Archive for the ‘Target: the light and the way’ Category
Why hello there. Did you forget I exist? I nearly did, too. While many bloggers apologize profusely for taking the kind of breaks I take, I actually like to think of my hiatuses (hiati?) as all part of my master plan. You see, while nearly everyone on the face of the planet has already given up on their New Year’s resolutions I’m just getting around to setting mine in stone. See what I did there? Let’s continue.
Last year David and I resolved to Eat More Food. We did a great job making that resolution a reality. I really stepped it up in the kitchen and I rarely buy any kind of processed food anymore. I cook dinner every night, and I make every dessert we eat (except ice cream. Still haven’t tried ice cream…)
There are a few down-sides to the success of last year’s resolution I feel I should recognize. First, David and I have a really hard time going out to eat. We think almost everything is too salty, and 90% of the time we wished we would have stayed home and cooked. We also have an abundance of baked goods in the house at all times. Since we don’t buy cookies or other desserts from the store I make something homemade multiple times a week. It sounds justified in my head– it just doesn’t fare well on the waste line or when you hear yourself say out loud: “Honey, do you want leftover cookies tonight or should I bake us a cake?” Finally, I get stressed out when I don’t have the energy/time/ingredients to make a homemade meal each night. I know cooking is cheaper and healthier for my family so of course that’s what I want to do. But on nights when I’m just drained I have a hard time throwing in the towel and going out to eat.
Now that we’ve properly reflected on 2011 it’s time to move on to 2012. This year’s resolution is to buy less stuff. What is “stuff,” you ask? Stuff is anything and everything that fits in that little magic Target bag. Or the grocery bag. Or the Banana Republic bag. Basically anything that comes in a bag. It’s stuff we want and even stuff we think we need. It’s the stuff you wonder “what the heck did I even buy?” when you’re standing at the checkout, trying to figure out how to pay for the $40 total, when you just came in for cupcake liners and only have $3 cash.
One instance in particular really solidified my desire to buy less stuff this winter. David and I had spent the afternoon running errands and shopping. We went to Target while out and about, and subconsciously knowing we had extra money in the bank we bought lots of stuff we NEEDED around the house. We got busy later that weekend (not THAT way, sickos. Well, probably that way, but I digress…), and the Target bags sat on the kitchen table for days. By the end of the week I decided to finally unpack the bags, more out of my frustration with the clutter than because I needed anything from the bags. As I glanced at the bags and wondered “what’s in these, again?” I realized I was in a ridiculous, elitist, only-in-America situation. Where else in the world do people buy stuff just to buy stuff? (For the record those mystery bags contained gift wrap, razors, a few Christmas presents we ended up returning, and a few other miscellaneous items I can’t even remember).
So what exactly does this resolution mean? At it’s core it’s about a lot of things. It’s about simplicity, it’s about money and it’s about consumerism.
Here are the guidelines:
1. No impulse buys of any kind. This means no unplanned Target runs and no carry-out for lunch. No internet purchases and no Groupons (gasp!).
2. Make and stick to a list. If I’m going grocery shopping I will have a list and I will stick to that list. This guideline is going to take some practice. I get so caught up in “deals” at the grocery store that I just throw things into my cart because they’re on sale: not because I need them for a recipe.
3. Contemplate every purchase over $20. If there’s a single item we want/need that’s over $20 I’m going to think about it for a week before actually buying it. This guideline is like a sneaky one-two punch, because while there’s a good chance I’ll talk myself out of the purchase during the week of contemplation there’s an even better chance I’ll just forget about it.
4. Consider buying second-hand, and don’t throw away ANYTHING without thinking about how to repurpose it. I love the concept of garage sales and Craigslist, yet I feel like I’m not very good at them. I think it’s because in the past I would just browse– this year I need to go with specific items in mind. I think having Pinterest in my life is going to make my DIY/homemade intentions a lot more successful this year.
5. Focus more on experiences than things. David and I have no problem with this guideline: we would both rather go on vacation than just about anything else, including going out to eat, drinking, going shopping, or buying the latest gadget. I think making the connection between shopping less and experiencing more will help keep us motivated throughout the year.
I’m hoping this year’s resolution with help us achieve a lot of things. I hope it helps us save money. I feel like we do a great job 90% of the time sticking to our budget. But then there’s those unplanned, listless trips that set us back a pretty penny. I hope it makes us greener and establishes habits for the rest of our life. I also hope this year’s resolution will make us more mindful of our consumerism. I hate knowing that I contribute to slave labor, or that I am reveling in excess while people struggle around the world without food and shelter.
So do you have a problem with “stuff?” If so, what do you do to simplify your life and reduce the clutter?
