The Seven Stages of Going to Target with Children


1. Denial — I need to go to Target. I have a child. We can do this. It won’t be like last time or the time before or the time before that one. We will go in for the toilet paper and the milk that we need and leave with the toilet paper and the milk. There will be no tears, from either one of us. This time will be different.

2. Anger —  Why me? Why is this happening again? Why do I breed children who are completely unable to make it through a freaking store without completely melting down? This is bullshit. I can’t stand my fucking children.

3. Bargaining —  How about if we stick to the Dollar Spot? You can pick out any toy from there! OK, TWO toys! A glow stick! And a plastic pail! Or, a pad of paper and some stickers! Or, a Cars pen and a foam sword! So cool! The Dollar Spot rocks! Candy? You want candy? OK, M&Ms it is! The breakfast of champions! Cookies? Sure! How about it?! I beg of you .. I’ll do anything … Just don’t melt down.

4. Guilt. What have I done to end up with a child like this? Was it the formula I fed him? The pacifier he sucked for way too long? The co-sleeping? Late potty training? Why is he so toy-dependant? Does he not get enough affection? Enough love? What am I doing wrong???

5. Depression —  I am the worst mother ever. I will never be able to take my children anywhere, ever. This sucks.

6. Acceptance —  Alright, fine. Just pick out a goddamn toy from the toy aisle. You win, I lose. There goes my fun money for the week, kid. Here, take it. Take your new toy. Better? Happy? Good. That’s one of us.

7. Regret — I should never have done that — what on earth was I thinking? Lesson learned. Again. Target and children simply do not belong together. Never again. This time, I mean it.

Followed by: The Inevitable. Did I seriously forget the freaking toilet paper?

Target Whore


If you want to put it a nice way that won’t embarrass my grandmother, I’m a marketer’s dream. But in reality, I’m a Target whore..

Oh, I said it. I usually walk in to this particular store with a list, but come out with 27 additional items that I don’t need. There is no logic to it; Target is my crack. I’m usually practical when it comes to shopping.  I’m a sucker for a sale, but I also buy “investment wardrobe pieces” like peep toes and suits from higher-end stores. But this store covers everything in between. It messes me up the minute I walk through the automatic doors. It actually puts me in a Target trance.

All natural linen spray for under five dollars? Do I need it? When in the heck am I going to use it? Not sure. Oh wait, there’s matching scented hand wash too? I already have soap, but it matches. And it’s cute. Why should I even bother thinking about whether I need it or not? It’s already in my cart.

If a famous designer made it for Target, if it has polka dots or bright paisleys, there’s no question. I’m talking anything from candles to colored colanders. There are rare occasions when I don’t buy it on the spot. Sometimes I’ll turn the aisle and forget about it, and remember it the next day, when I have too many conference calls and meetings to do any damage.

I can count on one hand the number of times I left Target without spending $100. I go in for shoelaces and soy milk and leave with a carton of crap that costs $97. Greek yogurt for $2.29? My mother AND grandmother would yell at me. But I’m already there, the car is parked. I have 30 minutes until I have to pick up my daughter from practice, so I might as well throw it in. I have friends who have to go on Target diets. They can’t step foot in the place. They haven’t gone in months! Months I tell you!

As I’m blazing through the aisles that are so obviously and creatively marketed-especially-for-women, what I don’t realize until it’s too late is that all of these items are going to add up. No, like some crazed mother strung out on caffeine and cotton candy-flavored jelly beans, not until I’m standing in the check-out line, shamelessly arranging my purchases and throwing a pack of gum on top (because it’s pink) that the cashier (who looks like she’s 12, because I’m 40) gives it to me straight. “That’ll be $127, ma’am.”

What the… ?