Hey, we’re going to Target. Does anyone need anything? Yes, you probably do. So, you go along for the ride and end up buying just about half the store with things you probably don’t actually need but certainly want. We get it. Happens to the best of us. At least the next time it happens, you can be prepared with these 10 Shopping Secrets Target Doesn’t Want You To Know!
10. The RedCard Has More Than A Few Perks
If you’re an avid Target shopper, it might be a good idea to consider getting the Target RedCard. Target offers both credit and debit card options, as well as a Target Mastercard, which all have more than a few benefits. With any of these cards, you’ll save 5% every day in-store and online, get free two-day shipping on hundreds of thousands of items, and get an additional thirty days for returns and exchanges. And the best part? There’s no annual fee. RedCard Exclusives also means other special items, gifts, and offers, like 10% off on your anniversary if you’re signed up for Target marketing emails and 10% off on Hotels.com. And just like any good infomercial – wait, there’s more. The 5% discount isn’t exclusive to Target. You can also use it at any in-store Starbucks location, on specialty gift cards, restaurants, movie tickets, and more. Of course, some restrictions apply to benefits, so be sure to consider which card is best for you. For example, if you opt for the credit card, you can expect a relatively high annual interest rate. Moreover, regardless of which card you choose, be wary of what the 5% discount doesn’t apply to. This includes prescriptions and over-the-counter pharmacy items, Target gift cards and prepaid cards, previous purchases, certain restaurant merchants within stores, and Target Optical eye exams and protection plans (but, rest assured, glasses and contact lenses do qualify.)
9. SuperTarget To The Rescue
It turns out, the quality of products is pretty different in a regular Target than in a SuperTarget. A Super Target is generally larger, has a full grocery section, an expanded selection of other general merchandise, and is equipped with a deli, bakery, and butcher. Now, that’s a treat. In an online post about the possible predicaments of grocery shopping at Target, users commented on their experience. It seems that regular Targets typically have a poor produce section—with products seeming brown and old—and a fairly limited selection. Not only does it lack items you might find at other grocery stores, but it also doesn’t carry generic staples. What a letdown. The general consensus is that prices are about equivalent to the other stores or even higher, in some cases. Usually, the only competitively priced items are packaged foods like flour or sugar and frozen, processed, or canned foods. SuperTarget, however, with its much larger grocery department, is known for its quality food. Although their produce is still more expensive than a comparable grocer’s, it’s fresh and of higher quality. In reference to Target’s tagline “Expect More. Pay Less”, SuperTarget’s tagline is pretty similar: “Eat Well. Pay Less.” There were also what were called “Target Greatlands.” They were about fifty-percent larger than traditional Target stores, opened in 1990. They included an increased number of checkout lanes and price scanners, larger aisles, expanded pharmacy and photography departments, and a food court. These locations have since been transformed into stores following the PFresh grocery program.
8. Target’s Starbucks
Target’s food courts typically house some sort of pizza or other fast food joint, which is always great for a quick lunch or snack break. There are also many Target stores with a Starbucks counter—1300, as of 2016, to be exact. However, these Starbucks kiosks are more like a distant cousin in the Starbucks family since Target manages them. This means that the employees who work for Starbucks in the store are still Target employees. They just get a different uniform. If one of the employees were to work at a Starbucks outside a Target, they would actually have to be re-trained. So, weirdly enough, Starbucks doesn’t consider the Starbucks in Target one of its own stores. With that said, these in-store Starbucks counters still offer the same food and drinks as any other, and you can still use Starbucks gift cards or a points card at these locations. They also offer the coffee franchise’s famous happy hour every Thursday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. During happy hours, they have a buy one, get one free sales promotion with the purchase of a beverage (grande or larger). So if you’re going for an afternoon Target run with a friend, it’s the perfect time to stop by and grab a little pick-me-up so to continue your stroll among the wondrous aisles of Tarjay.
