Perhaps it’s because I’m one of the last Canadians out there to have never done the cross-border shopping trek, but I really wasn’t all that excited about the opening of Target.
Seriously, not even a little bit.
To me, it was just another version of Walmart. A Walmart in which people apparently dressed better. Yay? When it was announced that Target was coming to Canada, and that this was going to produce a bidding war for consumers that lead us to prices as low as what our American neighbours pay, my first thoughts were roughly along the lines of “Pfft, right.”
That mental thought didn’t really change over the months that our gutted Zellers stores turned into new and improved Target stores. I anxiously awaited the opening of Simons. I dutifully waited for the opening of J. Crew. Target however? I heard about it on the radio the next day, shrugged, and thought maybe I’d go check it out.
Saturday rolled around and The Boy and I decided to check out one of the smaller locations that had opened up. It was still a gong show, with people waiting in long lineups with carts full of stuff (and people already returning things?)
The first thing The Boy and I both thought when we walked in? It looks like Zellers. An organized, brighter lit Zellers with more eye catching products, but we were still both immediately hit with the same vibe. I’m blaming the fact that both companies use(d) the same colour scheme, and the same style racks and shelving.
We wandered through anyway, and I was pleasantly surprised in some areas. Summer drink dispensers that I would have expected to be made of plastic at their price point were made of glass. Rather than printed serving trays that look like a throw back from the 70′s or 80′s, I was finding modern trays made out of reclaimed wood and glass. The same Libbey glassware that friends of ours had on their wedding registry at Bed Bath and Beyond last year were sitting on a shelf beside Riedel wine glasses. The Starbucks at the front was just a bonus.
We didn’t spend to long in the store. I picked up a couple packages of dish cloths to replace mine, which are starting to get rather… weathered? I wanted to find resealable glass drink bottles, but I didn’t have any such luck. The Boy isn’t big on crowds (or malls for that matter), so I put the dish cloths back and we left without buying anything.
I’m on the early shift this week, which means I get off work right around the same time most people are getting back from lunch. Consequently, the stores tend to be a little less crowded when I shop after work. I decided I’d give Target another shot and check out the bi-level one that opened in West Edmonton Mall.
I’ve been looking for a couple oddly sized picture frames for a few months now so I could get some of the art I’ve acquired over the years up and onto the walls. It didn’t take too long to find what I was looking for. The price point was right around what I would have paid at Walmart, but it seemed like the corners on these frames were better constructed. I grabbed a cart and checked a couple frame sizes off of my list.
I’d like to get my sewing supplies up off the floor in the next couple months, so I wandered through the furniture section. The stuff I looked at had nice designs, but poor construction. Maybe it was just the samples they had put together, but I put the furniture I saw in the same general category as Walmart and IKEA furniture. Not that that’s necessarily a problem (almost all of my furniture IS from IKEA), it’s just that I’m at the point where I’d rather save up to buy fewer, well made pieces than another melamine flat pack with an alan key (or screw driver). I appreciated the number of different storage ottoman styles they had though.
I grabbed a couple of the aforementioned dish cloths and some dish towels to go with them. Nothing fancy. There were all sorts of coloured tea towels and whatnot, but I took a pass and grabbed the 5-packs of white ones. I usually bleach the kitchen stuff, so it works for me (it’s also WAAAAYYY cheaper).
I lucked out in the pharmacy section. There were a couple ~40% off “Store Opening Sales” that just happened to be on the products I use, so I stocked up on antiperspirant and tampons. TMI maybe, but if you’re near a Target and in need of either it’s probably a good time to check it out.
This store was my first encounter with a cart lift beside an escalator, so I absolutely had a geeking out moment watching that. The lift runs a little slower than the escalator, which is great because it means you have time to get on and off the escalator before your cart makes it to the top. Yes, this amused me. It also reminded me vaguely of the first time I was on a moving sidewalk that took me up a ramp. Apparently I’ve been using stairs for too long.
The grocery section was a surprise. There wasn’t any unpackaged produce or a butcher, but most of the remaining grocery store sections were there. Their price on bags of frozen fruit looked to be cheaper than what I’ve been paying on sale for my smoothie fruit, so I’ll definitely be keeping that in mind. Unfortunately there wasn’t much in terms of gluten free products, which is where I was hoping to find savings I’ll probably try grocery shopping here at least once to see how it compares overall.
There weren’t too many surprises in the clothing department from what I saw. There was a lot of fast fashion. I did notice a pair of black dress pants that appeared to be from a collaboration with another company. The fabric felt reasonably substantial, so it may be worth going back to check them out if I find myself in need of some new work pants.
I don’t know why, but I was surprised to see automotive and lawn care sections in the store. I guess I was still picturing Zellers as opposed to Walmart, because I know Walmart does tend to have those sections in their stores as well. I ended up grabbing a bag of grass seed, because it was priced lower than what I usually pay at Canadian Tire.
I ended up spending more than I intended to going into the store, but I can’t say that I regret any of the purchases because they were all things I was either running out of (antiperspirant, tampons, grass seed) or actively looking for (picture frames, dish cloths). From what I understand this is a common occurrence in this particular store, but I’m also going to partially lay blame on my lack of sleep.
All in all, having given it a couple looks now, I’d say it’s okay. It’s not American pricing, but I honestly wasn’t going to hold my breath on that one. It’s not the end all be all of shopping for me, but I saw things I could potentially see myself going back for during the summer (glass juice jugs).
How about you guys? Have you ever cross-border shopped? Have you been into one of the new Targets yet? How was your experience? If you’ve lived around a Target for an extended period of time, where does it fit into your shopping habits? Are there certain things you buy there rather than going elsewhere, or vice versa?
Recommended Reading: Blogging and Social Media Etiquette