No self-respecting mommy blog would be complete without a reference to Target. If I had to make a pie-chart of my weekly chores, it would look something like this:
*Special Note 4: Inserting this $#&! chart into WordPress took me about 45 minutes and countless cross references to the Mac and WordPress help sites. Unfortunately, I do not get paid by the hour for this blog….or come to think of it, paid at all.
Now, we’ve all seen those moms and their kids at Target. The moms are dazed, haggard, and weary, looking as though they’ve just endured the Bataan Death March. The kids are red-faced, tears streaming down their cheeks, screaming to be released from the confines of the grocery cart. The moms manage as best as they can but honestly, short of using a straitjacket and a muzzle, there is very little you can do in these situations. I’ve certainly been there. It’s horrible, humiliating, and will drive a woman to drink at ungodly hours of the day. All high school students should be required to take toddlers to Target armed with a list of a week’s worth of groceries as a lesson in abstinence.
But after many, many visits to Target with my kid(s) in tow, I’ve developed a few tricks to minimize the pain. And yes, I am here to share them with you.
Snacks for all!
I am a liberal user of the Target concession stand. My children have been trained, much like Pavlov’s dogs, to salivate when we pull into any Target parking lot. Sarah prefers the popcorn and Katie likes the mango smoothies. Munchies in hand, they are happy to let me shop for about 30 minutes without complaint. This peace is priceless and yet, it costs less than $5 a visit! I’d pay three times as much if it means shopping as a normal person does (normal meaning: not participating in the Bataan Death March). While I applaud Target for providing the snacks, I do have a word of advice. Please train your employees to refrain from judgement or eye rolling when I request a bag of popcorn at 8:45am, forcing them to pop a new batch because “who eats popcorn this early in the morning?” We do, buddy. We’ve already been up for hours, thank you very much. Your 8:45 is our 11:45.
Location, location, location
When I have my beloved offspring in tow, I go to the Target in our neighboring town. This diminishes the chances that we will see someone I know and I will be caught yelling at my children because they just pulled down a pyramid display full of toilet paper. My town’s Target is a minefield of neighbors and acquaintances, all potentially witnesses of the court should I go on trial for strangling my children for attempting to juggle a bottle of salsa and a package of steak knives. I only go to our local Target if:
- I have showered that day
- My list of items is less than 12
- I only have one of my two children with me (or even more ideally, no children with me at all)
- I am not exhibiting any signs of PMS
If this entire list of requirements is not met, then it’s off to the Hopkins Target I go, where I am just another “nameless random Asian woman,” not “Sarah and Katie’s shrew mom.”
Hunger Games, Target Edition
As I said, bribing my children with snacks only buys me a finite amount of time. As soon as Katie gets her first sip of her mango smoothie or Sarah starts grazing on her popcorn, the countdown begins. During those precious 30 or so minutes, I race around the store at lightning speed as though I am a crazed game show contestant. I leave all rules of civility behind- no “excuse me’s” or “pardon me’s” for this shopper. With my game face firmly in place, I take no prisoners. If your cart is in the middle of the aisle, Lord help you, I will mow you down. Senior citizens and other members of the slow and steady population are especially in danger of becoming collateral damage. Note: this tactic is again more easily employed when you follow the guidelines I covered in the previous paragraph. Total anonymity = much easier to be the mean mommy shopper.
Finally, once you have gathered all of your items, the final obstacle remains: selecting the right check out line. Avoid those employees who look too bright eyed and bushy tailed. They are the employees most likely to chatter obliviously about the weather while your children are tearing at the end caps begging for the latest craptastic toy Target has so sadistically placed at their eye level. Also, avoid anyone sitting on a stool (there is someone at my local Target who does this) as speed is definitely not their middle name. Ideally, you want someone with that right mix of gruffness and courtesy. They are there to get the job done- no more and no less. And definitely steer clear of an employee in training. You might as well just turn around and go home at this point. If anyone at Target is reading this, I suggest installing an express check out line just for shoppers towing kids who are 4 feet and under. Only your best employees should be stationed at the register, there is no small talk between the employee and the shopper, and customers can only pay with their credit cards. Absolutely no coupons allowed. And, instead of candy displays and a magazine stand, the stall should be lined with 15 foot tall glass mirrors so that your kids can neither beg for anything, climb anything, or tear anything down. And maybe install a gate, sort of a closed cubicle, so that no children can run away back to to the toy section, screaming for a Tickle Me Elmo. And oh yeah- maybe make it sound proof, too. That would be super helpful.
Happy shopping, everyone!