I’ve always been a porch person. Growing up, I loved sitting on my parents’ screened in porch, listening to the sounds of frogs and crickets. The popason chair served as the perfect retreat. It has only been my firm belief that sweet tea tastes best sipped on a porch.
Imagine my delight when David and I found an apartment with a large porch. I don’t know the exact measurements, but the porch is big enough that its walled-in counterpart is classified as a bedroom in other units.
We moved into our apartment in May 2010, bought two plastic adarondeks that barely fit in David’s car and called it a day. We spent far more time on the local trails, at Szalays and down by the pool that summer because the porch just wasn’t comfortable.
This year David and I decided to spring for “real” porch furniture. We wanted to actually enjoy our porch this year. Plus little Luna Hamsaps is becoming quite the porch dweller. She loves to stick her head through the wooded slates and to check out what’s going on below us. She’s queen of the world!
When we started to search for furntiure we discovered pretty quickly that our options were junky plastic pieces that were likely to break in a year or the expensive stuff. Writing it off as an investment, we sprung for the expensive stuff. David and I picked out a neutral, sturdy design from Target. We thoroughly tested it out in the store and called dibs on who got the chase lounger versus the love seat. We waited for it to go on sale, ordered online with our AAA discount AND got free shipping. We saved $200+ dollars and the boxes were delivered directly to our door.
Our porch overlooks the apartment complex’s pond with a really cool water fountain. Inspired by the view we chose a blue, green and brown theme for the porch.
David already assembled all the furniture, and we’ve purcahsed all the cute little accessories to make the porch feel homey (solar-powered green stain glass lantens, anyone?) With temps in the 60s and 70s this weekend, we’re finally going to make a move and set everything up.
Stay tuned for Part 2 to see just how fabulous our porch turns out!
This is a blog I never thought I’d write, and these are words I never thought I’d utter. But I have no choice. I feel like I gave them fair warning. I told the store supervisor that I was very dissatisfied, and I tweeted about my experience last night. I’ve let off the warning shots. Here comes the blog post.
On Monday, March 22 I had the absolute worst customer service experience of my life at the Chapel Hill Target.
It actually hurts my heart to type those words, but I am beyond disgusted with the situation and how it was handled. This wouldn’t be such a big deal to me if I wasn’t hopelessly devoted to Target.
Growing up, my siblings and I begged my parents to take us to Target on the weekends. It was our happy place. As an adult I almost exclusively shop at Target. I actually have a category tag called “Target: the light and the way.” At my bridal shower we played a game and one of the questions was “What is Abby’s favorite store?” The almost unanimous answer was Target (somehow I got the question wrong, though… what? There was a lot of pressure!)
Every Sunday morning I wake up, take Luna out, brew a cup of coffee from the Keurig I purchased at Target and peruse the Target ad on my iPad. I recently purchased a huge amount of patio furniture and outdoor accessories from Target. According to my Mint.com budgeter after rent and utilities, Target is my second biggest expense this month, totaling over $1,000. (Rest assured– I don’t drop a K at Target every month. And even if I did, it’s my money kthankxbai.)
I think it’s safe to say that I love Target. Or perhaps “loved” is the proper verb tense. Yes, my experience really was that bad.
I arrived at Target last night around 6:30 p.m. The only items on my list were gifts for the girls I was meeting that night through the wish granting organization I volunteer for. I was working with a budget of $20.
I started in the dollar section, picking out a few cute girlie accessories and some candy. Then I headed back to electronics. I knew the kids liked Justin Bieber and Disney channel stars. I found a J.B. fan book complete with silly bands. I also found an entire rack of Disney CDs on sale. I chose Radio Disney Jams 12, because duh, it featured Justin AND Miley AND Demi AND Nick Jonas and the Administration (hehe). Satisfied with my choices I headed to the check out.
I walked right up to the register and unloaded my cart. The sales associate didn’t so much greet me as grunt at me. He rang up my purchases, and told me my total. I presented him with my tax exempt form (I was purchasing everything on behalf of a non-profit organization) and then he told me my new total. The total was more than expected, so I asked if I could see how much everything rang up for. He showed me the screen, and I realized the CD that was on sale for $9.99 actually rang up for $13.99. I told the team member the CD price was wrong.
The team member rescanned the CD, and it came up for $13.99. He said that was the price. I told him I was pretty sure the CD was on sale for $9.99, and asked him to have someone check. The team member turned on his blinking light, the lady in line behind me scowled and moved to another register and a supervisor came over. The team member told her I was arguing about the price of the CD.
Yes, he said the word arguing.
No, I explained to the supervisor, I was asking that someone check the price because I THOUGHT it was on sale. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe the CD was in the wrong slot, or maybe I was looking at the wrong sign. If I was wrong, that was okay. All I wanted was for someone to check the price for me. The supervisor gave me an annoyed look then walked out of ear shot with her walkie talkie.