7. Free Snacks
Although it can vary from location to location, some Target stores hand out free snacks, like baked goods and pieces of fruit, to children. Kids (12 and under) can stop by the SuperTarget bakeries to get a free cookie—which, honestly, we’re all a little jealous of. Who wouldn’t love a snack while they shop for… well, more snacks? Target’s free cookie program has been around for decades and has always been popular among families for obvious reasons. They currently hand out around 25,000-50,000 freebies a week! While everyone loves a warm cookie, many parents expressed their desire for a healthier option. So, in 2016, Target introduced fresh fruit to their program. Now, kids—or their parents—have the option of choosing between a piece of fresh fruit or a cookie. And, while your kid munches on their free snack, you’ve got the option to head to Starbucks and grab your own freebie (only if it’s Thursday, of course!)
6. Don’t Try To Shoplift
Even though you probably shouldn’t shoplift anywhere, Target takes security to a whole new level. The company has two forensic laboratories: one in Las Vegas and the other in Minneapolis, where investigators gather evidence of criminal activity through analyzing security footage, latent fingerprints, and computer forensics. Sounds so official. As of 2008, 70% of the lab’s time is spent on solving cases related to fraud, theft, and personal matters. Due to the possibility of physical confrontation or liability, employees aren’t expected to intervene if they witness some shady behavior. With that said, even if a thief most likely wouldn’t get caught shoplifting on the floor, there’s a whole forensic team behind the scenes building up a case against them. Former Target employees took to an online forum to express how state-of-the-art the camera surveillance system is. Although not all shoplifters get busted on the spot, stores often play their cards strategically. They’ll wait until an amount that can be considered a felony is stolen and send the criminal straight to jail. Target investigators also work outside the department store on larger cases. According to Minnesota Public Radio, the forensic team has previously assisted law enforcement agencies on various armed robbery, kidnapping, and homicide cases. Target also offers its services to domestic law enforcement agencies free-of-charge, although the service is reserved for more violent felonies. Hopefully, you weren’t planning on robbing anyone or anything but, when it comes down to it, maybe don’t go barking up Target’s tree. They’re sort of intense about this stuff…
5. Get Groceries On Tuesdays
Many stores have markdown schedules, but Target is pretty meticulous with theirs. This might vary from location to location, but the general consensus is that electronics, accessories, kids’ clothing, baby items, books, and stationary, go on sale on Monday. Tuesday’s markdowns are domestic goods, women’s clothing, pet items, and food (so, make sure you go grocery shopping on Tuesday to get those deals!). Wednesday’s sales are on Men’s clothing, health and beauty items, diapers, lawn and garden stuff, and furniture. Houseware, lingerie, shoes, toys, sporting goods, décor, and luggage are on Thursday. And finally, on Friday, auto items, hardware, cosmetics, and jewelry go on sale. Typically, the items get marked down 15% or 30% the first week, 50% by the second, and a few weeks after that; they drop to 70% off. Of course, you can expect more popular goods to fly off shelves pretty quickly, so be careful if you’re going to play the waiting game. Clearance stuff is marked with red or yellow stickers on the tag. You should be able to tell just how far they’ve been marked down with a number in the top right-hand corner of the price tag. It’s also a good idea to shop for holiday goods soon after the holiday because they’re often cut by 50% the very next day (30% for candy, yay!), followed by 70% a week or so later, and then they’ll finally get marked down to 90%. So, next time you need some new Christmas ornaments or Halloween decor, consider shopping really early for the next year to get the best deals!
