By Kamrin Baker
The most dangerous weapon that has ever been handed to me was a Target shopping basket. Red, oval-shaped and encompassing of all my treasures, I feel like I’m carrying a transplant-organ cooler in every jaunt up and down the aisles. Dramatic? Not when you can get that much for $1-$5 in the inaugural section of the store. Affectionately referred to as the dollar section, this paradise is actually called Bullseye’s Playground, a hot spot for Target’s Bull Terrier mascot– and college students who think they’re getting a good deal on erasers that are shaped like llamas.
It’s something of a running joke that Target, the American superstore where everyone wears red T-shirts and khakis, has become a beacon of light for the people of this country. I have absolutely devoured that narrative and am here to share my feelings, because I truly spend too much time purchasing needless $1 stationery to not share my feelings.
Dearest Dollar Section,
You have shown me the ways of consumerism in a fashion that cannot even be compared to my phase with Forever 21. I am stuck in your web of fidget spinners, party banners and really cute and obviously necessary picture frames. You know exactly how to cater to my needs, and somehow, with every holiday, month or seasonal change, there is something I can’t resist putting in my Target run stash. For January, it was the fake succulents for my apartment. February provided with Galentine’s Day memorabilia like temporary tattoos and “girls rule” crowns that I will literally have in my desk drawers until I am forced to move.
Although we know each other so well, I still have so many questions. What research and trend-surfing did you do to know exactly what I wanted? How long have you known I would fall into this spiral of costly infatuation? How many gift cards have been wasted on office supplies people will never actually use? Can this turn into a conversation about consumerism, privilege and economic disparity? Oh, yoga mats for $5!
No matter the dollars I’ve spent, the minutes I’ve wasted, the gas money that has burned through my tailpipe on the way to the store, I will always come back to you. The ceramic bunnies shelved for Easter festivities have awaited my arrival since the turn of the new year, and the love and concern you have for me and my interests (that I didn’t even know I had) will always reign far supreme over any doubt in my mind.
Target cares about people. They started a conversation on transgender rights, they team up with popular brands to provide fashion and home decor affordable for more of the American public, and they provide scholarships and mentor programs for innovative minds all around the U.S. You, the dollar section– and the money that somehow trickles out of my pocket– makes these things possible.
Thank you for your creativity, your hard work, your child and adult-friendly merchandise, and everything in between. I can’t remember my Target years without you– actually, I can, because it included a lot of popcorn and ICEEs with a nice seat at the top of the shopping cart. Nevertheless, you have been formative in my budget deficiencies and college-level hoarding habit, and I will never forget that.
Maybe next month you’ll have some spring cleaning supplies and a budget journal so I can pick my favorites and learn some mature and responsible spending habits. Would you do that for me?
You are the gift that keeps on giving, and here at my desk, where I sit and write, I can spot so many of your intricacies: the pencil case with some cheesy scripted-font saying, the cards that say “heck yes” in glitter, the tiny banner that says “treat yo self…” you are in everything I do. Lead the way for more work and more play.
All my love,