We’ve all done it. Walked into the Target vortex for something simple like laundry detergent and walked out with three bags full of I-don’t-know-what. The store is more mysterious than the Bermuda Triangle.
The other day I went there to buy a birthday present for my nephew and I ended up with a princess game, shoe polish, a frame and four shirts and socks for my husband. A ten minute trip turned into an almost two hour one. As a mommy, this means the laundry will wait another day and dinner will be takeout. Time is money, not to mention the $200 that should have gone into our retirement fund. My husband and I will be working until we’re 75 because I’m addicted to Target (Okay, that and no Social Security, but you get my point, right?).
I have tried driving alternate routes to avoid passing by the bull’s eye logo. I’m pretty sure it’s designed that way to put us in a trance, cartoon-style. Maybe there’s a magnetic force that pulls our cars into the parking lot. Maybe the stoplights are queued perfectly to make us sit just two minutes longer, staring at the sign and getting sucked in. Probably not.
Shopping at Target is an addiction, just like everything else. If it weren’t, then no mother ever would walk out with more than one or two bags. If you’re doing a home remodel, okay, it makes sense. But, how often is something like that really the case? The other day, I sat in my car for ten extra minutes watching women walk out. Every woman had a shopping cart and the average number of bags was four.
The following is my Twelve Step Program for Target Addicts:
Step 1: Honesty
Admit that you are a Target shopaholic. Don’t go to the store, walk out spending $200 and then post on Facebook what you went in to buy, but ended up with. We all get it because most mommies are in the same boat. We’ve all written the same post, but with different products. Target didn’t do anything TO you. YOU filled up your shopping cart with I-don’t-know-what and YOU paid Target for everything.
Step 2: Faith
Have faith that you won’t need that extra three-pack of sponges that are on sale for 2-for-1. Have faith that your child won’t need 14 pairs of underwear. Have faith that the five bath rugs you have at home are sufficient. Have faith in your higher self that you know the limits of necessity.
Step 3: Surrender
You can do this cold turkey. The spending can all stop right now. You don’t need one more trip to Target to see if toilet paper is on sale. You don’t need one more trip to Target to see whether women’s clothing stopped looking like the pant and shirt version of Granny Panties. Surrender by making a decision to STOP NOW.
Step 4: Soul Searching
Getting over the sudden urge to shop at Target is a process. It’s not an event. Understand that it will take time not to feel like you’re missing something from your routine. Understand that you will find another way to buy toiletries that are on sale.
Step 5: Integrity
Admit to yourself and your family that what you did was wrong. If you need support, hiring a therapist to work through this will be less expensive than continuing your Target addiction. Stop rationalizing the past credit card bills to your husband and arguing about why you needed four different shades of lipstick. Admit to him that he was right. You only needed one shade of lipstick.
Step 6: Acceptance
Accept that you are a mom and that you have a tendency to buy too many things for the family. Accept that this is a defect mothers all have. You care too much. You like to buy things for your family. It’s okay to be who you are. Just don’t buy your kid 11 toys from the dollar bin because they’re a dollar. Accept that it’s still $12.
Step 7: Humility
If you fall off the wagon, ask your family and friends for help. Admit that it takes more than you to get through this. Ask your kid to annoy you and sing Christina Aguilera’s Fighter every time you drive in the vicinity of Target. Have your husband blow a whistle in your ear every time you turn to look at the red neon sign.
Step 8: Willingness
Make a list of all of the people you affected with your Target addiction. Maybe you canceled a dinner with friends because you went on a Target binge and didn’t have the money for dinner. Maybe you bought someone’s kid a $10 gift instead of a $15 gift because you thought your kid needed Cinderella on Blu-ray. You have to be willing to admit your wrongdoing to move forward.
Step 9: Forgiveness
Forgive yourself for falling for the spiel that you get 10% off if you sign-up for a credit card and then doubling up on items. Forgive yourself for buying the Hello Kitty shoes for your daughter in both white and pink. Forgive yourself for always thinking of others and surprising them with little things every time you stepped into a Target store.
Step 10: Maintenance
Keep yourself in check. Just because you go one month without pushing a red shopping cart, don’t head over to Wal-Mart and think the rude crowds and lack of cashiers will make anything different. Maintain your shopping for necessity. Don’t invent new ways to satisfy the same addiction.
Step 11: Making Contact
Understand the path your life is supposed to take. Understand that your children will need to go to college and that the new patio set will not pay for it, even if you try to sell it on EBay. Understand that you need to retire and ten bags of Halloween candy taste great, but will just force you to buy a treadmill in the long run. It’s a domino effect. Realize your financial and, ultimately, emotional path in life.
Step 12: Service
Continue to practice the 11 steps above religiously to achieve your release from Target. It’s about routine and determination.
Next up: Costco, Buying In Bulk, Just Say NO