I Just Needed One Thing From Target…

Famous last words


I swear to effing god I just need sunscreen. Sunscreen. That’s it. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less. One bottle.

The problem is, it’s located in beauty. To get there, I’ll have to traverse the entire store — akin to walking over hot coals while wearing dollar bills for shoes. The first hurdle will be emotionally and physically clearing the office supply aisle, which I feel confident doing if only because I’m not in school and work exclusively in digital. I’m 70% sure I do not need gold scissors. Does that stapler have googly eyes? Go go go.



The home-decor section is looming. I can feel my constitutions weakening by way of a throw pillow that looks like a pink yarn monster. Such a pillow might transform my entire apartment, that much I know, but I’m stronger than that. Just like I’m stronger than that decorative, red metal tray that reminds me of a lobster and makes me want to throw a party. Why the fuck would I need a tray? Am I a waiter? A bedside table that looks like it’s from West Elm — what the hell, Nate Berkus — makes eyes at me. Absolutely not.


When I see a pool-sized bin of $10 throw blankets, I know I’m screwed. I genuinely need a new blanket. Swear to G. They’re so cheap! Okay: I will get the blanket and then I will get the sunscreen and then I will exit this store and call my grandfather. I sail right past the kitchen aisle, turning my nose up at a mini crockpot and set of anthropomorphized measuring spoons that might change my life.


The apparel section is an adorable pink pouf’s throw away — which I have no use for aside from personal fulfillment — and I’m sweating. I spot a pack of Hanes white T-shirts. My left knee buckles. My right eye twitches. I grab a pack (a single pack!) and stuff it inside the folds of the blanket, because if it’s hidden it doesn’t exist.

Sunscreen. That’s it.


I trot through loungewear and activewear, past soft cotton robes and sweatpants made of dreams. I nab some no-show socks without so much as slowing my gait. I stare at a wall of swag printed with fake vintage logos of my local sports team until I remember I don’t like sports. I exit the apparel section like a professional speed-walker.

I skirt through home and cleaning supplies, shaking my head at a Swiffer Wet Jet and a jug of strangely adorable detergent pods that I may or may not have named Suzy. I huff past some plastic bins that would fix my pantry and elbow some bulk hangers that would fix my closet. Finally, Jesus Christ, I arrive at beauty.


As I jog my way through the first aisle, I blink dismissively at a sleeve of cotton pads, my favorite drugstore mascara, a stick of deodorant that’s so mini I could cry and a pack of Bioré strips that would no doubt elevate my self-care game. In the next aisle, I shake my head at soft loofah I deem a “want” and decide against stealing a spritz of dry shampoo. By the time I arrive at the sunscreen, my heart is pounding. I pace back and forth, examining each bottle for clues as to which is best. This takes just over 17 minutes. My stomach growls, my head hurts, I forget the purpose of sunscreen and I conclude, with a bitterness in my soul, that I simply can’t decide.

I swear off capitalism and wander towards the register, grabbing some Lemonheads, a box of wine and a pack of gum. I pay my bill (what, 377 dollars?) and skedaddle out of there, seven bags inexplicably in hand and the store clerk behind me, ready to lock up as the clock strikes 11 p.m.

Illustrations by Maria Jia Ling Pitt. 

Get more Humor ?
  • Romina Viola

    Have you read my diary?

  • Hayley

    Hayley and Haley have the exact same favorite mascara.

  • Aydan

    This is me at sephora, which I have started shopping for online in attempt to curb my inability to walk by a display without deciding to buy something..

    • Abby

      Smart move. I can’t do online OR in store because online my thought process starts with “Well I should at least hit the minimum for free shipping…” and ends with “Well okay I only meant to spend $50 but $150 is okay too…”

      • Samantha Lee

        Omg the free shipping minimum YES. Happened to me yesterday. I was like – it makes complete sense to spend MORE money than I would even with paying for shipping, right?


        • Meg S

          My logic is that if I’m going to spend the money anyway, I’m going to get something for it. Shipping isn’t something I can touch or use, and I loathe paying for it. If the company has to pay shipping costs anyway, I’m going to hit that $50 minimum instead of paying inflated shipping costs because you know it doesn’t cost them as much as you’re charged.

  • Abby

    Target’s home decor has been ON POINT lately and I couldn’t resist last time I was there. I just went in for eggs and milk and came out with a super cool black wicker mirror thing that’s now above my bed and a nice painting that had a rip on the back so it was half off!

  • Kay Nguyen

    It’s the same for me whenever I go to Whole Food, Wegmans, Target, Marshall’s, blah blah oh shit, I just realize I have no self control when it comes to sticking to my shopping list, glad I’m not alone <3


  • Samantha Lee

    I know how everyone says this – and I’ve tried to provide evidence against it – but this is just TOO TRUE. Last weekend I went to Target to buy yogurt and mascara – I ended up spending $91 (an no, not $91 on yogurt and mascara).


  • Marra

    This is me to my core. Was just having this conversation with friends about how we can’t just buy one thing when we go to Target. We end up dropping serious cash and walk out with crap we didn’t need. Target’s swimsuits though…really cute. And the home decor as Abby said below is majorly on point!

  • Meg S

    This is why I avoid Target. That beauty section is deadly, and I always end up there. Especially for the Korean beauty section. It always gets me. ALWAYS.

    But don’t fear, those biore pore strips never actually work. You can leave those behind. Loofahs are germ magnets. Swiffer wet jets use nasty chemicals and you’re better off with a water-based steam mop.

    I can’t resist the home decor section, and that’s where my resistance really unravels. Sighs. I try and avoid Target because there isn’t anything I need right now. …I think.

