Retailers Like Target May Be In Trouble As Consumers Run Out Of Money

Forbes says that Wall Street is starting to be concerned about Target because of an increase in the amount of delinquencies in its credit card operation. Uh oh…

Target has 25% of its stores in areas that have been slammed by the subprime meltdown, and the percentage of its customers who are not paying their credit card bills on time is um, kinda high…

“Target has 25 percent of its stores in states that have experienced excessive mortgage delinquencies compared to the national average,” PiperJaffray analyst Jeffrey P. Klinefelter wrote in a client note.

G.E. which runs the private label credit cards for Walmart, IKEA and Lowe’s wants to sell the (still profitable) division, but isn’t having much luck as delinquencies rise and the pace of consumer spending slips, according to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, another report suggested that consumers will see lots more store closings in regional malls due to crappy sales and a weak back-to-school season.

Target declines as analyst downgrades it to ‘Hold’ [Forbes]

Fitch: Regional malls may see more store closings
[BusinessWeek]
(Photo: CyberCJH )

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  1. Parting says:

    That what happens when customers are given bags of chips in exchange for credit cards applications.

  2. MercuryPDX says:

    Perhaps if they weren’t so easy to get in the first place?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @MercuryPDX: I agree so much with that statement…every time I’m at Target, or a department store, the salespeople try to sell me their credit card, with the premise I’ll get 10% off my purchase. 10% off a purchase now can mean hundreds of dollars in heartache and financial mess later, since credit cards are a privilege, not a right. Credit cards are for people who have proven that they can handle their money as to not get themselves into debt. Smart people also know that having 10 credit cards is generally a bad idea, and store credit cards tend to have much higher interest rates. It doesn’t surprise me there are a lot of delinquencies on Target cards.

      • allthatsevil says:

        @IHaveAFreezeRay: Keep in mind that Target has a store card that can be used in store only, and another one that’s just a regular Visa that can be used anywhere. My mother has the latter and its interest rate is pretty reasonable.

        I’m wondering if this article is talking about one or the other, or both.

        • JulesWinnfield says:

          @allthatsevil: I didn’t know that having the store card was still an option. I had the store card and they switched it to the Target Visa a few years ago without even asking if I wanted it.

          Whichever card it is, there’s always a bank or a finance company behind it.

      • DePaulBlueDemon says:

        @IHaveAFreezeRay:

        Exactly! It aggavates me to no end when retailers try to push credit cards on every customer that walks through the door. I understand that people have to take responsibility for their own actions, but I feel no remorse when such a high percentage of people default on their debt and cost the retailer millions of dollars. Should have thought this through, Target (et al…)

    • no.no.notorious says:

      @MercuryPDX: seriously, maybe more stores shouldn’t be so willing to offer store credit cards. because as we’re seeing, it’s not working. our economy is based on debt, and it’s pathetic.

      credit cards/loans/borrowing should be more difficult to obtain. but, that hurts people’s feelings.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @MercuryPDX: especially at target – i’ve referenced this article before (when we were all discussing wal-mart’s bid for an ILC) – it’s from 2 years ago & it was already predicting a “meltdown” of target’s cc division –> [www.businessweek.com]

      target has more problems than your average department store b/c they were financing their profits – search some 2006-2007 articles about target credit cards or target bank & you’ll see what i mean. 15% of their income was from their cc division. 30% growth rates (more than double the average for the industry). stories of people who had piss-poor credit getting approved for $5,000 cards. when they maxed them out & couldn’t pay them, target would boost the limit to $10,000.

      they unloaded the bulk of their portfolio earlier this year, but considering such a large amount of their profit was due to that portfolio, you have to wonder what they’ll do to make up the difference. [insert layoffs, store closings, & price increases here]

  3. Are credit cards the next sub-prime mortgage bubble? Stay tuned.

    • @postnocomments: you know, I’m actually surprised that credit cards weren’t the first sub-prime mortgage bubble…

      wait… that didn’t sound right..

      but you know what I meant. Especially when its way easier and less traumatic to default on a credit card than a home loan.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @JamieSueAustin: you know, i think our perception of credit (scoring) has a lot to do with that. i honestly think there are people that were more concerned about defaulting on 4 or 5 credit cards than they were about losing their HOME! i can only imagine that they think 1 foreclosure doesn’t look as bad as 5 delinquent cards (i dunno, maybe it doesn’t).

        just today i was speaking with someone who wanted to refinance their car into a better rate but was trying to do so without a hard pull on their report – i tried to explain to them that the hard pull only had a nominal effect & i might be able to save them ~$3000 in interest payments (6.5% c.u. financing vs. 15% dealer financing). he said no & walked out of my office b/c he was so concerned about his score.

        what’s the point of grooming your score if it doesn’t get you what you want & save you some $$$ along the way?!?

