Off Target

I saw a really weird thing when I went to Target the other day.

A short line.

Ha ha, just kidding.

Of course I’m kidding. Nobody’s ever seen a short line at Target. That would imply a fast Target worker, and the workplace Olympics regularly have Target workers vying for last place against the DMV workers in the 10- item dash.

Not that I blame them. It’s not like working harder and getting this particular batch of customers out the door quicker is going to have any bearing on the next fifty people in line or get them to the end of the day any faster. They don’t get bonuses for checking out more than one customer per interval. That being said, just because they’re paid by the hour doesn’t mean that should be their target transaction time. I mean, the cashier at the grocery store is also paid by the hour, and yet he manages to scan and bag the ice cream before it’s milk.

Instead of being clock-based, the strangity I witnessed at the Target was of the visual nature. A redesign, if you will. And not one of those “reverse the layout of the store” that Target likes to fuck over their regulars with every nine months or so. “Oh, you finally figured out that we put the Brita bottles in the sporting goods section, but their filter replacements in kitchen? Well guess what, now they’re both in office supplier. Let’s see how many products happen to fall into your basket before you find that one specific item you came in for.”

No, I’m pretty used to those types of redesigns, too. They drive Wife crazy because she usually knows which items are on which aisles better than the actual employees. I shop there rarely enough that I assume it’ll be a half-hour of aimless wandering any time I enter.

No, the thing that freaked me out on this Target visit was brown.

I don’t mean I saw something that was brown. Don’t worry, nobody had lain a deuce upon the shoe aisle. There weren’t selling rusted bicycles or crusty toilet-bowl cleaner.

The brown was painted on the walls. And the front of the store. It was all around me. And brown, I shall remind you, is most assuredly NOT red.

That’s right. I saw a color other than red at a Target.

Strange things are afoot at the circle-around-the-dot.

And this wasn’t just a display or at the Starbucks that is now contractually obligated to be inside every Target. Starbucks are now as ubiquitous at Target as syphilis at a hookers’ convention. And probably more expensive.

Wait, hookers have conventions, right? I assume they have breakout sessions on tracking customer orders through the DickYou App and chafing and, naturally,  cosplay.

So yeah, the Target had been repainted brown. Where once (and always) there was the garish, ruby red of fresh blood now stood a deep mahogany of an unhealthy motoroil shit.

Am I the only one who gets motoroil-looking shit? Maybe that’s a post for another time.

Better yet, maybe not.

At first I thought the new paintjob was at the behest of the strip mall that contained it. The one across the street had just redone everything from a tan to a white, so maybe this stripmall was forcing all of its tenants into with a darker shade to follow suit. I know sometimes these are written into the contracts of tenants. They usually only pertain to the various dry cleaners and sandwich shops. The tenants who center the entire shopping center and have universally-acknowledged color schemes usually get a pass. Because who’s ever heard of a brown Target?

But then last weekend we were on the other side of town, visiting non-Target store – you know, the type of store that doesn’t average one location for every 10,000 residents, such that one has to travel more than a half-mile to get to it. Of course, there was a Target next door. With a Starbucks in it. Not to be confused with the Starbucks with the drive-thru in the same parking lot.

And THIS Target was a deep brown, too. What the hell?Isn’t a non-red Target referenced in the Book of Revelations? Did the zombie apocalypse start without me?

Never mind. We all know the zombie apocalypse will start in Wal-Mart. In fact, it might’ve started there years ago, but nobody’s noticed because they resemble everyone else in the Wal-Mart. Plus, Targets are safe from the zombie apocalypse because the cashiers move so slow that the zombies can’t key see them.

When I remarked on a second brown Target in town, Wife mentioned that the one near her work has similarly moved down the color spectrum.

It’s official. Target’s moving from blood to mud.

So come here, Target. I’ve got something to say to you. A little bit closer…. Like we’re pals…. SMACK!

Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you?

You’ve spent decades creating a recognizable brand and now you’re shirking it. Did y’all just get bored? Disney ain’t losing the mouse ears anytime soon, even if they’re totally freaking out that “Steamboat Willie” will enter the public domain in another three years. Starbucks actually took the word Starbucks off of their logo, but kept the mermaid. I think my daughter asked about “coffee mermaid” long before she could recognize Mickey. That’s the power of a logo.

And I know what you’re going to say,  Target. That your logo is still intact. Whether red or brown, that single circle surrounding a solid circle is your equivalent of Mickey Mouse. After all, your eternal buddy Starbucks took the word “Starbucks” off of their logo, and are just now using what my daughter was calling the “Coffee mermaid” long before she could enunciate Mickey Mouse. That’s the power of a logo.

Unfortunately, Target, I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit. I’ve known the coffee mermaid. The coffee mermaid was a good friend of mine. And you, dot with a circle around it, are no coffee mermaid. Your “Target” might as will be a curling house. My daughter requests Mickey Mouse pancakes. She’s never asked for a Target pancake. If I made pancakes of a Target logo, her best guess would probably be a Saturn pancake. And she doesn’t even know what Saturn is yet.  She’d probably call it a fucked up pancake. And she DEFINITELY doesn’t know that word yet.

(No, don’t check my Alexa song history and see how many times I’ve listened to “Little Lion Man” with my daughter in the room.)

Target, you more or less owned a color and you don’t want it anymore. One day I wore a red shirt with khaki pants to work. I usually stick with tried and true color combos. Tans go with browns, greys go with blacks. One day, I put on tan pants and, to be daring, I grabbed a red shirt. For some reason, I felt safe with this combo, like I knew it wouldn’t be questioned. A student said I looked like a Target employee, at which point I realized how I knew the combo would work. I’ve seen it a million times.

Then my student wondered, if I looked like a Target employee, why I was moving around the classroom and working.

You know what, Target? I stand corrected. Change all the color schemes you want. You’ll always have a motif that’s all yours.

Brown Target: winner of the Retail Olympics’ Lint Medal. And that ain’t going away with a paint job.

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