I've been a Target shopper most of my life. My mom used to take us there to get our school supplies. It has always been my go to place for household needs, everything from brooms to toothpaste, Christmas lights to Q-Tips. Target is the sort of place you can go and pick up a wide variety of things you need and find some fun things you never even thought you might want. I've used their pharmacy, bought clothes, gifts, air filters, kitchen gadgets, music, car accessories, food, puzzles and countless other things from them over the years.
It's only in the past 5 years or so that my relationship with Target has become a rocky one, to say the least. During that time, my frustration has grown and grown. Finally reaching a boiling point last week, I decided that I needed to find a way to break-up with Target. Here are the problems:
1. Every time I go, there is at least one thing on my list that I can't get because they are out of what I need. It happens so frequently and often with the same few items. If they are constantly running out of the same things they need a new plan for keeping these items in stock.
2. Every time I go, there is at least one thing on my list that I don't get because the boxes are all managed, opened and/or the item has been otherwise tampered with. This happens most frequently with the kleenex boxes and beauty/cosmetic stuff but I've seen it all over the store. I don't know if this is something that happens during stocking or if other customers are messing with things but I will walk away without my needed item before I buy face lotion that has been tampered with.
3. Target has a designated smoking area for their employees - guess where - RIGHT OUTSIDE THE ONLY PUBLIC ENTRANCE. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to walk through the smoke of a whole group of employees on their break, gathering right outside the only entrance. I've complained and complained about this in the store and in their online surveys. Nothing is changing. Not only does it look terrible to have your employees smoking by the front door but people who are sensitive to it are forced to endure it if they want to shop.
4. For the past 6 months now the Target by our house has been out of one specific item. I've asked about it every month and every month I am told the same thing. Apparently their computer system shows that they still have 7 of them, even though they don't, and so the computer won't order more until they are out. It doesn't matter to anyone there that the computer is wrong and will never show the sale of these 7 items because they don't exist. I have had 5 conversations with the manager about it. I've asked - "at what point do the human beings here step in and override the computer so that you guys actually have this item?" The only answer I ever get is that they will look into it. Obviously they are not looking into it because this is not a problem that takes 6 months to solve.
I can't remember the last time I left Target without feeling frustrated or downright angry. I don't want to turn my back on the store completely but I also don't want to go there 2 or 3 times a month trying to get all the everyday items that we regularly shop for. So here's what I did:
-I made a list of everything we regularly buy from Target (28 items total).
-I went to CVS, Walgreens and Target and wrote down the price of each item at each store.
-Compared the data to see if I could do better elsewhere.
Yes, I'm a total nerd. I won't bore you with all the stats but here was the take away. The vast majority of the items we buy from Target were significantly cheaper than at CVS and Walgreens. Plus, there were 4 items on the list of 28 that just can't be bought at either drug store. I wasn't surprised that Target was cheaper but I was surprised by just how much cheaper they were. With only a handful of exceptions, the things that were cheaper at Target were cheaper by $2.00 or more.
Now, I know that I could find ALL of the 28 items at WalMart but I also know that Walmart has the same issues that Target has with keeping things on the shelves and items being mangled. Plus, this is a place I try to avoid because of their poor treatment of employees. Some of these items can be found at our local grocery store but I already know that they are also much more expensive than at Target.
I'm out of alternatives. As much as it pains me to shop at Target, it would be more painful to pay so much more for all these items we need. I'm sad to say I decided not to break-up with Target after all.