Monday, October 02, 2006

An open letter to my big red bulls-eyed friend

Dear Target,

We need to talk.

As you know, my love for you is deep and strong and, until recently, I thought, permanent. Lately, however, I've had some concerns. Trust me when I say this hurts me than it hurts you. I know you don't mean to wrong me... Even though you're running with the popular kids now, sitting at the cool table with the cheerleaders and the homecoming queen, you've always remained pretty good to me. Maybe you actually appreciate my loyalty; you realize that we go way back--that I still remember when you were a little awkward, a little uncool... frankly, a little cheap. I do love what you've done with yourself and I'm happy to see you come into your own, but frankly, I think you could still use a little work.

First, let's talk about your layout. A couple of years ago, you decided to move a bunch of stuff around, seemingly just for fun or just to make me explore my less traveled of your aisles. I waited patiently as you shuffled things back and forth during the remodel, as you slowly placed everything in its new home. And some of the moves probably made a good deal of sense. I don't have a baby myself, but if I did, I might appreciate having the diapers and formula in the same area as the onesies and rattles. I sort of think most moms would look for diapers in among the paper products and pick up formula and baby food along with their groceries, but I guess I'm not really in a position to judge that sort of thing.

What I am in a position to judge, however, is your personal care aisles. In retail terms, everything from shower gels and lotions to hair care and makeup on over to saline solution and eye drops and lip balm and Tylenol all fall under the same general umbrella, known as "H&B." That's H as in "Health" and B as in "Beauty." All things to keep me clean, presentable, pretty, and pain-free should be housed in the same general vicinity--much as they are in my medicine cabinet and vanity at home. In fact, the layout of the aisles nearly mimics my routine many mornings... I shower and shampoo, I wake up my eyes with some Target-brand Visene, I dab on some moisturizer and slide on some lip balm, put a bit of product in my hair, and apply a bit of makeup and a spritz of fragrance. You know what I don't do in the midst of this routine, however? Mop my floor. Do my laundry. Scrub my dishes. None of these things are part of my prepping or primping process, and yet, you've seen fit to stick the mops and the detergent and the Tilex and Scrubbing Bubbles right in between the Maybelline and Tampax aisles. It's almost as though it was an afterthought of poor planning, and rather than reorganize again when you realized you were a few rows off, you just said, "Eh. This'll work" and washed your hands of the whole mess. A little flip-flopping is in order and would be well worth the time. I'm tired of walking back and forth past the Cascade and Mr. Clean because I expected the Oil of Olay to be near the Jergens and I thought I missed my aisle. Now, it's quite possible I'm being ridiculous and am the only one to complain about this particular issue, but judging by the confused looks and similar back-and-forth maneuvers I see other shoppers carrying on, I kind of don't think that's the case.

All right then. Moving on. Let's talk about your clothing for a bit. It was awfully nice of you to send me a coupon promising $10 off an apparel or accessories purchase of $75 or more. I'd been eyeing all the cute new tops and skirts each time I've wandered past women's the past few weeks, so I was excited to finally dig in and start trying things on. Unfortunately, it seems you’ve hidden all the cute stuff. Why would you do that? You knew I was coming, didn't you? Moreover, the few cute things that were still hanging around were available in exactly two sizes: XS and XXL. Why do you hate the average girls, Target? Why wouldn't you keep extra M's and L's in stock just for us? Frankly, I don't know what I did to upset you. Haven't I given you enough of my hard-earned dollars over the years? Don't I deserve to look cute and stylish for less as well?

And speaking of the lack of cute and stylish in your women's department, let's move on to your buddy Isaac for a minute. I know, I know--he's a fashion superstar and you're feeling lucky to have him on your side. I'm sure he's well-appreciated in his circles and has done some great work over the years. Unfortunately, he's not doing it for you. I mean, have you seen this?

Patchwork wonder

Or this?

