Friday, October 30, 2009

Project TH: Target Hiatus

I didn't get a chance to blog about it a couple weeks ago because I was too busy being pissed off about being judged for having had a c-section, but two Fridays ago, I was busted by Bank of America for shopping at Target too much.

On said Friday morning, upon attempting to put some gas in the car, my credit card was unceremoniously rejected by the gas station card swiper. "Card rejected...Card rejected. Warning: You Are A Loser. LOOK EVERYONE, GIANT LOSER AT PUMP #3!!" Having sweaty palmed flashbacks to my first five years of teaching (your credit card gets rejected a LOT when you're making $500 a paycheck, I'll tell you that), I rummaged through my wallet for actual cash; you know, those pieces of paper with numbers on them that you can trade for other things? Yeah, I hardly ever carry it anymore, either. But for some reason (probably a "If you put the entire balance on your card, I'll give you cash for my part of it" situation) I had a $10 tucked in the wallet and was able to procure enough gas to get Ethan to school.

The whole time I drove Ethan to school, I fretted about how to explain to my financially responsible other half that I had somehow managed to bounce the bank account, even though I really wasn't shopping all that much. Your basic "we just moved in to a new house and need eleventy billion little things like a cat poop scooper and 2-3 containers of Clorox wipes and a Shabby-Chic over the toilet bathroom cabinet" type of stuff. But nothing excessive.

After dropping Ethan at school, I returned home and got on the horn with BofA. I had to call them three times before I realized that to every single prompt, you just have to yell "OPERATOR!!!" or you will be stuck in voice-automated-banking hell. And no one wants to be there. So when I finally got a real live human being on the other end of the phone, I explained my situation, complete with protestations like "I KNOW there's money in that account," which you know they hear so many times a day that they must hold their fingers up to their heads and pretend to blow themselves to smithereens every time they hear it from some other pathetic chump who overdrew his account.

The nice young man asked me if I could identify my last four purchases. One was a grocery purchase. One was to Target for a reasonable amount of money (cat poop scoopers dont' really cost a lot, you know); another was to Target, one day before, for a bit more money (Shabby-Chic over the toilet bathroom cabinets don't grow on trees, you know), and the other was for about $4.50 at Target only 35 minutes before the Shabby-Chic purchase. That would be my pumpkin spice latte at the Target Starbucks (seriously, whoever thought to put Starbucks in Targets could basically take over the world).

Yes, I said. All of those purchases were mine. Feeling defensive I almost wanted to ask the guy why the hell they were making judgments about my spending habits and turning off my card at gas stations. Seriously, when did BofA take on the role of being my spending conscience?? I jokingly said, "So you think I should spend less time at Target?! Hardeeharhar!"

He laughed and made a comment about being equally "addicted" to Target (yeah, that's what he said. Kindred spirit), but then said the red flag on my account hadn't gone off because I was spending too much of my husband's money at Target (okay, those might be my words), but because my recent spending habits mimicked those of a common identity theft tactic. Steal a card, use it at places like Target and Wal*Mart (ha! As if I'd step into a Wal*Mart. Please.) for relatively small purchases, then attempt to purchase gas to see if the card is still active. If it's still active at the gas station, the next fraudulent purchase is usually a doozy (more along the Neiman Marcus rather than Target). So they froze my card when I went to the gas station. Because I seem like a thief. Awesome.

We got that all straightened out and my card was reactivated with no problem. But it did get me thinking. Do I really need to spend that much of my life's time and money at Target? Oooooh, it hurts to even ask that question because in my heart (sort of) I want to cry out "Yes!!! Yes I really DO need to spend that much of my life's time and money at Target!!!! I doooooo!!!" But I know I don't.

So this week I decided it was time for a break. There is a Target being constructed near our house and it is set to open soon. Sort of like how a couple who have been having sex like bunnies for the entirety of their relationship decide not to have sex in the days or weeks leading up to their wedding, thereby making the consummation of their wedding that much more magical (which is absurd because on your wedding night you're going to end up soaking your throbbing feet in a tub, drinking a bottle of champagne and passing out on the overly fluffy bridal suite bed anyway, not having porn-worthy relations with your new husband. No? Maybe that's just me), I decided that from now until the time that the glorious new Super Target opens near my house, I will abstain from Target. No. More. Target.

Earlier this week, I went to Target, bought a ginormous chai tea latte, threw my purse into the bottom of the cart and meandered the aisles aimlessly for a little bit, taking in what I'd be giving up. All the new holiday stuff---shiny chargers (yeah, I have those already--one of them mangled my toe last month, remember?) and the soft new cashmere(esque) scarves and mittens. I may have purchased a CD of holiday music. I may have purchased a few early Chrismukkah presents for Ethan and a couple of cheap changes of clothes to keep in his cubby at preschool. And then I took a deep breath and said "see ya!" to Target.

So I am taking the next few weeks off from Target. Somehow though I'm not sure my Spendy Wendy brain quite got the point of this Target Hiatus. Today I went to Bed Bath & Beyond and bought a freaking Snuggie. And potpourri. I went to Borders and bought two books (but really, one is a Charles Dickens book--it's a classic. That's a gimme, right?).

Just letting you know, if I'm super cranky by this time next week, you can chalk it up to Target withdrawals. Should be fun.


Cathy said...

Good luck! You're very courageous.

Sarah said...

holy crap this made me laugh.

since we started out cash only thing, target has become WAY LESS FUN-- even when we just buy the boring stuff on our stupid list it;s still a triple digit trip, only there's no sparkly ballet flats or Wii game on top of the cart, .

love those circo playground pants (I think that's what they're called-- they're like $4) and the cute little retro long sleeved boys' tees-- all the little boys in Harry's class wear them almost everyday at school, and I like them b/c I don't care one bit if he spill or otherwise destroys them.

see? I could talk about Target ALL DAY

sarah said...

Sarah, you are KILLING ME!! LOL

Yeah, those are the circo outfits I bought Ethan.

Becca said...

This cracks me up!! You spend like a thief! Porn-worthy relations! Ha!!

But seriously, what are you going to do when you need chai, wine, wipes, and shoes ALL AT THE SAME TIME? ;)

gringa said...

I just want to know if you can walk in the Snuggie as I've been eying them for a while.

lonek8 said...

thanks for the tips! since I go to target constantly, the next time i get gas I'm immediately hitting up Dillards for some major spending and the reporting a stolen card. i hope they can't find this comment and bust me.

cicadalady said...

loved this entry. good luck!

Monica said...

you are too funny. A target is supposed to be built in my town next year, and I know I'll be there all. the. time.

AJU5's Mom said...

How can you spend so little at Target - I can't get out without spending at least $20 :)