Mr. PoP hates shopping. He hates shopping for new clothes. He hates doing the weekly grocery shopping. And I sometimes wonder if he’s capable of buying bath soap if I weren’t around. [Wait, scratch that. His bathroom was always stocked when we were dating, so at least he WAS capable of that at some time.]
As a result, I do most of the shopping, and it’s not a big deal. After all, I’m the one that was raised clipping coupons and shopping sales, so it’s kindof second nature to get good values based on what we need. Plus, I don’t hate it. So there’s that.
Recently, though, we happened to be passing by Target on a date night and I suggested we pop in to get some band-aids (unfortunate choice of shoes was causing blisters that I didn’t want to ruin date night) and we could pick up a prescription while we were at it. Super romantic, right?
Mr. PoP was game for a quick stop, but when we went in we realized that Mr. PoP had no idea when he was last in a Target (or similar superstore), whereas I’m in there probably once or twice a month. Turns out, we have some pretty varied views on them.
OhmygodOhmygodOhmygod. How the hell do people deal with places like that? If you gave me everything that was wrong with America, put it in a blender, baked it under the Florida sun and then dipped it in red paint you would have something that was not completely unlike a Target store. Rampant consumerism? Check. Low quality, over processed food supply? Check. On-site, high-interest credit cards? Check. The list just doesn’t stop…
But like the old Woody Allen joke, it’s not just the quality, it’s the quantity as well. Holy shit there is so much garbage in that store! Who could possibly need to decide between 25 different types of razor blades? It’s the same commodity product, that you can probably pay less for online anyhow!
According to fearofthings.com, the word for fear of owning property is orthophobia. I couldn’t find an entry for fear of box stores, but if anybody would like to suggest one I’m all ears…Targophobia? Junkophobia?
Unlike Mr. PoP, I don’t let the consumerism of superstores bother me. But, if we had unlimited funds and nearly unlimited time (well, the nearly unlimited time would be a natural and happy consequence of unlimited funds), I probably wouldn’t shop at supercenters. I like supporting small businesses and do so especially for businesses that directly give back to communities that I’m involved with (like the local running and biking communities). But in optimizing against time and money constraints, for now, sometimes superstores win.
However, in my view, all superstores are not considered equal. Target is pretty much the only one I go to with any regularity, usually about once or twice a month.
So What Do I Like About Target?
It’s clean and easy to navigate – and seems to be mostly the same wherever I go. There just aren’t that many different layouts of Target stores (though the 2 story Target stores in more dense urban areas still wig me out), so it can be a quick in-and-out stop.
Target’s sale prices and policies are excellent. Squawkfox recently compared Target and Walmart up in the great tundra to the north (since Target is new to Canada), and I think her price comparison cuts Target short because their sales are generally really good and really predictable. Because of that, it’s pretty easy to know if you’re getting their best price or not.
Target’s pharmacy is top notch and honest. (At least the one nearest to us is!) I have yet to find a pharmacy that is as consistent about giving good information and getting us the best deals as our Target is. Rather than being shady like our mail-away pharmacy and requiring you to fill a prescription before they tell you the price (got screwed once on that one!), Target pharmacy tells you the price before filling and for a couple of different prescriptions has actually saved me some serious money off my copays.
Target brings back good memories. In middle school and high school, I would walk with friends from school to Target just to hang out in the toy section occasionally trying on princess hats and talking about life. Target also gave my sister a big check. Quite literally. There was an actual oversized check involved in the little awards ceremony where she was awarded a college scholarship from Target based on some of the volunteer work she had done. So when Target says they give back to the community, they really do. I’ve held the (oversized) proof in my own two hands.
So in optimizing along all of our current constraints, superstores are a sometime store. (Much like cookies are now a sometime food.)
What’s your take on superstores? Or Target in particular?