Not all stores are created equal. People with different sensibilities gravitate to different stores. Stores try to appeal to different types of customers. Stores do this with the types of products they carry and the environment they try to create. At first glance, Walmart and Target seem to be very similar. But as I look closer, I get the feeling that Target may be attempting to shoot for a slightly more sophisticated customer. Their products offerings seem to be less varied but aiming for a higher class customer. Likewise, when I encounter shoppers at Target, they seem to carry themselves like they are more important than the typical Walmart customer. You go to Target to impress, to be seen. For the same reasons you go to Starbucks. I think that’s why there is a Starbucks in our local target. You go to Walmart because they are cheap.
The difference in the clientele between these two stores shows up in this story about a shopping trip that I took with my family a few years ago. We started at Target. My son and I had split off from the rest of the family and where walking next to an area of the store with children’s clothing. We saw an older couple with their very young grandson. They were having trouble controlling the child. He appeared to be in that 2 to 3 year old range where he hadn’t been walking or talking a very long time. But he had been walking long enough that if you put him down, he would move very quickly. And he was big enough that old people wouldn’t really want to wrestle with him. It appeared that the grandfather was about to take the kid to another area of the store. The grandmother grabbed the child by the hand and told him, “Hold on to your grandfather’s hand. There are bad people around here.” When she said the phrase “bad people” she looked directly at my son and me. Now, our family might not look like what I picture as the typical Target family, but I don’t think we look like “bad people”. I know that she was just trying to get the kid to behave by scaring him. Maybe she wasn’t directing her comments at us but it was hard not to think so.
Later that night, my family was at Walmart. I was sent away from the rest of the family to get something from the garden center. I was walking by the aisles where they keep toiletries. As I passed by the aisle with the shampoo, a young kid bolts out in front of me, almost running into me. This kid was a little older that the kid from Target, but not much. As I walked by, I heard his mother say, “He’s gonna run off, I’m just gonna let him!”
The parenting style of the shoppers sort of matches the style of the stores they shopped in. I wonder where I fit in the best?
Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer, Storyteller