Confessions of a Recovering Target Addict

When I told my husband I was giving up Target for the month of January, I don’t think he believed me. I’m not sure I believed myself. But then I posted about my mission on Facebook, and 85 reactions and battle cries of support later (with only a few people calling me crazy), I’m committed to holding myself accountable. I may be white-knuckling this one, but I know I need the reset.

 

I’m a firm believer in challenging my dependencies. When I find myself consuming something in excess (be it food, alcohol, TV, shopping, my phone, or many other potential vices), I find it helpful to cut myself off cold turkey and examine the underlying causes of the overindulgence. What do I feel I need to “hide” from by checking out in this undesirable behavior? What feelings am I numbing? Am I overwhelmed at work or at home? Perhaps the excessive clothes shopping is related to insecurity about my weight and not feeling good about my body? Am I drinking a little more than usual to escape from stress or difficult family situations?

Whatever the reason, a reset helps me refocus my attention on what is actually important to me. By removing the numbing agent, I am forced to confront the reality. And it’s almost never as tough to face as I’m making it out to be.

Here are just a few reasons I knew my Target problem needed to be addressed:

  1. Money. The fact that I think of my Red Card bill like another monthly utility payment is cause for concern. Toward the end of 2015, the year I had my daughter, I looked at the bottom of a receipt one time and saw the total amount of money I’d saved with my Red Card that year. Horrified, I thought to myself,  “I’ve saved $296 dollars with my Red Card this year? Can this number be right?? If that’s five percent of my total purchases….SWEET BABY JESUS! This is OUT OF CONTROL.” I told myself I was going to cut back. I didn’t cut back. 
  2. Mindless consumerism. I really DON’T need that new top or cute home accessory. I have everything I need already. It concerns me to think how much I play into the schema of American consumerism. Recently, I’ve caught myself feeling like a weekend was incomplete without spending $100 at Target. I just want some…stuff. GLORIOUS STUFF! Do I need it? Do I really even love this stuff? Usually not. I don’t want to be a minion, spending away my family’s hard-earned money because it just feels SO GOOD. I want to be intentional about my purchases. When I found myself losing track of Target bags around my house, those precious new items never to be seen again, I realized the purchases had very little meaning for me. Rather than giving in to those messages telling me to buy buy buy, I want to save my money for things I really care about. (Retirement, college, giving to charities I care about, heck even the new kitchen renovation we’ve been planning for a year!)
  3. The more you go, the more you spend. Several times in the last few weeks, I’ve gone to another store for an item that I traditionally would have purchased at Target. When I buy wart remover something at CVS, I leave with just that item, not wart remover that item and $80 of other crap. I like feeling more in control of how I’m spending my money.
  4. Going to Target is a freaking boring way to spend time. Talk about basic AF. Listen, I LOVE Target as much as the next woman, but, “Hi, my name is Lauren, and my hobbies include shopping at a huge retailer 2-6 times a week” just makes me feel ashamed of myself. I can choose to read an interesting book, play a new board game with my husband, go for a refreshing walk, call a girlfriend, clean out my closet, or make a new recipe. All of these things are far more interesting than praying to the church of American consumerism. 
  5. Target isn’t actually that great. Maybe it’s just that I haven’t smelled that magical Target Smell in a few weeks (do they pump it into the air??), but it’s just not all that great, guys. I’m off the Target train and I’m not even that sad about it. The clothes are cheap and start to pill after three washes. The housewares are unimaginative, mass-produced knock-offs of other, cooler stuff from Anthropologie, West Elm, and Crate & Barrel. The food selection isn’t great, and you can find better prices on groceries elsewhere. The beauty section is pretty nice, but the range of products is generally better at Ulta. My local Target has been particularly crappy recently. It’s often disheveled and dirty, with many items out of stock. The bathroom frequently looks like someone had diarrhea in one stall and gave birth in the other. I’ve had a couple moments of wondering if Target really sucks and we’ve all just been brainwashed into believing it’s the most incredible place ever. These people take gobs of our money, and then we’re all posting lusty memes on social media about our undying love for the place. WHAT IS GOING ON?!?

But then I think about the good times. I remember that Target has a Starbucks RIGHT THERE IN THE BUILDING. I think about the dollar section, and how I can grab some cheap toy that keeps my daughter entertained while I spend 20 minutes looking at nail polish. I think about how wonderful it feels to get out of the house for a bit, to TREAT myself. To take a break from THINKING for a while. And who am I kidding?

I will be there on February 1st.
 

My sweet girl when she was a baby during one of the hundreds of Target trips she has experienced in 21 months of life.

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