Shoppers in Florida and Alabama can now use Shipt to purchase their favorite items while staying at home. But not everyone wants to stay at home.
Last fall I had my third child. So when news broke in December that Target had bought Shipt, the online company staffed by angels dressed in green alien t-shirts who deliver goodies from every major grocery store, everyone from friends, and strangers, to Facebook ads bustled in to proclaim the good news: I would no longer have to go to Target!
Well, for shoppers in Alabama (where I live) and Florida, that day has come: I can now get all the diapers, groceries, household essentials, and warehouse favorites I need or want without ever having to smell the popcorn or be tempted by another $5 Starbucks drink.
On the one hand, this is great news! I can avoid the shopping carts with my newborn during flu season, skip the parking deck in the cold weather, and generally avoid making small talk with strangers as I navigate the aisles looking for this week's favorite cereal.
Plus, my budget will thank me because I'll no longer be tempted to go rogue from my shopping list. I'll actually buy what I came for. Imagine!
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But here's the thing. I don't go to Target for the convenience (even though it's only about a mile from my house and has self checkout), or for fact that I can literally purchase every single thing on my list in one place (even if my list includes tire cleaner, baby wipes, Christmas lights, glitter nail polish, and tofu).
Nor do I go for the awesome store brands (even though they're the only diaper my kiddo seems to approve of). I go to Target because, even with the $100 spending minimum that seems to be in place at my store, it's cheaper than therapy.
I go there every few weeks during my lunch break to breathe for a minute, wander the aisles, grab a few non essentials from what used to be the Dollar Spot, and leave without getting the batteries I came for.
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If I used an online delivery service, I might never know that glass water bottles were on sale for $5, or the new season's window clings that my kids love are in stock, or that there's yet another flavor of Oreos that I definitely need to try. I might (gasp) stick to my list, stay within budget, and transform my beloved Target run into just another errand, and where's the release in that?
Shipt promises that everything I love about Target will be at my fingertips, but what if my fingertips just really want to be at Target?
I wasn't always wise to the downside of home delivery. Once I tried it, I, too, forced my knowledge on new moms, telling them how they never have to leave the house or change out of their jammies again! I told them they can make their list and get their groceries delivered in the same day, and it was definitely worth the small upcharge on some of the items, plus the annual fee.
Then a wise mom filled me in: For about the same amount of money, she can get a babysitter every week for a few hours and go shopping. By herself. Alone. In her yoga pants. That she bought from—where else—Target.
This, if you didn't know, is basically heaven to a new mom.
Yes, we love our babies, but babies aren't great aisle browsers. They tend to get fussy if you stop and look at the desk organizers too long, And this new mom's desk could definitely use some gold accents.
So I'll keep going to Target. If you've ever been at Target after 10 p.m. on a weekday, you'll see college kids grabbing storage tubs and ice cream and moms sporting messy buns, stained tops, and a glassy look of bliss as they roll their empty carts up and down each aisle.
So while I'm totally down for using Shipt at the grocery store and even Costco (though I could make the argument that Costco is my children's lunchroom and indoor jungle gym in the colder months), I think it's time for us to acknowledge that Target isn't a really a store. It's a place that's somehow both aspirational and comforting.
It's my personalized in-person news-feed that shows everything I love that somehow all manages to fit while also being under $50 an item. And trying to make it just another store may help my budget, but it's also such a buzzkill that I just can't do it.
Thank you, but I don't want to browse the aisles and endcaps on my phone; I want to do it in person. Go ahead, take my money (yes, all of it), and leave me to my mom-bun aisle-wandering. I promise to return my cart when I'm done.