      • junip says:

        @JamieSueAustin:

        The two aren’t far off from each other. You can take out a Home Equity Line of Credit on your home and attach a credit card to it for “easy access.”
        Voila! You can spend your house!! …until you lose it.

    • HRHKingFridayXX says:

      @postnocomments: Now *there’s* a bailout I’d like to see. For completely selfish reasons, of course, and not for those middle america trash that ran up their visas ordering from late night commercials

    • metsarethe... says:

      @postnocomments: Credit card delinquencies are next up… people who have been skipping mortgage payments have been paying off CC debt. Seems as though having the choice between paying one or the other, people are choosing the liquidty of a cc vs making a house payment

    • ludwigk says:

      @postnocomments: One thing we don’t have (I believe) is the bunching of consumer credit card debt into securities, whitewashing their credit rating, then selling them in multi-billion $$ packages to institutional lenders and foreign banks.

      So while consumer credit crunch is bad for the economy because it reduces consumer spending, it doesn’t have the same bank-crushing effect of sub-prime mortgages. That is, I *hope* this is true.

  4. audiochick says:

    Oh no! I LOVE Target. I shop there once a week, even with their terrible returns policy. It’s not my first choice for electronics, but for little everyday things it’s a great store. (And a lot less evil than Wal*Mart!)

  5. In the lunch room today, there was some talk about running up the cards and then going Chapter 7. Some of my coworkers figure that as the sh!+pile gets bigger and bigger, they might as well live well. Sigh….

  6. spikespeigel says:

    Huh. That kinda explains why the Target in Lauderhill is all kinds of quiet. Well, at least for five in the PM, at least.

  7. Shappie says:

    It’s the end of the world as we know it!

  8. JTK says:

    Target is too big to fail though, they may have to close some stores and stop store branded credit cards (which are a bad idea to begin with in my opinion) but they won’t fall from this just like Best Buy and walmart won’t fall from this although I’m betting retail in general is wishing they were making the profits they were making a few years ago right now.

  9. nicemarmot617 says:

    Hey, at least if this keeps happening I won’t get bugged to “sign up for our credit card” at every damn store I shop at. No, I don’t want your crappy credit card. No, I don’t care that you’ll give me 10% off.

    Although I think the worst was my freshman year of college – this was 2001, pre-9/11, and lemme tell ya, there were people setting up tables all over campus during freshman orientation and at least three quarters of them were those crappy low-limit, ultra-high-interest credit cards. Needless to say, even as a destitute clueless college freshman, I knew better than to sign up for any of those cards. But with that kind of interest rate and the basically 100% approval rate it’s no wonder college kids have so many credit card problems!

  10. Antediluvian says:

    I’m really starting to pay attention to what I NEED v. what I WANT.

    The needs are winning. Also helps w/ decluttering the house, not that I’m anywhere near there yet. I haven’t even opened the Target sales flyer for the past two weeks, and when I do go, I make a beeline for the clearance rack.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @Antediluvian:

      The needs are winning here as well, most of the time when I go to a store I bring home essentials such as toiletries and food. If I buy a non-essential it comes from the clearance rack and is extremely cheap or I don’t buy it.

      The target where I live seems to have an unusually high percentage of customers who like to pick out items while on their cell phone (meaning they never look at a price), and pay for them while on the phone too. They just swipe, sign and walk away without looking at what is charged to their card. This is fine if you are rich and can afford it, but I don’t think that applies to most target shoppers in my area.

      Add to that the fact that there is a lot of expensive decor in my target, things that cost 10-20$ an item that can quickly add up to hundreds before you even know it and before you know it you have overspent on a pile of decor that you never even needed in the first place.

  11. I was in line at a Target in Milwaukee last week when the person in front of me had her Target card declined.

    I though it was kind of weird how the customer and the clerk were so matter-of-fact about it. (The customer ended up paying cash, and neither one acted embarrassed or annoyed.) Maybe that scenario is more common than I realized.

    I have no real point here, do I?

