Hi, I’m Shani

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that.

How To Shop At Target

How To Shop At Target

If you’re like me, which is to say a sentient being, you might find it difficult to shop at Target. I’m sorry, you might find it difficult to shop at Target without whittling away at your funds for retirement. Target is a vortex, one that is not expensive, but still takes all your money, and I’d like to discuss this at some length. I’d also like to inform you of the dangers and pitfalls of this enticing emporium.

I’ve done it, you’ve done it, our ancestors have done it. You go to Target, spend $200, come home, put everything away, and then feel like you came home with nothing. This is because Target has an uncanny ability to disguise things you need as things you want. It offers you the shopping experience of FAQ Schwartz with the prices of The Dollar Store and I’m not falling for its antics one more second.

I employ a three step process for shopping at Target that I’ve found effective in allowing me to get in and out of this pool of monetary ruin unscathed. I once bought 11 items at Target and spent less than $20 and I feel I was never properly recognized for this achievement.



Step 1: Plan

You must make a list before you shop at Target. You may not deviate from the list, you may not alter the list once you are inside the store. You came to Target for a reason—the list exists to remind you of that reason.

There are likely household cleaning products or food storage items or quasi-effective beauty products that you’ve recently run out of. Maybe your frying pan isn’t working with its usual efficacy. Perhaps sparkling water sounds nice. Write it down, write it all down, and stay focused.

Step 2: Cartwheel

Target has an app, and within that app is a section called “Cartwheel.” Cartwheel is important to you because Cartwheel is coupons. Lots of coupons. On almost everything. You’ll ultimately save about a dollar and a half but that’s a dollar and a half Target shall not pry from you! Before you leave for Target (heaven’s sake not once you’re there, the reception inside Target is always terrible, they don’t want you saving money), search for each item on your list in Cartwheel and add those coupons to your little Cartwheel wallet. Then you’ll scan this at checkout. It takes three minutes and it’s free money. Do it.

There is one exception to my listmaking rule and that is if within Cartwheel, and only within Cartwheel, you see some kind of outrageous deal, like 50% off olive oil or something, you are allowed to add these heavily discounted items to both your Cartwheel wallet and your list. There will be no more cheating from here on out.


You cruel, enticing mistress.

Step 3: Avoid

There are certain Target sections you are not allowed to enter UNLESS one of the items on your list requires it. Browsing at Target will be our ruin, etch that into my tombstone. The sections you may not enter are as follows:

Beauty, Home Decor, Seasonal, Athleisure

That’s not so hard, is it? Maybe if we stopped purchasing throw pillows and sports bras and new shades of matte lipstick every single time we walk in the door Target wouldn’t get the better of us, hmmmm? It knows you’re coming, it knows that you’re weak. Do not let it win.

Be sensible! Know that Target is not and never was your friend. It is a carefully constructed casino designed to take your money and leave you with nothing but Swiffer sheets and confusion. Plan and execute like the informed shopper that you are. Go forth, my friends, and may financial stability be with you.

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