Target is my happy place. Some of my fondest childhood memories center around going to Target with my mom – we’d shop around the gleaming, popcorn-scented aisles before sitting down to eat hot dogs and blue raspberry Icees. Later, my friends and I adopted Target as our hangout place, standing in for the classic American diners and malls in our own coming-of-age movie. We go to Target after school, on weekends, for no good reason other than to walk around and have the kind of aimless fun that is so essential to being a teenager. It’s one of the few places that doesn’t cost money to spend time in, and it’s full of entertainment – trying on unicorn onesies, making fun of the fancy organic tampons, searching through CDs in the music section. There’s also a Starbucks, which is pretty much all we need to enjoy ourselves.
Target has somehow perfected an atmosphere of upscale accessibility. It’s nicer than Walmart, but not intimidating like a fancy mall. Bigger than a boutique, but not as cavernous as a Costco. Target doesn’t expect anything of you. It understands that sometimes all you need in life is to just go stand in the haircare aisle and spend an hour deciding between two different shampoos. Target also offers an incredibly real, tempting, just-out-of-reach vision of some better version of yourself. If you just bought that Burt’s Bees face mask, or that scented candle, or that pair of boots, you could be productive and glowing and have all your shit together. And all of those things are actually affordable – the New You is on that shelf for just $9.99!
Target is timeless, ageless, infinite, undiscriminating. Someone compliments us on our shirt – “Oh, I got it from Target!” we laugh, gleefully. We need something, anything? “I’ll just stop by Target,” we say with a knowing nod. Nothing bad ever happens in a Target. Donald Trump is president, the environment is being destroyed, sexism and racism are rampant, the earth is going up in flames around us, soon there will probably be a nuclear war or a zombie apocalypse – and yet there will always be the warm, shining, welcoming, buttery-smelling aisles of a Target somewhere. Expect More. Pay Less.

(not sponsored by Target.)