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How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Target.

Ah, it was a fine November day. And, surprisingly enough, I was actually feeling productive for once on a sunny Sunday. So…I whipped out my Palm, jotted some notes on what I thought I might accomplish in the next few hours, then had a brainstorm as I was looking around my minimalistically decorated apartment: Ikea time. Yes, the Ikea nesting instinct had set in, with visions of Swedish furniture and accessories dancing in my head. Who better to accompany me in such a mission, I thought, than Mister Cassella? I gave him a ring on the telly and he was game for such an adventure. Thus, I was off – to pick up a friend and to head northward to the grand tourist spot of Renton. (It is actually listed as a tourist spot on one of those blue freeway signs, believe it or not.)

Along the way, I stopped at Costco to redeem a coupon I had for twenty free digital prints. Feeling as productive as I had been this morning, I loaded my flash disk full of photos I had grabbed from my iPhoto collection in anticipation of redeeming this coupon. As it turns out, I’d actually loaded up 84 photos. A slight bit more than the coupon would allow, but nonetheless, pretty cheap. After wandering around Costco, waiting for these prints to “develop,” we were finally ready to hit the big blue building up north.

I’ll save the details of the three hour drive that ensued for the time being, and skip ahead to our arrival. I was somewhat overwhelmed at the sheer size of this warehouse, and consequently, very excited to see what might lie within. Once inside, I was quite impressed by the thought they’d put in to designing the showroom and how all these cool little $6 and $7 dollar doo-dads could make the room look so cool. So, I started taking notes on my Palm, and pictures of the little widgets on my phone so I could remember what I wanted when I actually got to the section where one could pick up the items shown on the floor.

About half an hour after wandering through the complete showroom, we were at our destination, the…well, whatever the hell they call the room where all the widgets are actually stored in. I hastily grabbed a cart and started picking things off the shelves. A strainer here, a spatula there, a few shelves, some frames, etc. etc.

A few minutes later, I realized that I had filled my cart with a whole bunch of cheap little things that I neither needed nor intended to buy when I originally came. Mike and I shook our heads and started debating the necessity of a $10 collapsable laundry hamper and a $15 set of three photos blown up and plastered on foam core. Time for the list, I thought, and I whipped out my Palm to guide me.

  • Bathmat. They had six colors, none of which actually went with my bathroom.
  • DVD Rack. They had an unfinished wood rack that I could drill into the wall for $9. Not exactly what I was looking for.
  • Poster frames. Too expensive, or too cheaply made.
  • Lamp. Wow, way too many.

And so on. As I wandered further, I realized that I couldn’t remember why I thought such and such actually looked good in my apartment, other than the fact that it looked good in the showroom, and when separated from the showroom, looked fairly bare and not so stylish. Then, I realized that half the stuff here I could get at Target or Dania (both local Portland stores) without the 150 mile drive north. Hmph. Yep, feeling a bit defeated now.

Suffice to say, I left the store with very little. A $5 tool set and a $1.99 set of magnets. Not really worth the drive, we both thought.

On the way back, we grabbed some Jack in the Box, and mulled over the fact that we just drove 150 miles to look at a big 3D catalog, then continued on our way.

Three hours of driving gives you a lot of time to think about what you could actually do to decorate your apartment, given the decorative showrooms, the widgets they had to offer, and well, a lot of dark road after 10pm.

After a few miles, I noticed a Target off one of the exits and stopped in to look around. Luckily, they were open late due to the holiday season. Within a few minutes, I found exactly what I was looking for, found a few more things I needed, bought them, and left.

So? I ended up going home with all the photos I got from Costco, the magnets I got from Ikea, a little poster sticky from Target, and started putting photos up all over my apartment. I have a new found love for decorating on the cheap. 😉

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