded her idea of what a good time really is? Shouldn't she be wanting to go to the park as well, and not to the accessories section or stationary aisle? I started over-analyzing my parenting, and re-evaluating my enthusiasm of Target. I had to get to the bottom of this, for both of our sakes. Because abandoning Target wasn't an option. Where would I go then? Walmart? (shudder).

Slowly the story of her love of Target unraveled in my mind. Back at Christmas time we were shopping for a gift to donate to charity. A tag was chosen from the angel tree was for a girl who happened to be the same age as the Red Baron. Due to our lack of foresight, the shopping trip we hoped would teach her about charity really only encouraged her to come completely unhinged after realizing that the toy she carefully chose for herself was actually going to a complete stranger. In a last stab at charity, we explained to her that if she got this doll for this mystery girl, we could write to Santa and let him know which doll The Red Baron would really like. It worked, and we left the store with a couple shreds of dignity. Well, a week later, Santa made a surprise visit to the preschool Christmas party, bringing with him the perfect present for each of the students and siblings in attendance. And to the amazement of the Red Baron, Santa handed her the exact doll she had picked out at the store. With her eyes wide open and her jaw to the ground, she turned to me and said, "Mama ... Santa shops at Target."

Ever since, I think her Target excitement stems from the possibility of running into Ole St. Nick. I think she feels like if she goes often enough, she's bound to catch sight of him and maybe put in a good word or two. You know, rub elbows with some one owning real authority. I can't really blamer her either and would probably do the same thing at the chance to meet Ellen Degeneres or Tina Fey.

So I don't need to worry about The Red Baron's over-excitement for Target and I am saved from having to darken the door of Walmart once again. And all is well in the world.


  1. I love it. (But let's get this clear, I really don't love Target. Sorry.) I think some kid in my niece's class axctually dressed up as the red ball for Halloween. Perhaps that's something the Red Baron should look into? Santa would be proud.

  2. oh target, my beloved target... i always seem to run in for toilet paper or toothpaste and end up with a cart full of summer dresses or shoes!