The Target Principle

A wise woman — Maya Angelou, perhaps? — once said you don’t often remember people’s words, but you never forget how they made you feel. I have found this to be exceptionally accurate with not just those I love and hold close to my heart, but with one of my favorite Big Box stores.

Yes, it’s Target. (Did I even need to link to their Web site?) But you probably already guessed that. In fact, you may love Target just as much as I. If so, we’re going to be great friends.

I don’t remember the first time I stepped under Target’s signature candy apple red and crisp linen white logo, but I most definitely remember how the experience made me feel: enchanted, engaged, slightly dizzy. Corporate America wouldn’t want it any other way.

The idea that I was surrounded by so many of my Most Favorite Things and things I haven’t yet discovered that would become my Most Favorite Things delighted me to no end.

Lovely items of seasonal clothing, affordable shoes, jewelry and handbags and a wonderful line of hand creams and the like made me tipsy. Target’s stationary and paper goods selection isn’t anything to sneeze at, either.

When select Targets morphed into SuperTargets, good Lord, the experience transformed to the sublime.

But this essay isn’t merely a free advertisement for Target (or SuperTarget, for that matter). It’s what I call The Target Principle. Yes, its name is indeed lifted from the store, but the concept can be applied to life beyond the plastic red shopping carts and in-store Starbucks near every entrance. And the idea came from my mom.

Several months ago she and I were talking about the experience of shopping at Target, especially when your purchases include staples such as shampoo, razors, dryer sheets, milk and, well, staples for your stapler. But as you walk through the aisles, determined to purchase Just The Essentials and sticking to your shopping list, you almost always find a small item, something unexpected that is fairly inexpensive that just makes you grin like a little girl.

As you run other errands throughout your day, your slick Target bags along for the ride in your backseat or trunk, you temporarily forget about the One Item that wasn’t on your list. And when you discover it at home, according to my mom, “it just makes you happy.”

For me it’s something as nonessential as a bottle of nail polish, earrings or a new notebook (the thought of any new paper good causes my palms to perspire and my vision to blur).

And you know, my mom is right. It’s certainly true with the retail experience, but it can easily be related to your work life, your social life, the life you share with your betrothed.

The small, unexpected surprises can make all the difference when the status quo prompts unfortunate yawning and excessive daydreaming. When proverbial sunlight hits at just the right angle and something in life sparkles and shines, it can turn a bland day into a delicious day and make you thankful you are alive.

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7 thoughts on “The Target Principle

  1. I love Target too. I liked it better when they were on Saddlecreek Rd. though. I go to the one at Crossroads a lot and I like to park in the 4th floor of the parking garage and take pedestrian bridge and down stairs that I think only I use. Sara hates it because it’s not as direct. But I have a thing for parking garages and pedestrian bridges.

  2. Target shopping is one of my favorite things to do in the world. It is my weekly ritual to go there and get a large Diet Coke from the snack bar and use one of those shopping cart cup holders.

  3. I’ve seen you running around Target on your lunch break. Oh wait that means I was a lunch break offender as well. Ummm…I just received a coupon booklet from Target and was immediately tickled with joy.

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