4. You Can Save A Lot Of Money
In addition to their frequent sales, Target offers other services that make it easy for customers to save. For example, Target price matches from online or local retailers—including Amazon—so it’s worth shopping around online to see if you can find better deals. Also, if something on sale is sold out in stores, Target offers a “rain check,” which is exactly what it sounds like. The store will grant you the sale price of the sold-out item for up to 45 days, as long as it is restocked within that time. Target is also pretty relaxed about their coupon policies. Whereas many retailers only let you use one coupon per item, Target lets you stack them on a single item. You can find all sorts of coupons on their app, on their website, and, of course, in their weekly ad, where you can also discover additional discounts and flash sales. The business’ app is also totally worth getting, with deals you can download to save anywhere from 5% to 50% on stuff. (Yay, more savings!) Also worth mentioning is that Target lets you trade in gift cards from brands such as Bed, Bath & Beyond, Costco, Sam’s Club, and Nordstrom. Although you won’t get the card’s full value, you can still swap it out for straight cash, which might be a better option for the ones you have absolutely no use for.
3. The Target Circle
Last year, Target replaced its Cartwheel savings program with a new benefits program called Target Circle. By creating an account on their website, you can access the loyalty program, where you’ll save on items from both Target and individual manufacturers. The coupons are available in the Target app, and you can then have the cashier scan your barcode at checkout. Target Circle members also earn 1% back on all purchases (or 5% if they have a RedCard). Another benefit is a birthday gift, in which Target offers its members a 5% discount on their birthday. Even if you’re not a part of Target Circle, the department store often incentivizes shoppers with gift cards. For example, they recently offered a bonus gift card of $10 with each purchase of $50. The promotions are often on select items, such as certain food and beverages, or designated skincare items. If, by chance, you were going to purchase the item anyway, it ends up really just being a free gift card, which is pretty awesome. Target also lets you rack up the gift cards if you’re buying more than one of the promotion’s qualifications. The gift cards often come with the purchase of a Shipt gift card—$10 at Target when you buy one of $49 for Shipt and $25 when you buy one at $99—so be on the lookout for that!
2. Green Initiatives
Like many other grocery stores, Target encourages customers to reduce the amount of single-use plastic on the planet by bringing their own bags. While forgetting to bring your reusable bags usually costs you, Target takes things a step further by offering a discount of five cents for every reusable bag a person brings. (Positive reinforcement works, people!) Target also has several other commitments to sustainability, including sourcing all paper-based packaging from sustainably managed forests by 2022, eliminating foam packaging, adding the How2Recycle label on the packaging to let consumers know exactly how the material should be recycled, supporting The Recycling Partnership, and creating more of an overall demand for recycled packaging. Target’s investment in The Recycling Partnership “will bring curbside recycling to more underserved communities,” which will increase the recycled raw materials available for packaging. They advocate for easy and sustainable recycling of all packaging and have joined two industries to work toward this vision. The first is The Material Recovery Facility of the Future, a project that maintains the view that all packaging can and should be recycled. The second is Beyond 34, whose goal is to demonstrate the best recycling practices to raise the U.S. recycling rate beyond its current number. So, despite the corporation’s massive size, you can feel good about shopping at Target when it comes to being ecofriendly.
1. Look for Store Brands
Target is known for being a little on the higher end in comparison to, say, Walmart. They offer you bang for your buck if you’re willing to spend a little more. With that said, if you’re looking to save, why not check out Target’s store brands? In the grocery section, keep an eye out for Market Pantry and Good & Garther (which replaced Archer Farms and Simply Balanced). Sutton & Dodge is a premium meat line sold at Target and, for your furry friends, check out Boots and Barkley, a pet food and supply line. For home goods, look for Room Essentials, Fieldcrest, Up & Up, Smartly, Project 62, or Made by Design. There is also a range of brands to choose from for both men’s and women’s apparel, including Goodfellow & Co., A New Day, and Prologue. For all things, kids and babies, check out Pillowfort, Cat and Jack, or Cloud Island. Target also has what was previously known as The One Spot. It has now been renamed Bullseye’s Playground and is a collection of discount bins at the front of stores filled with (mainly) seasonal items ranging from around $1 to $5. Bullseye’s Playground is also online, so you won’t have to rummage around in containers for deals on out-of-season goods!