A couple of weeks ago, there was a blog post going around that detailed one mom’s love affair with Target.  Karen Alpert listed out 10 whole reasons on why Target shopping made her life complete.  And I commend her.  Seriously, I totally do.

The entire post made me laugh, because that used to be me.  Used To Be.  You see, I have self-banned myself from Target except in cases of dire emergency. The last time I was at Target was on August 9th.  Two whole months ago.  This self-ban was enacted in 2009, when I was a new mom, partially employed, majorly in debt, and prone to unnecessary episodes of needless consumerism.

KevinDooleyI have a problem when it comes to visiting big-box type stores: Target, Wal-Mart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and even Kohl’s.  Banned.  Banned.  Banned.  Semi-Banned.  It’s like my self-control is lost, and I end up filling up shopping carts with crap I don’t need, stuff I don’t like, shoes that rub the wrong way, tights that run, makeup that’s just wrong, books I don’t read, yoga mats I don’t use, etc.  I don’t even know.  I JUST DON’T KNOW, OK.  (Photo CreditKevin Dooley via Flickr)

Mike KalasnikI do know that I have a “Target Factor” of $88 +/- 10%.  You know what this is.  I can’t get out of the store without spending $88.  Ever.  Even I’m just running in for some laundry detergent.  Or a birthday gift.  Or cheap underpants (oh, right, because all of your underpants are so fancy.)  Don’t even try to tell me that you’re running into Target for the Method Stainless Steel polish and, maybe, new hand soap.  Those are the gateway drugs.  Because the Method products are two aisles away from cosmetics, which is across from craft supplies, which is next to the books, which can zigzag you over into the home décor section, where there’s an end-cap of decorative pillows, and OH, LOOK AT YOU.  Now you’re my college roommate with a maxed out red card and the fanciest apartment in Happy Valley*.  (Photo Credit. Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.)

So I did the right thing: I stopped going.  No more Target Factor.  No more lazy Saturday mornings, afternoons, and evenings roaming the aisles, checking out the “designer” clothes.  Because, let’s face it, unless it’s plain t-shirts or the standard yoga pants, the occasional rare find of a good blazer or a cute summer dress is generally an urban legend.  And even if I do find something decent, I know that it’s a one-season-wear, and hate myself because I’m wearing Target clothes.

And I don’t even take my girls anywhere near there, ever.  Nope.  We’re still working on the preschooler’s mantra of “I want” on a regular basis.  Taking them to Target just so I can mean-whisper “NO!” and “We’re not here for you” every 12 seconds is not my idea of a good time.

So instead of Target, I buy most of that stuff at CVS, where I play the weekly extra-bucks game, and I can usually get out of there for less than $40.   And sometimes I order from Amazon, because I seem to be able to control myself a little bit better online. (I have no idea.  Maybe I should talk to someone?)

And, for the most party, it ends up being $88 of crap I don’t need.  Seriously, another effing vanilla pillar candle? Maybe I’d feel differently if they sold wine at the Targets in New Jersey.  Because you know I need $88 of wine (weekly).

*JMKZ, your ability to cull the gems from the aisles of Target still amazes me.  I’d also surprised if the big wigs don’t have a shrine dedicated to you somewhere at corporate, as Patron Saint of Special Buys. xo.

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Also a transplant to New Jersey and Mercer County, Merritt McGlynn is walking a tightrope between career woman and devoted mother: hanging on for dear life with her dishpan hands. Merritt is a mom to two of the most adorable children in Jersey: a darling and spunky 4-year-old and a certifiably insane but heart-melting almost-3-year-old. Married to the always-working "Coach", Merritt tries to maintain some appearance of a work-life balance, and often finds that the scales are usually tipped in one direction or the other - but she’s still trying! In her spare time, if she ever gets any, Merritt would like to read books, travel with her husband, drink margaritas on the deck, and one day, if she’s really lucky, enjoy a phone conversation without interruptions. For now, she’ll settle for 20 minutes of an Audrey Hepburn movie and a diet coke.


  1. I am crying from laughing so hard. You know me so well. My Target factor hovers somewhere around $200. I used to go every week. It was my Sunday ritual. Now, I limit myself to once a month. I even get Jonathan to drive me so I don’t lose my entire afternoon going up and down every aisle. He gets pissy if he’s waiting too long in the tow-away zone outside the store. Once, a cop had to knock on the window, wake him up from his nap and ask him to move. A clear sign I had been inside too long, spending way too much. Now Zoe gets excited when we pull into the parking lot. She yells “ball” at the red boulders outside the store. It’s still our happy place.

    • It makes me so happy to know that you’re supporting the next generation of Target shoppers. In 15 years, my girls will be like, “Zoe has a Red Card!” and I’ll be like, “I’m not Zoe’s mom.” and they’ll be like, “Yeah, cause her mom’s so much better than you.” and I’ll be like, “I support those emotions.”

      I’m laughing hysterically at JZ napping in the firelane. Classic.