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Target Should Offer Babysitting, Not Alcohol

Photograph by Twenty20

Big news rippled through the mom community recently. Cheers went up because Target, the institution most likely to get you to part with your money (and your serenity if you're with your children), is looking to start serving alcohol to its customers. The first location to start serving alcohol is in my Chicago neighborhood.

Does anyone else think this is a horrible idea?

Of all the scenes I've witnessed in Target—some involving my own children—not a single one of them will be enhanced by an in-store bar. In fact, the thought of introducing alcohol into the Target environment makes me shudder in fear.

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From my personal observations, the shoppers in Target are most likely to be mothers wrangling demanding toddlers away from the toy aisle or trying to stave off epic tantrums by the snack bar. Adding alcohol to that kind of stress is like throwing gasoline on a campfire.

It's not nice, Target.

How is alcohol going to help us make better decisions about what to leave on the shelves and what to put in our carts?

Moreover, people in Target are often desperate. They need birthday gifts for a party starting in 25 minutes. They need school supplies for all three of their children by sun-up. They've left their husband idling the car with the baby while they jet inside for tampons, swim diapers and Alleve. These people do not need alcohol. They need naps, massages, pay raises and vacations.

I'll also point out that lots of people who shop in Target don't need extra excuses to spend money. As a mother who once went to Target for tube socks and came out with a gigantic bean bag, wrapping paper and three exercise bras, I've experienced that strange phenomenon of hemorrhaging money on random stuff I do not need.

How is alcohol going to help us make better decisions about what to leave on the shelves and what to put in our carts?

Target can't possibly need more of my money in the form of my bar tab. Lots of Target shoppers are feeling the effects of our struggling economy—we don't need to spend precious pennies on libations.

And what about the poor Target cashiers who endure abuse on a daily basis as irate customers haggle over the cost of bananas or DVDs? I've seen some truly appalling customer behavior at the Target check-out lane. Will alcohol make customers nicer to the employees? Maybe, but it seems unlikely.

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If Target really knew its customers, it would nix the bar idea. What they should sell is babysitting so mothers could stroll the aisles in peace and quiet. Maybe throw in a foot massage. That's what Target customers really want.

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