I have an unnatural love for Target.
It has nothing to do with the fact that they employed me for seven years.
There is this sensory connection, that starts when I am walking across the parking lot. And then the automatic doors whoosh open, and it is as if I have been transported to my very own playland.
Okay, before you think I have gone a little nuts, bear with me.
Growing up in Bemidji, we did not have a lot of shopping options. We had an old fashioned five and dime-Woolworths. It had the counter in the store, where you could buy a sandwich, or a piece of pie out of the round glass case, or a fountain cherry coke. When I worked downtown, I loved to go there and get a grilled cheese sandwich, and sit on the red vinyl stools. You could twirl them around, and look at all the tables of treasures on display. Sparkly nail polish, 45 records, those nasty black prickly curlers (that I mentioned yesterday), hankerchiefs, candy, notecards, pencils...they had everything. Across the street was a smaller version of that, called Lindruds. They didn't have a lunch counter, but they had fabric, and buttons, and live birds and fish! Then there was S & L, and JC Penney. Two story department stores, where we would shop for school clothes, and new shoes, and get our pictures taken in the basement, or buy our Girl Scout sashes. And then there was Gibsons. Before it became Pamida, and moved out to a giant building, it was downtown (heck, ALL of these stores were downtown, we didn't have a mall). It had everything from ironing boards to Christmas ornaments to swim suits. And I remember the merchandise being stacked all the way to the ceiling, which made it a little dark in the aisles. But it was still a fun adventure to go in there.
So that was what I knew about retail. Small spaces with predictable offerings. And I wasn't a big shopper-I would save baby sitting money to buy a 45 record, or a Seven Up candy bar, or maybe an Archie comic book.
The August before sixth grade, we took a family trip to Duluth. I had never been there. We went to Target. I am pretty sure that when we walked through the doors, I just stood and stared for a while. Until the other shoppers had to move me out of the way. Now THIS was a store. Bigger than the stores I shopped at in Bemidji all put together. Everything seemd to be extra bright, and shiny. Or so it seemed to me. And I don't even remember what I got to buy, but I am sure I had a little retail high going for a few days.
Now that we have Super Target, I do the bulk of my shopping there. I love buying my groceries, and socks for Charlie, and a new CD, and cat food, and a new t-shirt for myself, all in the same place. I have the Target credit card, it's for a good cause, you know. I am guessing that my purchases have probably paid the salary of at least one teacher at our school. I earn a 10% off coupon each month, and save most of my shopping needs and do a big run. Sometimes I could use two carts. But I don't, I have my pride. Dang it, I can fit it all in one. Even with the giant packs of paper towels and pails of cat litter. But even though it appears to be a lot of work , I really enjoy it.
Because when I walk through those doors, I feel like I am twelve years old again, and I have just walked into my first Target, and the whole wide world is right there, for me to buy.