Just Say “No” to Target

During the summer of 2010, while I was waddling around in my third trimester of pregnancy, I started seeing folks posting about Target on Facebook.  Due to the nature of our former jobs at camp, the summer is basically our “hibernation from the world” season.  We worked 12-14 hour days and rarely had time to be catching up on news or the latest happenings in the world.

I couldn’t fathom what Target could have done to garner such strong reactions from folks.  And for us…..Target was our survival tool.  If I could bribe Alex with a 99 cent car from Target, I could usually get through the 35 minute drive to and from Santa Rosa plus stops at Starbucks, Costco and Trader Joes.  If I was especially insistent, we could even squeeze in a hair cut at Great Clips (didn’t hurt that they shoved a lollipop in his eager hand after sitting still!).

Sipping hot chocolate at Starbucks, waiting for Alex & Dad’s Great Clips appointments


“Helping” with the grocery shopping at Trader Joes


How Alex typically spent the drive home from Santa Rosa

(aka:  the *quick* 15 minute nap that always spiraled into complete grumpiness upon arriving home)


I finally got around to reading about their fishy donating and funding of a political candidate.  Learning about all of that SHOULD have made more of an impact in my shopping choices, but the pull of the Matchboxvehicle or Hot Wheel race car seemed bigger and more important than taking a sacrificial stand.

Let me also just take a moment to describe one other aspect about Target and our son.  Alex gets a book read to him each night, we make up/tell him a story, and then sing him a song.  For MONTHS on end, every night, every story involved a creative trip to….you guessed it….Target.  Sometimes the grandparents took him, sometimes Sally (our dog) went along, sometimes we went on long round about trips via the Sonoma Coast, but we always ended up in Target.

Then in November, we moved to Sunnyvale.  One night, needing some exercise and a trip out of the house, we went on a long walk to check out the neighborhood.  The time change had just happened and we hadn’t planned too well.  By the time we were turning onto our street, the sky was hitting the end of its twilight appearance.  And low and behold, as we approached our house, I noticed, straight ahead, a HUGE red bullseye.  Yes, we had reached Nirvana, in Alex’s world.  Target was mere steps from our new neighborhood, close enough to be seen from his bedroom window.

We didn’t alert Alex to this fact and have tried to time our trips there when one of us could stay home with the kids while the other heads out to run the errands.  And a few weeks back, I realized something for the umpteenth time.  Target is seriously the biggest money sucker.  Even when I go in with the best of intentions and a list of the essentials I need, extras {creep} into my basket or cart.  The trip to Target that should have cost under $15 ends up around $100.  $100 seems to be the magic Target receipt total.  Can I get an “amen”?

So, when January hit, I declared to Matt that we should take a challenge.  A challenge to boycott Target and see if it helped our budget.  He agreed, but also laughed about the fact that this really was a challenge directed pretty much at me.  But, whatever.  It affects the FAMILY budget.

We’ve made it 13 days so far, almost half the month and I haven’t missed Target at all.  I know people who have taken similar challenges to these, but on steroids.  Challenges like not buying anything new for a year besides food and other consumable essentials.  I’m not sure I’m ready for that, but this is my first attempt at being a bit more thoughtful about my shopping habits and spending.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’ll check back in on the 31st and let you know.  For now, it’s “Just Say No to the Red Cart” month.  Would love to hear how you are working on spending less, staying in budget and being more thoughtful in your spending these days.

2 thoughts on “Just Say “No” to Target

  1. Christine, I completely agree!! Target is like a little warp zone on Super Mario Bros. I go through the doors and hear “dunna, dunna, dunna” because I KNOW that i’m not coming out without spending at least $100!! We are about to start a serious budget crunch for our house and the idea of boycotting Tar’jet might not be a bad one. But it is just so darn nice to have that Starbucks right there in the front of the store…… And the awesome free kids cookies….. And I do love their clothes….. This might be harder than I think. 🙂

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