Is Target Still Target If It Looks Like A Department Store?

Changes are afoot.

Part of the reason Target is wonderful is because they have everything you could ever need or want under one roof. It’s for this very reason that Target can also be terrible — you walk in wanting socks and kitty litter and you leave $50 poorer with one or two things you did need and many things you did not.

Perhaps in an attempt to curb the impulsive spending Target affords, change is coming to the layout of retail stores, as per this bit from Apartment Therapy.

The biggest change is the introduction of two entrances — one for people who are coming in just to browse and the other for online order pickups. Look how orderly this looks.

Photo via Target

Setting aside the fact that the artist’s renditions of the patrons of Target look like elongated funnels on legs, let’s consider this redesign, which is coming to a Houston-area Target in November and rolling out to about a third of the 1,800 Targets across this great country by 2019.

Photo via Target

That’s the main entrance, which is giving me fancy airport terminal realness with a dash of fancy shopping mall food court. It’s a big change and as it’s one that purports to save us money by siloing consumers based on their need, it’s worth discussing. A new and streamlined retail experience is exciting, but part of Target’s allure is the fact that you can step into any Target anywhere and it feels familiar. Maybe the beauty section is over there instead of over here, but after one slow lap, you figure it out and fall into your standard “killing time at Target before I have to go home and make mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving” routine.

Recently I stopped in a new Target that had just opened, with a home goods section that looked nicer than most IKEAs I’ve been in in the past five years. The aisles were wide, everything was clean, and I happily paid for some face stuff, a bag of cookies and a new Chapstick at a fully-functioning bank of self-checkout machines (a true passion of mine). I was in and out in ten minutes, distracted only for a second by a display of mid-century modern-deriviative floor lamps; I considered buying one, but realized taking a cab to my apartment with the lamp wasn’t worth it.

Would I have considered the lamp had I beelined to the online orders entrance and barged past the people waiting to pick up toilet paper in an attempt to sideline temptation? Probably not! The heart wants what it wants and while the effort is appreciated to curb spending via compartmentalization, I don’t know how much this will actually affect anyone. If you want to buy a bikini top and some Drano, love always finds a way.

I appreciate the gesture towards customers who really, really just want to pick up the online-only accent chair they ordered and get the hell out, but I don’t know if I want my big-box retailer to look like a freshly-scrubbed Macy’s.