Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Target: Say Something, I'm Giving Up on You

Before I begin the upcoming rant, I wanted to share the different working titles that I came up with as I was thinking about and writing this next post.  The list is as follows:

F*&% You Target, You Selfish, Greedy Bitch!

Target Strips Away the Magic of Christmas

Relationship Status with Target: It's Complicated

How Target's Corporate Greed Ruined Christmas Magic for My Son

Let me begin in saying that Target and I have been in a semi-serious relationship for years now.  We have shared many good times, great laughs and funny stories. Hell, I have provided Target with a vast amount of free advertising just based on my blog posts about conversations I have overheard in Target. 

I have generated interest for their store with my many funny tales of Target adventures.  Not to mention that I have provided free advertising, targeting the male population of shoppers in my post about picking up female prostitutes in the lingerie section.   That alone should get me a free Starbucks or something!  But alas, Target has gone and done it.  They have exceeded the maximum capacity of my patience with them. 

Let me say that I am saddened and embarrassed that they have stooped to the level of ruining the 'magic' that is Elf on the Shelf for the monetary profits that this product generates. 

I will be the first to say that four years ago, when I first heard of Elf on the Shelf I was excited about the idea and I thought it was a darling family tradition.  I ran straight out and bought an Elf with the book.  At that time, the only place you could find the Elf was at small boutiques and specialty stores.  So after some searching, I found one.  I planned an elaborate entrance for our elf.  He would arrived wrapped in Christmas paper, dropped on our doorstep by none other than Santa himself!  It was a wonderful introduction that went off without a hitch!  The kids loved it, they bought it and so the tradition began. 

I will admit that the Elf actually became more of a pain in the ass than I had originally thought, but it was a tradition, nonetheless.  The kids looked forward to it and excitedly awaited his arrival each year...until Target released it's Wish List catalog this year. 

Two days ago, Ivan asked for some magazines that he could use to make a "All About Me" collage for Cub Scouts.  I gave him a few old magazines and the Target Holiday Wish List catalog to use. 

"There might be some good pictures of Legos or action figures that you like in there buddy."  I said, not knowing what was housed in the seemingly innocent toy catalog.

Fast forward to the next day, as I was walking in the door from a long day at work, I went to hang up my coat.  Ivan was sitting contently at the table working on his collage, flipping through the pages of the Target Wish List catalog.  As I closed the door to the coat closet, Ivan shouted "MOM!" 

As I spun around to see what was causing such alarm in his voice, he yelled, "THE ELF ON THE SHELF DOESN'T COME FROM THE NORTH POLE OR SANTA! IT COMES FROM TARGET!"

My heart immediately dropped into my stomach as I looked down to see the Target Wish List catalog sitting on the table with the Elf on the Shelf ad in the bottom corner, right next to the other books and videos.  Sonofabitch!

My head spun trying to come up with an explanation, an excuse.  I had nothing.  It was obvious that the delay in my reaction was proof enough that the Elf had indeed, not come the North Pole.  "Don't tell your sister,"  is all I could come up with. 

As he slumped in his chair and pounded his fist on the table in disgust, I felt equally disgusted with the marketing genius that decided that it would be a good idea to put the Elf on the Shelf product right in the catalog that children look at to make a Christmas wish list!  What in the world were they thinking!? 

If you are familiar with the story of the Elf on the Shelf, the book states that he comes from Santa himself and he returns to the North Pole each night to report to Santa.  Obviously, this marketing employee hasn't read the book or isn't familiar with the tradition enough to know that the book and Elf don't come from a store!  They come from Santa! 

Last year, I let it slide when Target put up a huge end-cap display of Elf on the Shelf directly across the isle from the toy section.  As I coaxed my kids in another direction, hoping that they didn't see the display, I sneered a little at the cluelessness of the location of the display.  Obviously, they don't realize that the Elf is supposed to be a "secret magical Elf from the North Pole."  In fact, we shouldn't even be talking about him because that, in fact, makes him lose his magic! 

I know it's not the end of the world and my kids still believe in Santa, but I was a little disappointed in Target for not being more sensitive to the audience that they target with their Wish List catalog.  I would have thought that they could exclude the Elf on the Shelf from the toy catalog as not to place any doubts as to the magic that is Elf on the Shelf. 

Maybe I shouldn't be mad at Target.  Maybe I should be mad at the publisher or author of the book, after all, they partnered with Target to be a distributor, right? 

Maybe I should be upset with myself for not previewing the catalog first. 

Maybe I should just be upset with the fact that my son is getting old enough that he is going to be figuring these things out sooner or later.  Maybe I'm not mad at Target but rather the fact that my boy is growing up too darn fast. 

Hopefully, Target and I can get past this little rough patch. After all, we've been through so much together.  I think for right now, I just need some time to think and be alone for a while.  Maybe after the holidays we can reconvene and hash things out.   

P.S.  If you would like to hear more about my funny, Target shopping episodes read :

 Prostitutes in Target:  The Time I Overheard a Craigslist Connection in Target

Blogher Featured :  A For-Real Conversation that I Heard in Target

Blogher Featured :  Christmas Brings Out All the Amateurs

My sister-in-law's attempt/fail at being a professional Target shopper. :  Amateurs Step Aside: A Target Story

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

No Shame November 2014

Last year, I set out on a mission to start a writing challenge for my readers.  I started No Shame November and I had quite a few really great submissions that I shared on Dalai Mama and I would love to do it again.
You can read last year's submissions:
Indeed, I want to hear from you, readers!   I know that you all have a story to tell and I can't tell you how much I love a story written in a letter form!
What I am wanting you to do is think about a pivotal point in your life.  Maybe it was when you met your spouse, had your first child, moved away from home, lost a loved one or made a major life choice.  Whatever your pivotal point is, I want you to write a letter to yourself at that point in your life. 
  • What would you say to yourself? 
  • What advice would you offer? 
  • What things would you change, or would you? 
  • Would you tell yourself to run fast the other way or would you pat yourself on the back for a job well done?
  • Would you offer words of encouragement or tell yourself to snap out of it?
We all have an important time in our lives where we could have taken a different path, done something differently or responded in a different manner.  Let us inspire one another with our stories. When you write your letter, I want you to be shameless in your delivery.  I want you to be brave and honest with yourself.  Tapping into what choices we have made and coming to terms with those choices can have a very healing and calming effect.  Trust me when I say that writing can be very therapeutic for the soul. 
So, women and men of all ages, I challenge you tap into your inner "Dalai Mama" and have a great conversation with yourself.  If you haven't done anything for yourself in a while, I challenge you.  After you put the kids to bed, finish your homework, or get off work, I challenge you to sit down and write yourself a letter.  I challenge you to write for just 5 minutes, to get started.  I promise that once you start, it will be hard to stop until you're finished.  
So here is how it is going to work:
You will dedicate some thoughtful reflection time to yourself and write your letter.  You can send your submission to me by emailing me at   I will be accepting submissions for your letter to your younger self from Sunday, Nov. 2 until Sunday, Nov. 30 at 10pm.  Once I have had time to review your submissions, I will post your letters on Dalai Mama throughout the month of November. 
If you choose to remain anonymous, I will respect that and your name and likeness will not be included.  If you are a fellow blogger, I will link back to your blog if you would like.  I will also share your posts on Facebook and Twitter. 
I can't wait to hear your letters.  I will be working on mine and it will be posted on Dalai Mama.  Now, get to writing!