I went ambling through Target last night after work. My mission was a simple one -- pick up a gallon of milk -- but being a good American consumer, I had to make a loop through the entire store, not just the dairy section, checking out the clearance shelves and bargain hunting in a rather unfocused way. The store had Valentine's stuff on display, but that's such a minor holiday it doesn't take up much space. Instead, the corner of the building where they go all out with "seasonal" merchandise appeared at first glance to have no unifying theme. There were displays of storage containers, an aisle full of exercise equipment, another aisle with a zillion bottles of Tide and other cleaning supplies . . . and then it hit me. The marketing geniuses at Target have figured out that January is the Month of Magical Thinking.
January is the month where we all make resolutions: I'm going to lose weight, eat better, finally clean the house, get my stuff organized, make various lifestyle changes, walk the dog more often, finish writing the Great American Novel, change jobs, go back to school, . . . and whatever the resolution might be, Target had it covered.
Going to straighten up your messy house? Buy some of these plastic storage tubs and organizers. Want to tone up and exercise more? Here are the videos, exercise mats, weights, water bottles, and whatever else you might need to do that. Feeling the urge to spring clean a little early? Take home some giant bottles of Tide and Lysol.
I will confess I lingered in the pilates section of the fitness gadgets and goodies. I was sorely tempted by the exercise balls. Then I remembered my experiences with the yoga DVD (still in the box, plastic as virgin as the day I bought it), the yoga books, the cardio-glide (it made a great clothes rack), the exercise bike (also a great coat rack), and the dust covered Richard Simmons "Sweating to the Oldies" video tape. For me it's never been a full month of magical thinking -- it's more like five minutes between making the resolution and forgetting it. From the size of the store displays, though, Target is counting on most people still being optimistic enough to believe they'll stick with something long enough to get it out of the box. I'm just not one of them.