Target Gift Cards are gateway drugs

Target Gift Cards are gateway drugs

It was one $25 gift Target gift card. I was going to use it to buy car mats for my car.

I warned G that we would not be long in Target. No dilly-dalleying today, son. We were gonna make like SoCal burgers: In and Out.

It seemed logical to get a few staples while I was there: cheese. Bread.  Milk.  Trail mix. The Dew. Even threw in a Spiderman cup for the boy: a lil splurge. It was my Level One Standard Target checklist (LOST)

Looking back, I was probably in trouble when I reached for the salt and vinegar potato chips. The deviance from my LOST should have been a red flag in my mind. Addicts call them triggers. But at that point I had everything I needed, and I was heading out. I was done.

And I deserve salt and vinegar chips every once in a while.

And it’s nice out.


The last thing I really remember: G was scanning Lego kit boxes under the red box with the cool laser.  “Don’t put your eyeballs under it,” I said, as I ogled the big screen TV’s.  I remember thinking “When the day comes, it just seems silly to get anything less than a 60” screen…..”



When I “came to,” I was flipping through a rack of shirts. My cart was already half full of clothes.

I have tried in vain to remember what sucked me in.

No, it wasn’t the clearance rack. That was my first guess too, but nope. That devil rack came at the tail end when I was in full Target Vortex Freefall (TVR). By then I had lost all self-control, and had begun wildly abusing the Standard Target Clearance Rack Protocol of Insanely Good Deals. (STCRPIGD rules: you buy nothing over $4.08. Anything over is not, technically “Clearance.” Duh.)

You guys,  I was just …grabbing…yanking…glancing…needing….growling…spittle. My criteria for cartworthiness had disintegrated into, “Because I don’t have it.”

I stepped out of my own body, and watched the pathetic woman I had become. I wanted to scream at her: “NO! NO! Not the Converse Line!! I For you, it’s like Little House on the Prairie level manipulation.  For the love of everything pure and holy, please stop!”

“We are leaving, now, G.” I must have lied to my son twenty times, that day.

Oh, the betrayal of everything I had ever learned about Target: Rule number 1: You don’t haul off and buy up Target. YOU JUST DON’T. Everyone knows that with every shirt/tank/dress you buy from Target, the chances you will run into someone wearing your same shirt/tank/dress/doubles. It is a proven fact, people.

And yet there I was, buying Target. I didn’t care. I had a Red Card and gainful employment..

At least I maintained an ounce of good sense, and made my way into the dressing room. I didn’t pretend, as I have in the past, that suddenly, after all this time on earth, I posses the Superpower to “Just Know It Will Fit And Look Good.”  I’m scraping the barrel of half full, yes…but throw me a bone, here.

G, thankfully, had taken up with two basic clothes hangers, one with a yellow “S,” and one with a purple “M.” For whatever reason, those two hangers were more engaging to him than his first Buzz Lightyear action figure from his first fully realized Christmas. “M” was Monster, and S was Sidekick, and those dudes were saving the world for 120 minutes, straight..

I selfishly manipulated/egged on his plastic playdate with little droplets of feigned parental interest to keep his game on autopilot, giving me the time and space to build a whole new wardrobe.



“Are you KIDDING me??”

“Then what??”

“NO. WAY!!!!!”

Each successful fitting would get thrown on the pile of hummus, baby carrots, and grey floor mats at the bottom of the cart.


As I pushed the cart to the register,  I had to be careful not to lose control around corners, as the center of gravity had shifted, greatly.

I pretended that the cashier even gave one teeny crap about my Target relapse, and passively begged for some sort of justification for my actions.

“What just happened?” I asked, lamely indicating the overflowing cart with a nod of my head.

She smiled and shrugged: “Eh. It’s okay. It’s summer.”

Works for me.

I have since returned $91 worth of merchandise. And I made sure they put the money back in my account, and not on a Target gift card.


That’s my piece, and that’s my peace. Thank you for taking the time to read my silly words. It means the world. Carry on….

Old Single Mom

Want more? Click here for the one about an life-changing encounter in Dunkin Donuts.
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