At this point I was pissed. I felt like I was being blown off and disrespected. In previous experiences at Target and other large retailers the sales associate would just adjust the price. What doubled the ridiculousness of the situation was that they had already seen my tax exempt form– they knew I was buying everything on behalf of a non-profit. I was clearly not trying to rip them off for $4.
The supervisor came back and said the sales associate in electronics can’t find the CD. To clarify, I asked if that meant the price of the CD was $13.99. She told me no, the team member just couldn’t find it. Okay, well I obviously didn’t produce the item out of thin air or bring it into the store to purchase. The team member and supervisor both just stared at me. I told them that I was on a budget and needed to go back and find a CD that was $9.99, and asked them to suspend my purchase.
I marched back to the electronics section in a huff. I was now running late for meeting my volunteer partner and I didn’t know what new type of CD to look for. I headed for the sale rack of CDs again, determined to find something my wish kid would like.
I can not describe the rage that surged through my body when I saw this:
I snapped a picture on my iPhone, spun around and started searching for nearest team member. I found a young man organizing video games a few rows over. I asked if he had been called to do a price check. He said yea, but he couldn’t find what they were looking for. I explained to him that I had to come to the back of the store and do my own price check, that I found the item and that I was right. I showed him the picture and asked if he would like to come see where I found it. He said no, just show them the picture up front. I asked if he needed to radio in that the CD was in fact $9.99. No, he assured me, I just had to show them the picture up front.
I headed back to the checkout. At this point I was running late for my volunteer meeting AND I was sweating. Are you annoyed just reading this yet?
I made my way back to the register. The team member looked at the CD and informed me I picked out the same one. I tried not to implode as I calmly explain that while looking for another CD I realized the one I wanted was in fact on sale. And I had the picture to prove it. It’s important to note at this time that the supervisor was no where in sight.
I showed the team member my iPhone. He actually took the phone out of my hands and squinted at the screen. And then he questioned me.
“I don’t see a date on this picture,” he said. “When was this taken?”
F off you incompetent asshole and give me my CD! I honestly almost had a rage blackout. I studied Peace Communication in college for crying out loud, and I was ready to inflict some pain.
“It was taken two minutes ago when I was in the back of your store doing my own price check because your supervisor doesn’t know how to lead and your team member couldn’t ‘find’ the item I was looking for. Do you see the sweat on my forehead right now? It’s from racing around this store because I am now running late…”
Then the moment that really stole the show occurred. From at least 6 check out aisles away came a loud, booming voice. “Just give her the price she wants, Carl!”
That would be the store supervisor. Instead of coming over for an update on the situation or attempting to satisfy the customer, the supervisor of the store SCREAMED across Target and belittled me in public. The price I want? Really?
I know this may seem like a minor customer service glitch to some people, but I truly (used to) hold Target to a higher standard. I’ve only ever received wonderful service, and that’s what I’ve come to expect. Aside from all the little things that made the experience craptastic, the one that really stands out is how I was treated by the supervisor. I honestly feel like I would have gotten better service at Wal-Mart or Big Lots.
So that’s it. I left the store in a horrible mood, although I finally got “the price I wanted.” I tweeted @Target as soon as I walked out of the store, but have yet to hear from them (you’d think after the PS3 incident they’d catch on to the social media monitoring thing?).
I don’t know when I’ll be back. I can’t even fathom walking into that store anytime soon. Needless to say my once beloved Target, WE’RE ON A BREAK.
I pride myself in being a good gift-giver. When I was younger I would save all my birthday money in September in preparation for the holiday season. I love figuring out just the right gift for someone. I try to really listen to what people say throughout the year. Is there something they saw at the store and couldn’t justify buying? Was there a movie or television show they missed and wanted to see? Is there a new restaurant they’ve been wanting to try? Gift giving is easy when you pay attention to what people say.
David and I have been giving joint gifts for the last few years (as in, “From: David and Abby” not “have a holly, jolly, trippy holiday”). I remember my siblings were annoyed with this at first, worried they wouldn’t get *as many* presents as before. What they didn’t realize is that joint gifts would allow them to get BETTER presents than ever. This year’s gifts are spectacular. Instead of a bunch of CDs and cheap-o stuff Sandy is getting a new…. and Molly is getting a beautiful…. Whoops! Almost let it slip Let’s just say the presents are perfect.
David and I have been completely done with our Christmas shopping for weeks. As other people run to and from Target and Kohl’s tonight we will be wrapping presents, watching Christmas movies and eating our Christmas Eve Eve dinner (King Crab- yum!) Exactly how do we do it? No, the gifts did not just arrive at our stoop all wrapped in sparkle paper and ribbon from the North Pole. We put a lot of thought, budgeting and planning into Christmas.