Bad butterfly

Are either of these, in fact, looks you've seen any Target shopper sport? That last one is the sort of item I'm used to seeing on the rummage sale-esque racks at Marshall's, not the friendly and practical racks you generally stock. It's the sort of thing that prompts me to think, "Wow. Now what sort of Halloween costume could I create with that?" Your women's clothing department should not call up costume ideas, even in this, the year that's seen the return of bubble skirts and leggings and off-the-shoulder tunics and all things ridiculous and 80s-inspired. You know all those other oh-so-famous designers I've never heard of who you've been bringing in for a single line just a few months at a time? The racks filled with impractical and obnoxious things suitable for no one but stick-thin 13-year-olds? Well, at least those absurdities rotate out of the store after two months. I'm sorry, but until he can put together a collection that doesn't make me say, "What??" then Isaac deserves the same temporary treatment as well.

I do want to wrap this up soon, as no one likes to harp on a good friend like this for so long. But first, I need a word about your shoes. You know those cardboard props that IKEA uses to simulate computers and flat-panel TVs on their desks and media consoles? The rows of fused-together fake books displayed carefully on bookshelves and coffee tables? They've got the form, but lack any function. Is that what you're doing in your shoe department as well? Did you not really want to sell shoes, but you thought you needed shoe aisles, so you stocked the area with props you never meant for us to buy? This is the best explanation I can muster, being as every pair of shoes I've ever tried on (or, more foolishly, chose to buy) have been cute from the outside, but offered no comfort or cushioning at all. The ballet flats I picked up last spring? Cardboard actually may have been more comfy, as the hard seams rubbed and pressed against my feet with no hope or indication of breaking in. And those black boots I snagged last winter? They look great; no question about that. But I'm no Carrie Bradshaw (obviously, or I'd never think to outfit myself in Merona or Mossimo), so I'm not at all convinced they're worth the pain.

I really don't mean to go on and on like this, but I felt it was time someone pointed these things out. It's tough love, Target, but I'm critical because I care. It's really for your own good; I only want you to succeed. I hope you understand.

I'm glad we had this chat.



nabbalicious said...

Those skirts are bringing the fug hard! Wow.

But if you pair the yellow one with, say, those rhinestone boots from Victoria's Secret, you've got yourself a nice outfit for streetwalking.

stefanie said...

You do have a point there, Nabbs. And who couldn't use some new streetwalking clothes?

lizgwiz said...

I'm with you on the Target shoe aisles. This summer I tried on some really cute flip-flops, and put them right back as quickly as I could. It seemed as if they might wear out just from actually being tried on. They'd never have made it through an actual wearing.

-R- said...

I am with you on those skirts and the Target shoes. Not good. Not good at all. But what the heck is wrong with your Target's organization? It must be those northern suburbs because my Targets are not organized like that at all! You should write a letter! I wrote a letter requesting that my Super-T start carrying Ocean Spray Cranapple, and a few weeks later - voila. I am sure it is a coincidence, but I like to think it was all my doing. Geez, it appears that I have some strong feelings about Target. I will stop now.

Guinness_Girl said...

Holy mary mackerel. Those skirts are butt ugly.

Amen to this entire post, sister.

stefanie said...

Liz--Glad it's not just me! What is with the inferior shoes there?

R--I go to several different Targets pretty regularly, and there are a few different floorplans, of course. The one I'm talking about is the one where, when you walk in, women's clothing is on your left, purses and jewelry is straight ahead, and to the right, past the One Spot and the registers, is the H&B/cleaning products/H&B area. Seriously, there's like three rows of cleaning stuff in between the makeup and face soap & lotion and the rest of the H&B stuff. It makes no sense. And it throws me every time. (Clearly I have some strong feelings about Target, too, and I will stop now as well!) ;-)

GG--Aren't they, though? I have no idea what Mr. Mizrahi was thinking with those. I saw the yellow one in the store on a clearance rack and actually said out loud, "What is this??" Ugh.

3carnations said...

They just rearranged our Target this year. I went in there on my lunch break in a hurry looking for diapers...Not there. I asked someone and they said "We finally got smart and put them with the baby clothes." I guess I thought smart was leaving things where we know where to find them.

...and yep, ugly skirts.

stefanie said...

3Cs--I agree that would have been more smart. Seriously, do you need baby clothes as often as you need diapers? I'm thinking that, as a mom, you need stuff from the paper and H&B aisles on a regular basis, but just because you have a baby doesn't mean you always hit the baby clothes aisles. Am I right? Never mind. I've already spent too much time thinking about this. ;-)