I have a complicated relationship with Target…
I fervently support local small businesses and would love to exclusively use their beautiful products but sadly baby boutique prices are astronomical. When, in the first few weeks of Joanie’s life, Eric and I were going through ten receiving blankets a day I sent him to collect as many as he could find. Sharing my values when it comes to small businesses versus conglomerate department stores, Eric visited some of the boutiques in our neighbourhood. He had been resistant to my new relationship with Target, but after his excursion in which he only found forty dollar blankets, he joined me in my resolve to shop at the big stores. After a short trip on the metro, he returned with sixteen new blankets for the price of one from the boutique.
Target is the best and worst place in the world. Its glaring florescent lights, garish easy-listening music and glitchy self-check-out machines accentuate the experience’s suburban and impersonal qualities that I have defiantly resisted since my rebellious adolescence. Most of my teenage angst was nonsense, an effort to stand out, my short lived foray into vegetarianism and my disdain for pop music, for instance. (I now eat meat and love Toni Braxton.) I do, however, stand by my aversion to big stores. We all know the effect Walmart and the like have on individual proprietors. Not only are small businesses devastated by the arrival of these stores in communities, the products they bring along with them are crap, garbage, poorly made shit.
The sad truth is that as part of a young family, just starting to sort out its finances and suddenly confronted with the prospect of tuition and mortgages, I don’t have the money to buy forty dollar receiving blankets. Babies grow awfully swiftly. They are fountain of gross that don’t give a damn about material possessions, thus rendering such purchases frivolous.
Once I accepted Target as the best option for onesies, rompers, sheets, wash cloths, breast milk storage bags, socks, diapers, bottle nipples, soothers, owl-shaped night lights, baby powder, zinc oxide, rubber duckies in chef hats and, yes, receiving blankets, I was converted to a Target love, albeit a reluctant one. Joanie has everything she needs and plenty more, and if I wear blinders and keep my ear buds firmly snug and tuned to NPR, I can get in and out of Target in less than twenty minutes.
Now I love Target for exactly what it is: cheap junk that I won’t mourn when it reaches the limits of its use. I still visit the boutique on occasion as their are some items that require investment. I have a terrible vision of a Target crib crumbling beneath my daughter’s ever expanding weight and height and sometimes I can’t resist an adorable linen dress in a store window. It had whales on it!
Note: Target people hate when you take pictures in their Target and they especially hate when you refuse to use their self-check-out machines.