The TARGET Phenomenon

Day 9: Items purchased: 0, Temptation Radar: 5 ( a GOOD, STRONG 5)

“We gain the strength of the temptation that we resist.”  –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mr. Emerson, it never occurred to me that strength would be unequivocally procured on this voyage. Strength is a characteristic that any person would hope to embody. But, in order to gain it, in the area of our temptation, we must resist?  Would it be sufficient to resist via avoidance? You know, the notion that If I don’t see you, you’re not really there. Sir Emerson, I think you may be onto something here.  It seems to me that an circumvention strategy may prove effective, but only in the short-term. Avoidance mentality, in actuality boasts a full-on campaign of fear. Where is the joy in overcoming, when you never even faced the obstacle?  Where is the adventure? Where is the accomplishment? Where is the choice to abstain?

Around 4:40 this afternoon, a cool breeze, a clean house & 2 sleeping children left me left me in the throws of idleness, eventually thrusting me into a grueling internal tug of war. A rather sassy voice chided “So, Whatcha gonna do now? Ya skipped Target on Thursday. Scared. Whatcha made of?”  The voice was smug, curt and almost seemed as though it could have been smacking gum. Rolling my eyes,  I quickly turn around to see my car keys resting on the vestibule, light shining on them from the window in such a way they appear to be bouncing a bit, chirping “Pick me! Let’s go!”. Stalled in a stare with desire intensifying, I shake my head, call for Steve and shout, “I think I need to go to the store.” The expression on his face told me immediately that he believed I’d already failed prior to departure. “Why?” he questioned, with a look of skepticism comparable to that of a political pundit analyzing motives of the opposing side. He knows, as well as I, that this could very well be the gateway to colossal failure. I can see the wheels turning, as he tries to determine if he should insist I stay home. So, I bolster positively “I just need Windex and leather cleaner. Oh, and I’ll take Olivia”, as if her accompaniment would curtail any iota of temptation. He laughs. “Are you sure you want to go?” “Yes”, I sighed.  Something inside of me was just screaming to challenge myself, to come eyeball my tempter. I needed to execute, but with a strategy other than avoidance. Yet, not a coward, nor am I a fool, doubt simmers. Agonizingly aware of how easily I can be entranced by the hypnotic spin of that red bullseye, I consider the fact that this could be a very short-lived clothes fast.


You know about Target, right?  I’ve polled many of my friends over the years about the Target phenomenon. It goes something like this: you walk through the front door, list in hand,devoutly committed to your mission. Upon settling in with red cart in tow, you are immediately drawn away by the massive collection of $1 bins. Though you’ve seen them a million times before and are privy to the crappy content, there is always 1 bin containing the rather useful item you will surely need at some point; like magnetic shopping lists or a kiddy toy, of which you MUST buy in bulk because you never know if you’ll need to give one to each kid in the preschool class on the day you are suckered into being the party mom. Before you know it, 20 minutes has been wasted in aisle foyer and you’ve not even BEGUN to consider the list you both pep-talked yourself about and swore your allegiance.

Next you’re blasting through the women’s clothing section and it’s ON! Perhaps, this is the part of the journey where you lose your children to a game of hide-in-seek in the clothes rounders, because they KNOW you have, indeed, left orbit. While they are hiding their heads in the body of a maxi dress, you are piling the cart with coordinating shirt, jacket etc. etc. Certainly, you’ll just buy now, try on later because…..where are those kids!? Anyway, the return policy is might fine. 45 minutes more have passed. The list?  Well, we’ll get there. Cut through the center aisle by children’s wardrobe & exercise sections, heading toward the opposite end of the store and you discover all the home & gift items. Beautifully displayed, you are sucked in like a teenage boy and a smut magazine. You, most assuredly, will find the latest in home decor because some New York City fancy schmancy designer has agreed to dumb-down his high-end line for the normal people like us, and he chooses to do so via the good folks at Target. So you, convinced that you’re getting a designer deal of a lifetime, and knowing this is a limited time offering, pay 1/2 price for  pseudo-cute knock off, and think you got the cutest thing ever. WHY DO WE DO THIS? You continue travels through electronics, become raptured by the beauty essential selection, when you suddenly hit the landing pad to the startling reality that you’ve been 2 hours and 15 minutes at Target when you just needed to pick up a couple of things. Your kids are whining & begging for popcorn and a potty break. Flushed, stressed and mildly irritated, you RUSH to the register where you don’t even give notice that you’ve spent minimum $225. Only upon unpacking your purchases, do you discover that you’ve spent 3 times as much as you intended and came home with nothing on your list. This my friends, is the Target Phenomenon. In my polls, 98% of friends & family have affirmed the accuracy of this event, with the other 2% representing either those who have boycotted Target or lack a pulse.

Despite the evolution of this, Olivia & I arrive at Target very optimistic. I go straight to the source of my temptation: clothing. I am completely allured by this Merona blouse (pictured below.) I caressed it, held it up to size, asked Olivia if she liked it, carried it around in the cart, paired it with other items; all but stuffed it down my shirt. Utlimately, I, with hands shaking returned it to the rack and sprinted away, dragging Olivia behind. She was chanting  “Just buy it. It so cute.”  Score for me!  Liv & I continued shopping for 2 hours indulging our senses. I allowed myself to WANT many things and then finally just made the choice to say: NOPE.  When I left Target, I left with Windex, Leather Cleaner, Nail polish & lip gloss for Liv, along with a clearance dress and T-shirt for her. My total was: $19.61.

Tonight, I will go to bed a little stronger and a mighty overcomer!


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