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Abby Heugel Headshot

How to Survive Shopping at Target

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When I was little and the first Target store was built in my area, no one had heard of the company. Construction was going on and given the placement of the actual target in the logo -- a target I'm now convinced is actually a hypnotic symbol that draws you in -- I thought the name was "O Target."

Listening to people talk today, Target seems to be the suburban equivalent of Las Vegas. There are no clocks on the wall, no windows to let you gaze outside and I wouldn't be surprised if they pump oxygen throughout the store to keep you alert.

I've heard it suggested they might as well implement at $25 cover charge, as it seems to be impossible to walk out of the store without spending at least that amount.

I'm not a big shopper, but I swear to avocados that once I start roaming the aisles I find bright colored melamine plates that would look great stuck in my cupboard for months -- only $2! -- and at the very least, a 3-pack of gel fresheners in a variety of seasonal scents -- only $2.79!

But being the frugal female that I am, I have also devised a few tips and tricks to outsmart the hypnotic trance and underhand Target tactics. Behold my:

Retail Rules for Target

The first is obvious in that you should never venture to the superstore wearing khakis and a red polo -- the Target uniform -- unless you're prepared to answer questions from shoppers about where to find moisturizer or Archer Farms cereal.

If you're at Target a lot, this might not be a problem because you'll know the store layout by heart. But if you're not looking for an interruption during your retail rendezvous, ditch the khakis and polo.

With your outfit selected, be sure to drink at least 24 ounces of a beverage of your choice -- not Starbucks from the Target location, as that will simply caffeinate your craziness -- and "forget" to use the bathroom before leaving.

If you're anything like me and don't enjoy hovering over public toilet seats, the pressing needs of your bladder might just serve as a gentle reminder to get in and out of the store ASAP.

The day you choose to shop there can have a significant impact on both TSIS (time spent in store) and MDD (monetary damage done).

If you're confident in your ability to shave time off your TSIS with no issues, go whenever you would like. But if you're feeling weak and fear the possible MDD, choose a time in which the store is most likely to be full of screaming children who feel they need ALL THE THINGS when in fact they just need a nap.

This constant soundtrack of shrieks can serve as the soundtrack and not-so-subliminal reminder that although the appeal of a discounted chevron towel in the SAME EXACT COLORS as your kitchen -- only $4! -- your greater desire is to escape from the ear-splitting screams.

Finally, when you do enter the store, do not grab a cart -- or as I prefer to call them, "enablers." Unless the one item you need is too large to lug through the store, carts are simply vehicles for maximum MDD. Better to carry what you "need" by hand so that you have a palpable feel as to your prospective purchases.

If everything goes according to plan, your tired arms, full bladder and desire to escape the screams of Satan spawn should aid in your valiant effort to maximize the foolproof formula:

Less TSIS = Less MDD

Good luck staying on target.

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