    • Kattigans

      The home decor section at target is FIIIIIRE. Omg I’ve gotten so much stuff there that looks way more expensive than it is. Let’s just say Threshold knows how to make a room look freaking amazing

      • Meg S

        Oh, I know. I spent maybe $250 on two book cases and they look so much more expensive than they are. They even match my furniture from other furniture makers almost exactly. I’ve got my eye on a bench for my bay window and an armchair for my bedroom. All the pictures in my kitchen are from Target. They had this adorable fork and spoon art a few years ago. Their dishes are really great too, and if I hadn’t found everyday china at Lennox that I fell in love with, I would have gone to Target for dishes too.

        • Kattigans

          Almost all my dishes and cups are from Target. I got these really nice green glass water cups made from recycled glass and made in Spain for $1 or $2 a piece! They look like anthro or crate and barrel. I don’t believe in spending a lot on nice stuff like that. Unless its fine China or heirloom worthy stuff it is not worth it to spend. Target also has really cute mugs (and not just the cheesy kind with sayings and motivational quotes hah)

          • Meg S

            I’ve seen those water cups you’re talking about, and if I didn’t have more than enough glasses/coffee mugs plus an apartment sized kitchen, I’d be all over them. Maybe once I go through my mug collection and give some of it away. I need more cabinet space.

          • Kattigans

            DO IT! I’m the patron saint of encouraging unnecessary (but justifiable purchases). This also ends up meaning that own way too much stuff ><

          • Meg S

            I’m a gemini, we never need to be encouraged into unnecessary purchases. But at least I can use those. I found a cute set of stemless wine glasses that I need but am glad they’re plastic because drunkciddents happen. I ordered those for pick up, and I’ll see if I can find the ones I know you’re talking about.

            Now I need to convince myself that the $500 lamp I saw will still be around after I get back from vacation. No major purchases until AFTER Paris is my rule.

  • LM1278

    Very good! This is called marketing and stores intentionally are set up that way so you buy more. Pretty sneaky, but it works and it works well. This is not just a Target set up. A lot of stores do this. It’s a way of luring the customers to spend more than they intend. For those of you blaming Target, you obviously don’t get out to stores much if you are placing blame of them, and even going to far as to boycott them for this common practice.

    Only you and you alone control your spending habits. I admit, when I sometimes go into a store, I leave with much more than I had intended on buying. But that is my choice. I don’t have to buy a damn thing. I am not blaming a store for my spending habits. I decide to make the purchase. It is a weakness, and apparently one that many of us share.

    • Eliza

      Hey don’t worry! This is a humorous, lighthearted article. No one is upset about it, and I think we all realize that most stores are set up like this. I think many of us (myself included) find Target particularly alluring because it has a huge selection, but is more visually appealing and carries a different selection than you would find in, say, a Walmart. No one is seriously boycotting Target over the layout of the store, or blaming Target for their spending habits. So it’s going to be okay! Not everyone is complaining and whining as much as you think they are :’)

  • Haha totally loved this. So relateable. Although Target has left Canada, I still remember its ways!


  • mcv123

    This literally happened to me today. Except I had no reason for going in the first place, I just knew I was going to be early to an appointment so I stopped in “just to browse” and left with a sheet mask and two travel sized moisturizers. Sigh.

    • Meg S

      Girl, you got off easy.

  • Teri Giese

    Yup,my spouse thinks I am the only MOFO,that can spend 831.34 at Target.Was planning on a run tonight,but since it is already 7:40p.m.and the closest Target closes at 10:00;the NEEDED 4 hours,(minimum);to do my vitamin/toiletries/need to get away from the animals and have alone time,run;has to wait another day.Then WhoWhat Wear has there lowdown on what just arrived at Target(cute and cheap shoes).Am beyond “weak”.Am dead,as I will ABSOLUTELY require double the usual time for my Target run🤓

    • Susan

      Go to Amazon !

  • Oh memories, of when Target used to be in Canada…

  • Paula Rodio

    That being said, I love Target.

  • aspiringsocialite

    Happens every time! You go in thinking you’re going to spend $9 and you end up spending $90.


  • J

    I live abroad now, so whenever I go home for a family visit I make sure I am rested up to properly enjoy my annual Target trip. My sister is allowed to come for moral support and group changing room sessions, but no one else, least of all my grumpy shopper of a spouse. My saving grace is that it all has to fit back into the suitcase I came with, so I can browse without doing terrible damage.

  • KK

    Never go to Target after brunch. DAMN YOU MIMOSAS

  • Cristina

    Hi ::waves:: only woman in America that DOESN’T get that way about Target. I dunno why. I’m not a browser by nature. Not at any store. I know what I want, I go get it and I don’t stop to look at anything along the way. Except maybe journals. Maybe it’s because I literally loathe buying household/hygiene things. So I’m in, hustle, get to a short line and GO.

  • Merrynell

    Ah yes, this struggle is very real. I once went to pick up shampoo and left with cheese cloth instead. INSTEAD.

    They didn’t have my shampoo and of course I couldn’t just walk out of there empty-handed — of course not! So I picked up cheese cloth.

  • Cynthia Schoonover

    I try to stick to my list, but I often find a deal I can’t pass up. Last trip, I did stick to my list.

  • The key for me is deciding in advance where I will treat myself, and how much for. I have managed to leave Target (Tar-Zhay, as my friend calls it) after spending only $12 unintended dollars, at least twice. So the dollars were spent on yet another taupe eyebrow filler– I have 6– so what?

  • Lisa

    Laughed out loud!!! So true, can’t get out of there for under $100. Great job writing!

  • Kristin

    I need a chaperone when I go to Target. Usually my cheap husband who axes every purchase suggestion. I get really mad when we buy only what we really needed. I need a chaperone who can get on board w/my excitement over running shorts w/colorful geometric shapes (that I don’t need cause I don’t run) and cutely packaged, oddly shaped pasta. Come on.