Ladies and gentlemen, paradise is finally paradise. I can continue to live here for at least a little while longer. Two, count 'em TWO, Targets opened on Oahu last week and I live pretty much smack dab between them, each one being no more than 20 minutes away. It's a sweet place to be. I love Target. I've missed Target.
When I got to Hawaii I realized quickly that there was no Target here. I panicked. I didn't know what to do, how to function. Thoughts raced: Where on earth do people buy things, if not at Target? I don't even know how other stores work! Will other stores have everything from mascara to potato chips to tank-tops to motor oil? Can I wander, aimlessly, for hours, learning about all the things I want, nay, need to own? How will I know who works at the store if they aren't wearing red tops with khaki bottoms? I need Team Members to help me find things. TEAM MEMBERS, not "employees". Why would I want to shop at a place that didn't have Team Members? What will fill the place of my Sunday ritual of reading the weekly ad?
I was confused. Lost. Sad.
And then they announced that the two Targets were slated to open in March of 2009. (At that time it was fall of 2008.) I put Target to the back of my mind because I couldn't bear to think of the next six months without it. But after the holiday sling-shot I realized that March was right around the corner. My excitement began to build.
Then they announced it: March 4th would be the soft opening; March 8th would be the grand opening. Bernadette and I decided to go on the 6th. Yes, I actually stayed away for the first 48 hours. I'm not saying it was easy, but I did it. When we pulled into the parking lot I smiled at the big, red bulls-eye on the building. We walked through the sliding doors and . . .
ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh [deep exhale]
It smelled like Target.
You know how in Las Vegas they pump oxygen into the casinos to keep people awake and gambling? I think they do that in Target. You immediately wake up once you walk through those doors and you have an insatiable urge to burn money. This also has to do with the bright fluorescent lighting. Holy brightness! Night becomes day. No shadows - just bright, airy light. And the colors of the merchandise - everything is colorful, everything is cheery! Walking into Target is like walking into Technicolor Munchkinland.
We walked up and down the aisles. It was all so familiar, so comforting. The team members wore the obligatory khaki pants, but they all wore red Hawaiian shirts with a bulls-eye/hibiscus pattern. It was lovely. I knew where things were, I knew how things were organized. I wanted to buy solely for the sake of buying. (Somewhere an economist claps his hands excitedly.) But I refrained from any large-scale shopping. (And now that economist is back to weeping.) I decided to ease my way back in to the fold - some laundry soap, a laundry drying rack, some chips for the get-together over the weekend, and a couple other things.
I made it out spending less than $50. And that is always my goal. Like any time when I bowl more than 100, I consider any trip to Target that amounts to less than $50 a unqualified success.
I took my happy red and white bags and as I approached the doors, for a split moment, I felt like I wasn't in Hawaii. That I was home. I could almost see the Lake Street Target's parking lot just outside the doors, maybe even with a few inches of March slush covering it. I smiled to myself. And then the doors slid open and I realized that no, I'm not home after all. I'm still in Hawaii. So I pulled on my sunglasses and made my way to car.
It's not home, but now at least it feels a little more like it.