A Tip For New New Yorkers: Target

Being new to this city has made for lots of learning opportunities.  That's my positive way of saying that through the natural course of the day in NYC, some annoying shit has happened many times, and through the experience of it, I have learned to make subtle corrections the next time I'm in a similar situation.  Some places are awash with learning experiences.  The subway has provided more educational experiences to New Yorkers new and not-so new, than NYU could possibly imagine.  And their tuition is much more manageable.  Another place of learning??  Target.

"What?" you think yourself.  "I know Target.  Target is easy as pie.  Get out of here with yourself!"  For the most part, yes, you do know Target.  But there are a few differences between your trip to the Target in Austin, or some other relatively small city, and New York.  I am here to help you make this experience a little more pleasurable.

1.  Give yourself up to three hours if you are venturing out to Target.  Unlike in Suburbia, there are not many of them in this city.  Frankly, there could never be enough of them.  New Yorkers are all about Target.  In fact, a Target within a ten minute subway ride will get your apartment rented on that basis alone.  So count on an hour round trip, some time for shopping, and for the surprise side trip, because there's always something awesome next to Target, and you might want to take a few extra minutes to shop there, since you are in the neighborhood.

If you are me, give yourself an extra 20 minutes to get on the train going in the wrong direction, realize this, and then head back.  It's sad, but true.

Of course, you could do it in a much shorter time, by being ruthless with your minutes, but believe me, you will get so annoyed by the people in your path that are stopping to laugh and chitchat, Sunday strolling on a Tuesday, standing right in front of the 75 watt equivalent LED lightbulbs for seven minutes as if there's a weighty decision here-- It's a fucking lightbulb!!!--  In short, you will make enemies.  And don't you want to save your enemy making for those who are genuinely trying to get your goat??

2.  Visit all floors.  In most cities, you will encounter "spread".  This is what the suburbs are all about.  People can't live packed together on top of each other, jumbled up and twisted like the socks in my underwear drawer.  They need space.  And in these other cities there is a lot more available space to be had, because...people have cars, and will take an extra five minutes to drive a little further out to you.  What's the biggie?  In New York?  We have spread out as much as we can.  That's what the boroughs are all about.  There is no more horizontal space to be had.  So instead, things spread upward.  The Gap, Target, Walgreens (ahem, sorry... Duane Reade) thrift stores, comic book shops, these will all have two or three floors.  If you can't find what you need, there is probably another floor.  You will get used to this, and eventually it won't seem like a crazy New York thing anymore.  Trust me.

3.  Respect, but do not be afraid of the shopping cart escalator thingie.  "What", you say?  "What the fuck are you talking about?"  Well friends, with multiple floors, and not enough elevator space, they have developed an escalator for your shopping cart.  It travels with you side by side, in its own little lane!  Crazy, right?  It actually has a name.  It's called... are you ready??... a Vermaport.

Be like this happy family and use the Vermaport!!
Now, don't be afraid of it, it works really efficiently, and can handle a good amount of weight.  So load up your cart with plastic objects and go to town!  There are occasionally accidents, however, so I ask you please not to be a show off asshole and try to ride your cart up or down the Vermaport.  Everyone who sees you will just think you're a fucking idiot.  Except for little kids.  They will want to copy you, and you will have mothers shooting heat waves of hate into you.  

Don't be like this girl (even she's a little ashamed of herself).

4.  Check the prices!!  This is the single most important piece of advice regarding Target, and the true reason for this blog post.  When I lived in Austin, I rarely had to worry about items being put in the wrong row, or right on top of an incorrect price.  Here, however, I have purchased something where the label said $11.15, and then when I got to the check-out, the product was actually $19.95.  This kind of thing happens more than a third of the times I go to Target.  It also happens at Duane Reade, CVS, etc.  Now, while in the moment of this tiny tragedy it is easy to think "Target is trying to rip me off!  How dare they?!!  I am a loyal customer!!!  FUCK YOU TARGET!!!", I would like to suggest instead that the people stocking these shelves are just careless.  New York stores get a lot busier than stores in smaller cities, and so there's a lot more work to do, and the stockers are a lot more likely to think "good enough" as they unload the mountains of merchandise that they shelve every day.  So double check the labels.  Always.  And carefully!  Often times, the label is deceiving and there's a reason the stocker put it there by mistake.  You might even take pictures of the labels, so if you get to the check out and get overcharged, you can show them what caused you confusion.  Now, you might think this is too much trouble.  But trust me, it can save you $5-20 on an average trip.

5.  You might even (dare I say) consider other stores.  While not every neighborhood has a Target, most of them do have a "Bargain Stop", or a 99 Cent Store, and a lot of the things you get there are much cheaper than you will find them at Target, and you won't have to lug them around on the subway or call a Taxi to lug your microwave and accent chair three miles.  However, these places can oftentimes be depressing.  Sometimes, and this is entirely up to you, it is worth the time and extra expense for the wide open  and well organized aisles, the comforting scent of bubblegum-windex and popcorn, and the bright red splashed everywhere you turn.

6.  While we are on the topic of organized aisles, don't go to Target at 11PM.  That place is a shit show at 11PM.

And there you have it.  My handy quick guide to making a peaceful and pleasant trip to Target.  If you have other tips and suggestions, please feel free to add to mine, and share your shopping experiences.