    • ARP says:

      @Michael Bauser: I think you do have a point- there’s used to be personal embarassment associated with having a card declined, foreclosures, bankruptcy, etc. In essence you felt ashamed that you couldn’t handle your sh*t.

      Now, you’re right, its so matter of fact. I actually think we should return to the days where being over your limit was an embarassment or moral failure not an opportunity to just pull out another card.

    • camille_javal says:

      @Michael Bauser: My mother commented that she’s seeing it *constantly* lately (a lot of people who are not as matter-of-fact, but still a lot more often than before) – it’s making her very nervous about what’s going to happen in this area.

    • magic8ball says:

      @Michael Bauser: Cards get declined for many reasons, including electronic errors. I’ve had my debit card declined once when there was plenty of money in the account; when I checked with the bank to see what the problem was, they had no record of the decline, even though the terminal clearly said “declined” when I ran the card. And while many people do get declined because they are over their limit, it’s certainly not the clerk/cashier’s job to shame them. “Hey, everybody, this moron’s card just got declined! Feel free to point and laugh, folks!”

      • Erwos says:

        @magic8ball: This happened to me _all the time_ with my debit card back in college. I’d go stock up on some groceries, check out, and then get a decline despite having way more money than needed in the account. It’s what eventually drove me to credit cards (but using them wisely, of course).

  12. legwork says:

    This was expected. Where else to turn when your ATM (a.k.a. homeowner line-of-credit) runs dry?

  13. marsneedsrabbits says:

    I could have wallpapered a small room by now with the receipts I’ve received stating that I qualify for a Target credit card. I never could figure out *why* I would need a Target card. What kind of person needs to finance their grocery shopping or the purchase of tee-shirts?

    So, if Target (and others) have finally angered the Gods of Finance, and their policies are finally coming back to bite them in the butts, good.

    It’s about time.

  14. freelunch says:

    I don’t get it… is this a small but material number of people with this problem, or is this the bulk of America???

    I carry $0 in debt, own a nice car, have investments, and enough cash to go 6 months without a job… all with a career obtained with a Bachelors degree – why are there so many rampant money management problems making the news?

    • ViperBorg says:

      @freelunch: Not everyone is as responsible with money as you obviously are. Unfortunately, you are a phenomenon in this country.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @freelunch: personally, i think the “credit crunch” is largely a mask for the real problem – a lot of america is un- or underemployed right now. unemployment at 6.1% – that’s 1.5% increase in a year (& expect it to grow as half of manhattan hits the classifieds).

      • camille_javal says:

        @mac-phisto: that’s at least part of it – and executives getting laid off is a very big deal, because it’s not that easy just to waltz into another position (particularly when so many companies are going under, but even under normal circumstances).

        I have family who had perfect credit and were extremely responsible up until something like that happened, and in the time it took to dig their way out, racked up a lot of credit card debt just on day-to-day necessities. Fortunately, the housing market wasn’t so bad, and they were able to rent out their house (and live someplace cheaper), and then sell it – now, even if people *want* to reduce their expenses because of a layoff, trying to rent out the place at what you’re paying in a mortgage has to be ridiculous.

        • Erwos says:

          @Quatre707: If you have a bachelor’s degree and only make $15k, you made some extremely poor choices, both in terms of finances and life.

          “But I majored in what I love” is not an excuse. I really wanted to be a journalist, but I decided I’d rather do something I love a little less and make more money. Looking back, it was _completely_ the right decision.

    • hills says:

      @freelunch:
      Same here freelunch, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the country is as responsible. So many $ problems are making the news because there are A LOT of people effected by the economy.

      I hope people get their sh*t together because I can’t live without Target!

    • johnnya2 says:

      @freelunch: Zero debt? So you have no mortgage, which is the basis of most of the problems. I would also suggest that your “investments” might be doing well, while other people may have invested in Lehman Brothers or numerous other companies that are tanking in the stock market. If you own real estate in most markets you probably took a huge loss in the value of your properties over the last year. If you own your own business that sold to a company that declares bankruptcy and then doesn’t have to pay you, you are stuck. The attitude is ridiculous that you are somehow superior to others when you have no idea what caused their situation. You choose to live a very conservative life which means you are risk adverse. People like you are fine, but people who do great things tend to take risks, including the risk of losing it all.

      • freelunch says:

        @johnnya2: there was no claim of superiority in my question… just trying to better understand the scope on consumers purchasing without a means to pay of the credit card.
        I can understand a job lose or reduction in pay leading to problems, but I wouldn’t expect that the issue of unpaid credit card debt being faced by Target is a result of business owners going under and such.

