seeing red

I am breaking up with Target. It’s not about the security breach, but rather their lack of response to it. And the truth is, I needed the excuse. You see, I have an addiction to cheap shiny objects and Target was my enabler. I have no idea where I will get my Sonia Kashuk blush, my Peet’s Major Dickason’s coffee for $7.99, or cute little notebooks, but I am pretty sure I have enough pajama pants, nail polish and black t-shirts to last a while.

Here’s the deal. When there was no Target in my town, I would visit once a month, load up on “stuff” and be done with it. I had a similar arrangement with Costco and Trader Joe’s, also in neighboring towns. I gave up Costco long ago. And then Target, by way of special election (after all, this is Davis), came to town. Even though I was doing marketing work for the downtown business association, I snuck into the store and filled my red cart full of cheap stuff more often than I would like to admit. I love their stuff, I do. Nicely designed, at a price point I can justify, and merchandised to give me the thrill of a hunt. I have had stock in Target for years, and I am pretty sure I am responsible for its good health. And of course, I had a Target Red card, even though I was aware that with every purchase they were collecting data on me. I was amused imagining my profile… she who buys baseball cards, anti-wrinkle serum and toilet paper. I believe I have been known to say (with my outside voice) that “Target is my happy place.”

Yes, I am that shallow.

But I felt bad about it. I am well aware that every $5.00 t-shirt is made by someone making less than $1.00 a day. My cheap shiny stuff comes at someone else’s price, and on someone else’s back. I try to pay attention to where my food comes from, and do my best to buy local and seasonal. But that cheap shiny stuff is hard for me to pass up. A rough day can be solved with a new green tea and sage-scented candle and a pair of orange and purple polka dot socks. And I knew that replacing my weekly plastic red and white shopping bags with my own cloth bags didn’t get me any closer to my environmentalist badge. I intended to stop, you know, right after Christmas (stockings to fill, wrapping paper, candles and yes…pajamas).

But those Sunday circulars come (yes, we are a three newspaper family, with real paper) and I make my Target list for the week. And in between shopping trips, I fill up plastic bags for charity, with my old stuff, to make room for the new stuff.

Yep, I needed a cheap shiny object intervention.

So this security breach has been a good thing for me. I don’t know if my card was compromised or not (the bank says not so far). But the complete lack of appropriate response from the company is what really killed it for me. At the studio, we always say “the mistake will become irrelevant, it’s the response that counts.” That goes when a vendor makes a mistake or we do. And as a company, Target has just done a shitty job of it. All of my information has come from news sources, and I couldn’t cancel my card online or in the store. I was told I would have to do it over the phone.

And so I did. After I went to another store to buy my Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena dish soap, for $1.00 more than I would have spent at Target.

I am disappointed in them as a company, but I don’t care that much. They will stay around, my stock will be ok, and perhaps this is enough to break my patterns and encourage me to walk on the bike trail next to my house, instead of up and down the aisles looking for new finds (and yes, you can track 1000 steps in a trip to Target).

I imagine I will still go there, but once a month. And for a while I will use cash. Luckily, Trader Joe’s is now in town. And their price on flowers…well, I am a work in progress.

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2 Responses to seeing red

  1. Kim, love this piece, I’ve been writing one with a similar theme in my head over the past couple days. I’ve pretty much stopped going to Costco, for the reasons you mentioned, a mean how many sock, cute as they are, do I need? Plus I found it wasn’t saving me money, because I ended up buying things I wouldn’t have thought I needed until I saw them there, and in bulk sizes.

  2. njweseman says:

    Funny you wrote this, because JUST 2 days ago, I finally got an email from them about the security breach. I’m not a frequent Target shopper, although I love it, but it’s just not close to our house….and of course I used my card there once during the fiasco. And, I just broke up with Sam’s Club…haven’t decided on Costco yet, because they are building a new one about 2 miles from our house, and I kind of love Costco. And Trader Joe’s! xo

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