Lost in a strange Target
One weird thing about moving away from home is that running errands can be unexpectedly difficult. Recently I spent 40 minutes wandering around in a strange Target, mostly lost and completely disoriented.
Since September, periodic visits back home (plus an extensive meal plan and a pretty thorough packing job) have meant that I don't have any real need to go shopping. But things run out, and this past month I racked up a short list of random essentials that prompted what I intended to be a short shopping excursion.
These random essentials were things like packing tape, a cable for my phone charger, and some barrettes — which are a thing I wear because my aesthetic is an exceptionally aerodynamic one that requires everything pulled back and pinned down within an inch of its life, even though my wispy not-actually-bangs would beg to differ.
Since it was all just little stuff, I figured, in all my blind naivete, that I could just jump in my car some evening after work and make a quick Target run.
I consider myself something of an expert on Target runs. I'm highly skilled in the speedy in-and-out strategies used by errand-running experts and received my training under the guidance and mentorship of none other than my very own mom. At my home Target, I can make a surgical penetration all the way to the frozen and dairy section at the back of the store, grab three things on my way back from housewares, grocery, and pharmacy, and still make it out the door in less than 10 minutes.
With only three simple items on my hit list, I figured a similar operation would be possible at the Target near my dorm.
Was I ever wrong.
Turns out not all Targets are created equal. More importantly, not all Targets are created identical, which for me was a bit of a problem.
The problem with big box stores (besides their impact on small-businesses and entrepreneurs), is that they're all following the same essential design from store to store. The signage inside and outside the Target near school is deceivingly similar to the signage I'm used to. Departments are grouped together in similar ways, and the wall-to-wall TVs are a dead giveaway for the tech section.
Unfortunately for me, the visual similarity of the new Target to MY Target, the Target I'm used to, meant I would wander between aisles for an entire five minutes with this nagging feeling of deja vu and nothing to show for it. I tracked down my phone charger pretty quickly, but figuring out where the office section of this Target was located meant I had to basically do a lap around the whole store. And then the barrettes — don't even get me started.
The hair care section, especially for women, is a maze of aisle after aisle after aisle of shampoo and conditioner and body wash and lotion, kits for hair coloring, brushes by the gazillion, and all kinds of other doodads. It's not a part of Target I venture in lightly even at my home Target, but at a foreign Target it was a tactically poor decision. I ended up wasting ten minutes walking in circles through the pharmaceutical and hair care section before I finally, FINALLY tracked down barrettes.
And then I decided to grab a little bottle of dish soap so I could do my dishes better, and that was another five minutes of wandering through aisles of detergent and paper towels and dryer sheets without finding ANY dish soap.
Did you know most Targets have TWO entire aisles of toilet paper and paper towels? i'm not sure what for, but they've got them.
My "quick" Target run ended up taking all of forty minutes, just for a couple little purchases.
Suffice it to say that the perils of getting lost in a strange Target are not a threat I will take so lightly in the future.