“Dinner and Target sounds good to me :)” The little blue text bubble pops up on my phone and my Friday night plan is set.
I hop in the car with two friends and we head to our favorite pizza restaurant. After eating Margherita pizzas in a dimly lit restaurant, the three of us drive to our local Target. The graphic red logo lights up the entryway as we run through the automatic doors with excitement. We browse the dollar section, admiring the glittery seasonal decorations.
Next, we move on to the clothing section, laughing as we put on sunglasses and try on fedoras. The styles are always trendy and size-accommodating. As we move through electronics, snacks, makeup, and home decor, we finally arrive at the much anticipated featured section.
Decorated with purple and orange spider-web designs, the back corner has been transformed into a Halloween town. As we walk through aisles of costumes, decorations, and treats, we feel excitement for the spooky season. There’s something about the perfectly organized aisles that is enthralling. We continue through the store, taking our time and browsing products from ceramic mugs to yoga mats.
Even with no grocery list or needed products in mind, spending a couple hours at Target is easy. I’ve always loved going there. In middle school, my mom would drop me off at Target for an hour while she ran errands around town. A couple times a week, I’d get the chance to roam the aisles and check out new clothes, books, or holiday features.
As a kid, I remember spending afternoons at Target. I’d get to eat pizza or mac and cheese at the Target Cafe for lunch, pick out a toy from the dollar section, and sit in the cart eating popcorn as my parents bought groceries.
For me, Target has consistently been a place to get away from the demands of reality. But it’s not just me who enjoys Target’s comforting atmosphere; many adolescents like hanging out there.
Victoria Sisomsouk shops at a variety of mass market stores, but says Target is her favorite because “Their stuff is a lot cuter; they have higher quality products and it’s never really busy… at Meijer there’s too many people grocery shopping.” Sity Kim, who hangs out at Target with friends when he’s bored, agrees: “The vibe at Target is more inviting and homey than other stores, which makes the experience much better.” Similarly, Lieza Klemm goes to Target to just “walk around” and look at random products. Klemm reflects on why she doesn’t browse other stores as often as Target, concluding that “In the world of lower-priced goods, Target is higher end.”
Typically, adolescents hangout at the mall where there are trendy stores and a variety of restaurants, so it’s strange that people are flocking to a mass market retail store instead. These stores are usually places to get groceries or quickly run errands, not somewhere to hang out and spend a Friday night. But why are teens gravitating so much toward Target? Walmart, Meijer and TJ Maxx carry similar products and have the same target audience: middle or working class Americans who can’t afford specialty, high-end products.
Although Target’s prices aren’t as cheap as other stores, their products are usually of higher quality. Clothing is typically $20, trendy, and made with long lasting materials as opposed to Walmart’s $10 shirts that are not as stylish and not made to last. Shoppers can rely on Target for having a variety of better quality products.
From an aesthetic viewpoint, Target appears to be more organized, clean, and inviting than other mass market retail stores. The aisles are spacious and neat, unlike TJ Maxx’s crowded, unorganized aisles and Walmart’s overwhelming price advertisements and messy shelves.
Unorderly environments influence consumers’ subconscious by raising their stress levels. Target’s well-kept aisles make for happier and more relaxed shoppers. Adding to that, color psychology shows that Target’s signature red color gives off energizing, warm, and comforting vibes which create an inviting and bright atmosphere. People enjoy spending time in Target because the environment makes them feel good.
Young Youtubers with up to 3.8 million subscribers have posted vlogs hanging out in Target, buying clothes, and shopping for the holidays. This portrayal of Target as a fun, stylish, inviting place has a big influence on youth. When teens see their favorite Youtubers shopping and hanging out at Target, they feel compelled to go to Target, have as great a time as they saw in the video, and buy the endorsed products.
Target was built on the idea that it is more than just a store, it’s a destination. In 1962, Target stores marketed themselves as “A store you can be proud to shop in, a store you can have confidence in, a store that is fun to shop and exciting to visit.” Target has lived up to this statement, creating the basis for why Americans love hanging out and browsing around this store. Next time you’re having dinner with friends, consider heading to Target to end the night.