Dear Target,

I stopped in for a visit today, naively thinking that we could spend some quality time together. The kids and I were in the spirit of the season, and had some shopping to do for our Angel Tree adoptee. I had seriously considered shopping online, but I thought meeting you in person would provide a good lesson in generosity for my children.

I started off in the kid’s clothing section, which soon turned into a desperate attempt to find anything, anything at all in size 2T. I searched for what felt like hours, and when I finally found an outfit, it must have been the most expensive one. Nearly $30 for a toddler shirt and leggings? I thought you were joking. And I guess you were, because I then spotted your BOGO clothing sale signs, which lessened my sticker shock, but irritated me as I wondered how long I would have to spend looking for another outfit. As the toddler screamed and his sister removed every piece of clothing from the rack, I frantically searched. And when I finally found another outfit, I was disappointed as it was less than attractive.

Surprisingly, I easily moved through the shoe section and toy aisle, before making my way to The One Spot. You know, that one special spot where I just can’t say no. By this time the toddler was crying uncontrollably and tossing things out of the cart. His sister was moving uncontrollably, her mouth moving as much as her body. A prisoner to chaos, I could no longer concentrate, and mindlessly began throwing those delightful dollar items into the cart. Coloring books, gift bags, stickers, notebooks, and more. At one dollar each, you do know how to excite me.

My children’s unruly behavior continued in the Christmas section, except now, the toddler was using your shiny rolls of wrapping paper to hit his sister in the face, not forgetting to whack a few of your other guests while he was at it.

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But it wasn’t the behavior of my children, or my disappointment with your clothing selection that turned me off. If was the checkout experience.

It was the long line (in one of only four open lanes, by the way) in which I was given dirty looks by put-together-looking women who casually sipped on their hot coffee. I know my kids aren’t too much for you, Target, but apparently they are too much for some of your other guests.

It was your poor internet connection which made it impossible to use the Cartwheel offers that you had promised me.

It was the items that had rung up incorrectly, leading to a longer wait as a price check was being done.

It was the realization that I had spent $36 on 36 dollar items that would soon be scattered haphazardly around the house, my One Spot excitement, now turning to anxiety.

It was your refusal to accept my gift card as payment, the gift card that had shown up fully paid for in my email this morning. You told me that I had to wait until tomorrow to use it because of some supposed gift card sale that was happening. I didn’t understand, and your inability to fully explain your refusal of my payment method made me feel like you were keeping secrets.

So, those clothes that I had desperately searched for? The ones that had to be price checked? Well, they were voided because I wasn’t going to dish out more cash when I had a perfectly good gift card to use, online that is. After sensing my irritation, you attempted to appease me by handing me a promotional gift card for apparently buying just the right amount of your favorite items. But that one had gone missing by the time I made it home, so your attempt to please me had been done in vain.

I had envisioned parting ways, fully satisfied, with all my needs being met. Instead, I left feeling depleted, confused, and irritated. You’ve changed, Target. I feel deceived and taken advantage of. Instead of teaching my children about generosity, you taught me that we can’t see each other in person anymore. You seem better able to meet my needs behind the veil of the internet.

So, I’ll see you online, Target. Where the inventory is always stocked and priced correctly, where there are no lines filled with snooty women, where you cannot tempt me with your One Spot pleasures, and where I can use my gift card without without being fed a line of nonsense. I’ll see you there, tomorrow.

Jenny Albers

Jenny Albers is a wife, mother, and writer.  She is the author of Courageously Expecting, a book that empathizes with and empowers women who are pregnant after loss. You can find Jenny on her blog, where she writes about pregnancy loss, motherhood, and faith. She never pretends to know it all, but rather seeks to encourage others with real (and not always pretty) stories of the hard, heart, and humorous parts of life. She's a work in progress, and while never all-knowing, she's (by the grace of God) always growing. When she's not typing words, she can be found wrangling a fiery little boy and nurturing a quickly growing girl. She's a tea-addicted, jewelry-loving, cat-obsessed, Jesus-following, introverted midwestern girl who is thrilled to connect with you from the other side of the screen. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.