By Kristina Johnson of thatmommylady.com
Due to overwhelming demand, Target Shoppers Anonymous is now holding daily meetings. The support group has been drawing new members by the dozen, and organizers say the wave of newcomers shows no sign of slowing down.
“People are coming to us begging for help,” said the group’s founder, Jill Hunter. “They’re hitting Target 10, 12 times a week. They tell themselves they’re just picking up one thing, and they’re walking out with $150 worth of fake leather goods and adult coloring books. It’s an epidemic.”
Hunter started the meetings after her own personal struggles with Target shopping almost bankrupted her.
“I thought I’d hit rock bottom when I started stealing my neighbors’ newspapers looking for Target circulars,” she said. “But when I downloaded the Cartwheel app, it got even worse. I was refreshing it all day long, always looking for a bigger score than 5 cents off a pound of chicken breasts.”
Hunter says her daily Target visits were killing her budget. In desperation, she walked into her local store one day and demanded to be given a job. Instead, she walked out with a lifetime ban — a ban she says ultimately kept her out of the poorhouse.
She now uses the time she used to spend browsing in Bullseye’s Playground by helping others learn from her mistakes. Hunter says she knows just staying out of the store (or getting banned from it) isn’t a realistic option for most people. But she says there’s one important thing people can do to protect themselves.
“Never, ever sign up for a REDCard,” she says. “That 5% off is like a gateway discount. Soon you’ll find yourself buying four bottles of shampoo you don’t need just to get a $5 gift card. You’ll think it’s free money, but you’ll come to spend it and the next thing you know, you’re ringing up $200 in costume jewelry.”
If you think you or someone you know may have a Target shopping problem, here are some questions to ask:
1. Is the layer of throw pillows on top of it so thick you can no longer see your couch?
2. Do you own holiday-themed kitchenware for more than eight holidays?
3. Have you ever driven to four or more Targets in a single day in search of a sold-out designer collaboration piece?
4. Do any employees know your name?
5. Are you drawn to red polo shirts and khaki pants?
If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, seek help.
About the Author
Kristina Johnson is a new mom, writer, and TV producer living in New York City. She loves her daughter deeply but can admit that she wouldn’t mind if babies came with an off-switch. Her interests include books, Netflix, and coming up with snarky responses to people who ask when she’s having baby #2. She blogs regularly at thatmommylady.com.