I want to share our Christmas planning process in hopes that it will inspire and help others as the holidays whiz by us this year.
August: Christmas planning. That’s right, we start planning for Christmas in August. We make a list of every single person we want to buy for, then cut back from there. We also start to look at our budget. How much do we want to spend vs. how much we can spend is a big one. By starting in August we are able to really think about each person on our list and figure out what we think they would love. By starting in August we also are able to space out our purchases, preventing the dreaded Christmas debt.
September: Time to get down to business. David and I get serious about our list and start shopping. We scour the weekly department store ads and I pay attention to online deals. I ordered at least half my Christmas presents online this year, and between coupon codes and free shipping offers I never paid full price once. In September we start to plan for all the Christmas “extras” that oftren creep up on us. Wrapping paper. Bigger grocery bills. Baking supplies. Christmas cards. Shipping and postage costs. New decorations. Stocking stuffers. We work all these details into our overall budget so there are no surprises when it comes time to shop.
October: Finalize the list. Keep looking for deals. Start looking for and purchasing “extras” (new decorations, stamps, Christmas alcohol, etc.)
November: Make our first big round of purchases. Start ordering gifts online with coupon codes and discounts. Go shopping on Black Friday.
December: Finish shopping within the first week of the month. When we’re done, we’re DONE. Although it’s tempting to pick up another stocking stuffer or buy my nephew another toy, I have to remember that Christmas isn’t about how many presents you give. We planned well, so there’s no need to even go to the stores in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Plus Carter doesn’t even realize what different things are or what they cost. We need to save the REAL spoiling for when he’s older
That’s it. That’s all we do. It feels absolutely wonderful to be able to ENJOY the fact that it’s Christmas Eve Eve instead of stressing about it. Remember, Christmas happens every year, around the same time, so there are very few excuses for putting off shopping and hitting up the mall on Christmas Eve. Just plan ahead.
If you do find yourself out shopping, stressed or crazed tonight/tomorrow remember what the holidays are supposed to be about. Family. Laughter. Eating your weight in cookies. I read a beautiful quote on one of my fave blogs last night that I will now (like with all quotes) paraphrase and probably botch. “If you find yourself stressed or sleepless this holiday season, be still for a moment and reflect on your feelings. Feelings of anxiety and dread signify that you’ve lost the spirit: you’ve let too much of the world in. The holidays are a time to rejoice. Everything else is just gravy.”
Dang, I almost had it until the last line. On that note, I can’t wait for Christmas Dinner!
So here it goes. Welcome to Hamsaps House. I’m Abby, a 22-year-old soon to be newlywed and new mom to fur baby Luna. Yes, she is my baby; I’m turning into a crazy dog lady before my own eyes. I’m engaged to a pretty awesome dude, David. I work in communications, and David is a processor for a food manufacturer**. He works night shift, so our schedule and lifestyle is a little different than most. At least our reversed routine will provide ample (albeit whiney) material for me to blog about.
We’re getting hitched in May 2011. We’ve been sinful cohabiters for a few years (more on that in future posts) and can’t wait to make it legit. The only bonus/snag (depending your ideological worldview) is that I minored in Gender Studies and refuse to change my last name. This is not a deal breaker for David, because I’ve always been upfront about my love for my given name (don’t even try to call it a “maiden” name… I wasn’t milking cows prior to meeting my significant other).
Life was fine and dandy until we adopted Luna. It was then that we realized SHE needed a last name (see crazy dog lady note, above). She was part of our family, and would be a reflection of both of us. We didn’t want to curse her with a hyphened name– the other pups would make fun of her at doggy day camp, and one of our names would inevitably get dropped. We decided the only option was to combine our last names and give her a title that was unique to our family: thus, Hamsaps was born.
David and I have taken to referring to each other as Mr. and Mrs. Hamsaps, and I always sign “Hamsaps” on the electronic signature pads at Target. I love going by Mrs. Hamsaps. Seriously. To me it’s the perfect balance of tackiness and cleverness, dipped in chocolate and covered in sprinkles. I would even seriously consider changing my name to Hamsaps, if David would, too. David loves him some Hamsaps, but legal action might be a little extreme.
Hopefully this post allows you to see a little more clearly into Hamsaps House. This blog is going to be a reflection of my life, right now. Between wedding planning, starting a career, raising a puppy and working on our little family I think I will have enough material for at least a few months.
**DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the blogger, and in no way represent the views of either Abby or David’s employers, their affiliates or their corporate policy.
Basically, don’t sue us. We can’t afford legal fees on top of our biweekly Target trips.