Miss Pop Rocks: Target v. Wal-Mart, the Battle Royal!

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As the holiday season approaches, it’s got Miss Pop Rocks thinking about her favorite store in the whole world, Target, as well as her shopping nemesis, Wal-Mart.

While I’ve created a conspiracy theory that some government-paid psychologist designed the Target bulls-eye logo to compel us to shop more (and thereby stimulate the economy), I couldn't care less. I will continue to shop there.

Because for Miss Pop Rocks, shopping at Target is more than just promoting capitalism. It’s really, really calming for me. The aisles are nice and wide, the employees in their soothing khaki pants keep everything neat and tidy. The world is as it should be.

Plus, their stuff is so damn adorable. Hip designer Isaac Mizrahi designed a line for Target. The Choxie chocolates are worth buying for the packaging alone. So many pretty plastic umbrellas and colorful scrapbooks and faux mid-century modern clocks and SO MANY SCENTED CANDLES.

The marketing is also brilliant. Remember those blue and white retro kitsch Club Wedd ads a while back? I ask you, is there a woman or fashionable gay man in this great land of ours who saw that ad and did NOT envision a 1960s-esque wedding constructed completely of blue and white Target products?

The same joy I cannot offer for Wal-Mart. I admit that many a time I have been in a rush and darted into the blue behemoth, but it’s always made me feel filthy. Absolutely filthy. The blue and yellow aprons they make their employees wear, the fact that everything is falling off the shelves and no one knows where anything is, the 20 kids in the aisle next to you screaming their heads off.

Sure, it’s cheap as hell and even cheaper than Target, but it’s not worth it, in my opinion. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if these stores were narcotics, Target would be the equivalent of a very expensive cocaine only Hollywood starlets could get their hands on, while Wal-Mart would be the cheap crack that leaves you debased, degraded, and turning tricks in a bus station bathroom.

Sometimes, when Miss Pop Rocks really stops and thinks seriously about it, she realizes that both chains (and every big box retailer in America) have basically killed off Main Street, USA. And that is sad. But I kind of believe everything is cyclical. I wouldn’t be surprised if some day Mom and Pop stores are all the rage again, and our generation circles its grandchildren around their feet and says, “Listen up now, as I tell you of a wonderful time when you didn’t have to go from store to store to buy everything you needed. You could just drive to a place with an enormous parking lot, hike to a cavernous store without windows, and purchase everything from Junior Mints to tampons to lampshades…all at the same time. Yes, little ones, believe you me…that’s when America was worth dying for.”

Happy Holiday Shopping, y’all. -- Jennifer Mathieu

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