Thursday, July 26, 2007
Focusing on Your Target Audience
When I walk into Walmart, I can feel my blood pressure rising. Target isn’t much better; however, it is the lesser of the two evils.
I forgot my salad dressing for my lunch. I’ve been out of Advil Cold & Sinus for several days and that’s not good here in Sinus/Allergy Country. The Q-Tip jar was getting low. It had shaped up to be a one-stop shopping kind of morning. Target is very close to my office so I decided that instead of my morning break stroll around the building, I’d go kill a couple birds with one stone.
~ Tangent-y Interlude ~
Sinus pain can not be alleviated with regular headache medications. Being without any sinus medication makes me very nervous. The substance that works on my sinus pain also happens to be a favorite ingredient of meth cookers. The alternative (non-meth-making) ingredient the drug companies have developed doesn’t work as well for me. Advil Cold & Sinus, my personal sinus drug of choice, must be purchased from the pharmacist at the pharmacy counter. I have to present my identification and sign a logbook every time I purchase my sinus meds. I am not allowed to purchase more than two boxes at a time. This greatly irritates me but this is not the place for that rant.
~ End of Tangent-y Interlude ~
I timed my arrival at Target so that I’d get there after the pharmacy opened. The pharmacy is supposed to open at 9 a.m. I arrived at 9:20ish. The big, garage door gate was still down at the pharmacy area so I took my time selecting my other purchases.
I stood in front of the cotton swab display area. I looked, derisively, at the Target brand. I would not be suckered into that one again. I contemplated getting the 500-pack but for just a quarter more, I could get the 625-pack. I looked at the 700-pack. I thought about it. I didn’t want to do math in my head to figure out the price per Q-Tip in each of the different quantity boxes. I put 625 Q-Tips in my cart and went to the grocery area.
I stood in front of the oils and vinegars for quite a while. I could see the pharmacy area and it was still locked up tight. I had an internal debate about the merits of extra virgin vs. virgin olive oil. Pharmacy still closed. I admired the pretty bottles of flavored oils but since I don’t have a corkscrew at the office (although that’s a fantastic idea), I passed on them. No pharmacist. Garage door still down. I looked at the balsamic vinegars and their various ages and wondered if my palate would know the difference. I looked at the rice wine vinegars. Still closed. I looked at the red wine vinegars. I looked at the gourmet salad vinegars. Nope, not open.
I spotted a Target employee, Mr. Scruffy McStockerman. I asked him, gesturing toward the sign that showed the pharmacy hours, if the pharmacy was going to open. He looked at his watch. I looked at my watch. It was 9:25 and we agreed that the pharmacy should be open. He said he’d go find out what was going on and would be right back. I stayed in the general area because my buddy, Scruffy, was going to find out why the pharmacy wasn’t open and be right back.
I paced. I helped a little old lady in a motorized shopping cart because I couldn’t bear to see her crash into another end cap. I looked at the hair accessories. I reached for a headband. I pulled my hand back because, while I like the look of headbands, I can’t wear them. They hurt my head. The pharmacy gate stayed down.
Passing up my morning break walk for a short errand was turning into an exercise in frustration. That kind of exercise doesn’t earn any Activity Points. I decided I needed to get back to work. As I approached the front of the store, I saw my pal, Scruffy. Scruffy saw me. He was coming from the deli area where he’d purchased his morning snack. Scruffy looked embarrassed.
“Pharmacy?” I asked, with a slightly raised eyebrow.
Okay, actually, it was both eyebrows. I can’t do the one eyebrow thing no matter how hard I try. So, instead of looking all imperious and such, I just look really, really alert. I injected as much bitchiness as I could into my one word question.
“Oh, um, yeah. Well, um, the pharmacist just got here.”
Scruffy looked like he wanted to get away. I let him go.
I waited a few minutes more because, surely, the pharmacist would rush to open the gate since he was more than 30 minutes late, right? Right? Wrong.
I gave up. Dejected, I pushed my cart with the 625 Q-Tips and the extra virgin olive oil and the red wine vinegar to the cashier. When the cashier asked me if I found everything I needed, I was going to let her know (nicely, of course, because it’s not her fault) that I was unhappy about the pharmacy thing.
A young man was stocking the drink cooler by the register. He was very pleasant. Apparently, the cashier thought so, too. She stopped flirting with him long enough to give me my total. That’s it. There was no, “Hi, how are you?” “Did you find everything?” “Thank you for shopping at Target.” Nothing. Just my total. The self-checkout computers are friendlier. Sure, you have to read the screen but I know, deep down in my heart, that those computers are happy I’m a customer.
I Paid For That trip to Target but I’m not happy about it.