A Love Letter to Target

I can actually remember my first trip to the infamous Target. I was six years old, and had recently moved back to Philadelphia with my parents and three sisters. The red balls at the entrance first captured my attention, and immediately my sister and I went to try and climb them. My mom yelled at us, because obviously. I loved pushing the cart when we went shopping, so I went to get one and entered through the magical automatic doors. It was at that moment that six-year-old Jaelyn realized she had found her true love. 

Target, the superstore chain, has absolutely everything you could need. Bathing suit? Check. Blender? Check. Thirty-inch stuffed minion? Check. 

In most of the many Targets I have been to, the women’s clothes section is the first on the right and the maze of “Under $5” items is directly in front. I have never felt more joy looking for random items I never will need, but decided I must have because they were $3. Until I got my first real job, I would have to rely on my mother to get these things — and 95 percent of the time, my requests were denied.

I would then delve into the many, many clothing options, moving from the shirts to the jeans in the back to the “ugly church clothes” (my apologies if that is your style). Once the clothes got boring, I would move to the technology section. Back in 2006, the technology on display was big ass Macs and the OG Playstation. There wasn’t even iPhones yet. Shocker, I know. From there, since my mom was an avid HGTV stan, I would talk about the furniture as if I, solely, was redecorating our three bedroom home. Totally think I could have done it, too.

My love for Target has grown since that first time. Unfortunately, it is so much more difficult to find a Target in New York compared to my suburban hometown. That doesn’t stop me though. There are exactly three Targets in a semi-close radius to campus: Herald Square, East 117th and 3rd Ave, and right across the bridge in the Bronx. My favorite, personally, is the one in the Bronx, but it’s a damn hike to get to. However, that barrier does prevent me from buying too much — I don’t want to lug three bags of stuff on the two buses. The Target in East Harlem is the most convenient one; it’s close enough that I only have to take one bus and it’s not in Midtown (where I despise). This one, in my opinion, is the least organized of the three, but still has that Target feel, plus the essentials (fake jewelry, a Starbucks food court, random home items, etc.). 

Finally, the Target in Herald Square is the prettiest, but holy hell, people there can be mean. I have only had to fight one random person in my life, and it was at that Target. It was five days before Christmas, meaning tourists and real New Yorkers alike were packed like sardines in that tiny five-block section of Midtown that has all the stores, including the big ass Macy’s. Every person there believes they can have their own form of a rude New York attitude. This rude attitude includes trying to take my cart when I turn around to grab an item. That’s a big no-no, ma’am. It was not pretty and I might have tried to shove my shopping cart into her, but that’s besides the point. Don’t mess with my Target experience, for your own sake.

The  barrier of not having Target so close has been somewhat of a disappointment and a heartbreak for me. Where am I supposed to get my clothes that look a very specific cheap way but do the job? Target is three quarters of my closet, after all. How am I going to get really fake silver and gold jewelry? How am I going to buy a caffeine-free frappuccino (to let my mom believe that I am not a coffee addict) while searching for things I’ll never use? Target will always have a special place in my heart. I cannot say why, but I love it. Maybe it's because it does bring back those memories from being six years old. Perhaps it is because I can get literally anything I need and/or want for a fairly inexpensive price. And, let’s be honest, that is a very difficult concept to find these days.