Even though I expect to see them, there’s something about the sight of those enormous, useless, static, round red ballards that always catches me off guard. My heart races, my palms sweat and my breathing quickens. I am at Target.
In the fleeting moment of clarity experienced immediately before one succumbs to the overwhelming appeal of strategic merchandizing, I remind myself, “You are here to buy an extension cord.” Yet in a flash it happens – MISSION ABORTED – like it always does. I am distracted by a copious assemblage of sundries that share one irresistible feature… they are (gasp) insanely cheap. I mean seriously, THEY ARE ONLY A DOLLAR!
I snatch a shopping cart and dash headlong toward the Dollar Bins. You never can have too much glitter nail polish or toille-lined wicker baskets or plastic popcorn tubs or pastel painted tin buckets or miniature herb gardens or silicone fly swatters or kaleidoscopes or Hello Kitty junk! I didn’t even know they still made Hello Kitty junk! MUST. HAVE. HELLO. KITTY. JUNK. I mean seriously, this stuff is only a dollar.
“I’ve been toying with the idea of throwing a Valentines day party, but do I really need heart-shaped ice-cube trays?” I hear myself wonder aloud. It is the angel on my shoulder attempting to suppress the tantalizing whispers of that truncated demon conspiring with my Discover card…cash back with every purchase. It is futile. I am hopelessly and helplessly incapable of resisting the temptation of another reckless spending spree.
$118.24 poorer and full of buyer’s remorse, I troll the parking lot in search of my car. “The devil made me do it,” I am talking to myself again, making excuses and shifting the blame, like I always do, to assuage the self-loathing that punctuates each and every one of these exhausting, bulls-eye-induced ordeals. I find my car and toss one, two, three bags full of feckless chachkies into the backseat, fasten my seatbelt and make ready for the ride home.
I am on auto-pilot, preoccupied with taking mental inventory of a passel of purchases I neither want nor need but somehow find I own, when suddenly it strikes me: I have forgotten the extension cord. “DARN IT!” I shriek, smacking both hands on the steering wheel.
“Oh well,” I utter, although I know I shouldn’t even consider it, “there’s always tomorrow,” and it occurs to me… I am a Target Junkie.
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