On Target

Oliver in New Coat, LoopingSo the new Target store opening here in Charlottetown last week, taking the place of the old Zellers (which, in turn, took the place of the old Towers and the old IGA).

Target, for we here on the fringes of North American geography, has always held a certain magical allure: when we’d visit a Target on trips to the United States everything would seem so bright and roomy and exotic compared to the grungy old Zellers here in Charlottetown.

Oh look, it’s a Michael Graves egg spatula!”

And there’s no doubting that a purpose-built Target, architecturally, is an impressive building. It’s still a discount store, yes, but a discount store with white space.

Here in Charlottetown, alas, there was little white space to be had, as the new Target had to be shoehorned into the old Zellers née Towers.

And so no matter how much money they spent repaving the parking lot and putting up the colourful red bollards and extinguishing the clock and the pretzel place and the engraving kiosk from the main entrance hall of the Charlottetown Mall, Target, in the end, is still a Zellers-in-Target-clothing.

The space will never be able to fully shake its history, even if the Zellers cafeteria is now a Starbucks and we “customers” are now “guests.” It still feels like they took the IGA and the Towers and mushed them together. The ceilings are too low, the entrance is in the wrong place. The aisles are too narrow.

That said, we did find an awfully nice winter jacket for Oliver at Target on Saturday, a snazzy Champion-brand model in green. It was 40% off. It’s a men’s small, and fits very well.

On the way in to the store we saw the line at the checkouts was 50-people deep and so I thought twice about the ROI on getting in line, but then I saw that there was a cash register in the TV department and I asked the cashier (“team member?” “service concierge?” “betterment consultant?”) if I could pay there and they cheerfully agreed so we were in and out in 5 minutes.