Unicorns, distractions and Target winning again
Unicorns, distractions and Target winning again

Unicorns, distractions and Target winning again

It can be easy to get distracted by fascinations that draw you away.

Especially when you’re at Target.

There’s just something about Target that creates this entirely different universe of greatness. It’s difficult to explain—you have to experience it. It’s really challenging to go in there and get just one thing. I might even venture to say it’s impossible.

There have even been multiple occasions when I’ve gone into Target with one thing on my list, left with more than one thing, and completely forgotten the original thing I needed to get. I know my ladies out there feel me on this one. There are just too many distractions putting thoughts in your mind of, “I need this” or “I’m sure I’ll find use for this somehow” or “That’s too cute not to buy” or anything else along those lines.

It’s delightful torture.

I was a victim to this on Saturday. All I needed was contact solution. That’s it. I could have (and probably should have) just gone to a normal grocery store. But I didn’t. Target was summoning me. That stinkin’ red target shouldn’t be on the outside of the building—it should be on all of our backs. Target hits the bullseye every.single.time.

Obviously a necessity

I went inside and immediately was drawn to the Dollar Spot: a place where everything is $1, but you can easily end up spending about $32 there in a mere matter of seconds. After I found some stickers I know I’ll use and some neon mechanical pencils that I never will (I don’t remember the last time I even used a pencil), I moseyed on over to the clothing area. I mean, I had a Target gift card, so I might as well get some new work clothes, right? Last time I checked, fun shorts and a shirt with a frocket with unicorns on it weren’t part of the corporate dress code, but those items somehow wound up in my cart. I did find a skirt that I actually can wear to work, so I declared it as productivity and made my way to the grocery area.

I would like to point out that I passed by the shoes section and didn’t let myself stop. I saw some boots that I really, really wanted to take a second look at, but I stayed strong. See, Target doesn’t own me completely.

I got some Birthday Cake Teddy Grahams (everyone needs to try these) and an avocado and then went and got in line to check out. Right before it was my turn, it hit me: I forgot contact solution. I was completely out, and I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to sleep in my contacts. But I really didn’t want to get out of line and have to walk all the way over to the health/beauty/whatever-it-is section to get it. The one thing I really needed to get there, and I didn’t even get it. After at least 40-something seconds of useless debating in my head, I opted to stop at Kroger on the way home to get the solution. After all, Kroger has self-checkout.

I think my actions and my mindset at Target are similar to those of many of us in our daily lives. We let things constantly distract us from what our main objectives should be, and then we end up straying so far that we neglect them entirely or simply give up on them. But, the problem with those distractions is that they usually aren’t as good for us as we imagined. Sure, I really like the new clothes I got, but they weren’t going to be able to take care of my contacts while I slept.

When I was a freshman in high school, I had a project due that our teacher had given us weeks to work on. I started a little before midnight on the night before the day it was due. Throughout the weeks we had to work on it, I had let distractions veer me away from the assignment—whether it was basketball, watching SportsCenter or a Mavs game, hanging out with my friends, talking on AIM (obviously a critical priority), or a number of other things. I’m not saying those things are bad, but at the end of the day, they didn’t accomplish the one thing that had a deadline: my assignment. I ended up completing it, but I hadn’t made it a priority, just like I hadn’t made my contact solution a priority. Instead, I had let it slip deeper and deeper into the back of my mind until it became an afterthought. A checkout thought.

I think a lot of us do this with more important things than solution or school projects: relationships, our time, our sleep and a variety of other things that are truly important to us. But what if we didn’t let ourselves get Target Shopping Syndrome with things that matter? What if, instead, we let our priorities stay at the top of our lists? I’ve been trying to focus on this more—well, other than my obvious slip when I was actually shopping at Target—by saying “no” to things I don’t need to spend my time doing, by not overcommitting myself, by being intentional about not wasting time with frivolous concerns, by being intentional about getting more sleep, and (most crucial) by being intentional about making sure I make time for the people who are most important to me in life.

And life has been so much more peaceful and a lot less chaotic.

We can’t always escape Target Shopping Syndrome. Distractions happen, and that’s how life works sometimes. But we can be more aware of what we’re truly focusing on and place more effort on not letting distractions get in the way of what we were originally going after in the first place.

Plus, if you’re constantly looking at other things you don’t have, you might miss something wonderful right in front of you.


  1. Haha I have to laugh at this post. I think I need to change pharmacies because every time I go to pick up my perscription at Target I end up buying SO MANY THINGS that I didn’t know (definitely didn’t) I needed.

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