Take your kids to Target much? Here is a twist for you: allow me to describe a typical trip to Target poetically using popular song titles and lyrics, because something has to make it better to shop there with children.
The Target parking lot is a lot like the go-kart track. Endless driving in circles, jockeying for position and an overwhelming desire to ram someone to get ahead.
The “Problem” is that you are totally stressed out by the time you park, unload your kids, scream at them to watch the cars still circling, scream at them again for ignoring you, walk back to your car after forgetting the bag of returns and watch as your children run ahead into the store while childless women stare at you with that I-am-rising-above-the urge to judge you” glare.
If you have a child in a stroller, multiply the stress level by 10.
If you have a double stroller you should just go home.
Why can’t anyone ever just “Stay With Me”? By the time I swing through the double doors, my kids are completely scattered. One is in the dollar aisle, one is plopped at a table in the eatery and the other one is walking back and forth in front of the surveillance camera watching himself over and over again on the screen suspended from the ceiling. He is completely blocking the entrance and looks like he’s “Wasted” staggering around trying to walk in view of the camera while looking up at the ceiling.
“Am I Wrong” to grab a cart and pretend they are not mine?
That dream gets shattered when the youngest manages to “Wiggle” his way onto the back of my cart and announce he has to pee. The bathrooms at Target are always by the door because every child has to pee the minute they get there. We live 10 minutes from the mall—5 if we hit the lights—and someone has to “go” as soon as we get there. Target is an exciting, pee inducing event.
It would be for me, too, if I remembered what I was doing here. I see the bulls-eye bag and remember my return. I drag all three boys over to customer service and groan because the return process is actually the best sales tactic in disguise.
They put shiny, red, computer terminals and phones right there so your kids start pushing buttons and pretending to apply for a job while the same woman who saw you in the parking lot is now taking the low road and totally judging you.
“Why you gotta’ be so Rude?”
The wait is so long that you ultimately decide to come back later or on a day when your kids are not single-handedly bringing down internet service to all surrounding municipalities one Target terminal at a time.
So, you go back to the red and white Shangri-La of spending without one dime going back into your pocket first.
Pure marketing genius.
As I wander the aisles, I think Target has gotten “Fancy.” Or maybe I have lowered the bar a little since I just bought cereal bowls at Five Below and was annoyed that they were actually $5 and not below.
It takes “All of Me” to leave the housewares section and all the shiny, pleather ottomans and rows and rows of glassware. The reality is I need to get to the dull, boring food section before the kids find me.
They are currently camped out playing video games one whole floor above me. The real beauty of Target is that there are so many whiny, miserable children around, you can sometimes pretend that yours are not adding to the ear-splitting volume.
As I pass the sunscreen and beachwear, I envision being “Drunk on a Plane” headed somewhere exotic. Alone. Well alone with my husband so I have someone to buy me drinks.
My phone snaps me out of my reverie. It is a text from my oldest son with one word “HUNGRY.” They have radar for when I am near candy or cookies. I rest my head on the hand grip of the cart relishing the cool metal while ignoring the sea of germs from the drool/food/vomit that has been deposited there before me.
This is usually the point in the excursion where the “Love Runs Out.”
I have two expensive choices. I can give them rein over filling the cart in this mecca of caloric opportunity or I can succumb to the eatery complete with pizza, chicken fingers and Icees. “Yeah” I know, I could just say no but I say yes to the eatery because I want a Diet Coke and a pretzel. So I make it all about me while pretending to make it all about them.
Turns out it’s “Not a Bad Thing” to leave them in the eatery and fly through the groceries. Further proof that Diet Coke makes everything in life better.
Time to go back to the upper level, meet the boys and check out. I pass the woman scanning vacation pictures, hear the crackle of the sales associates’ walkie-talkies and glance at the hanging placards with perfect people living perfect lives all due to their perfectly affordable Target outfits.
“She looks so perfect standing there…”
I finally reach check-out. My children each hold 10 items pulled from the bins by the register. The white dog with the red-rimmed eye stares at me from his perch on the front of each bin, daring me to say no.
I do say no. I say no 1000 times between the first beep of the register and the time we leave.
Because Target has its own monetary system everything in your cart is $2.00 or on sale but you still spend over $100 every time you go. The daily conversion rate is unknown– even to the World Bank–with or without a receipt.
I push my overflowing cart back to the parking lot, scream at my kids to watch the other cars circling around. Then, scream at them again for ignoring me. I shoot the judgemental women a look of my own. They just need to deal with it because at Target, “This is How We Roll.”