        BTW: nope, no mortgage – and my investments are hurting like the rest of the market…

    • coolkiwilivin says:

      @freelunch: Ditto for us. Of course we’ve had to make some decisions like: live in a townhouse and not a single family home, I drive a 17 year old car (91 Integra) and my wife drive a 7 year old car, spend less money when things are tight and spending less money when times are good. We limit ourselves to $60 a month for eating out. Unfortunately the philosophy of Oprah has set in. My favorite things is the absolutely worst thing in the world. It says you deserve whatever you want. Until people begin to say to themselves we’re all messed over.

      • coolkiwilivin says:

        @coolkiwilivin: Oops, no to themselves. Also the favorite things is an episode where oprah has a materialistic orgy of stuff and everyone in the audience gets everything she highlights.

    • pastabatman says:

      @freelunch:

      well, this blog is sorta the wrong place to ask that question. People interested in a consumer “watchdog” blog, are gonna be more savvy or at least interested an thoughtful about their money.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      “…all with a career obtained with a Bachelors degree…”
      @freelunch: According to this Wikipedia article 33% of adults in the United States have a college degree. So that’s a big part of why you’re doing better than most people; you have more education than 67% of the adult population (at least in writing).

    • Quatre707 says:

      @freelunch: “a career obtained with a Bachelors degree” could mean you make $15,000 or $90,000. Just because you have a Bachelor’s doesn’t mean you are going to make enough money to have a nice car, or support a family anymore.

    • Roeroica says:

      @freelunch: I definitely agree. I don’t see how people who were so used to getting what they wanted without the money to pay for it are now all upset since they cant. Why not live within your means? I feel like they brought this mess on the rest of us.

    • Erwos says:

      @freelunch: Seriously. I hear about people with decent jobs and like $10k of credit card debt, and I can’t even comprehend how they got there. Our only debt is our (easily-affordable) mortgage, although I think we might need a second (used) car soon.

    • P_Smith says:

      @freelunch: I don’t get it… is this a small but material number of people with this problem, or is this the bulk of America???

      I carry $0 in debt, own a nice car, have investments, and enough cash to go 6 months without a job… all with a career obtained with a Bachelors degree – why are there so many rampant money management problems making the news?

      Because legalized indenture (read: slavery) is the goal. Public school systems no longer teach thinking, poverty compounds poverty making post-secondary unaffordable, and without the education to know better, people get led into debt the same way a child is told to do something by an evil older sibling who wants to see the younger get into trouble.

  15. Maglet says:

    I haven’t been to Target in months. Okay, I’ve been, but I haven’t dropped any real cash there in a bit. I used to not be able to leave without spending at least $150. So, I stopped going. I didn’t really NEED anything–I’d just be grabbing stuff I liked (home dept. stuff). That’s not responsible. I’m asked each time I’m there if I want their card and then I’m asked if I’m sure when I decline. As if they didn’t hear me just say “No, thank you”. Riiiight. We don’t live off of credit cards and I’m not going to start buying stuff that isn’t large ticket AT ALL with a credit card from Target. I think that’s reckless!

    Credit is going to be/has been the death of people! We use cash… if we don’t have cash for something, we don’t buy it. That concept is lost with a lot of people I know and that stinks (for them).

    I love Target just as much as the next person and if it goes away, I’ll miss it, but I’ll definitely live. :)

  16. NotYou007 says:

    I have a Tagert card but I always pay my bill early and I don’t carry a huge balance on the card either. I do use it from time to time so I can get enough points towards another 10% off though but that won’t happen till next year but when I purchase a PS/3 it will be nice to save 10% on it and then I’ll pay off the PS/3 when the bill comes. I wouldn’t get that 10% if I walked in with cash, which I will save first before I stick the PS/3 on the card.

    And having a Target card keeps them from asking me if I want to apply for one. Nothing wrong with having a credit card. Just cannot be stupid with it.

  17. quail says:

    Whatever happened to department store cards starting you at $500 in credit until you proved yourself? Extending credit to the less than credit worthy was just mirroring the subprime mortgage mess.

    As to the Target locations, I travel for business and I see these stores that are less than 5 years old in the middle of McMansion subdivisions. They’ve stuck themselves locations dependent on one type of demographic. I always wondered what would happen if that demographic could no longer spend like usual.

  18. latemodel says:

    Target same store sales are off 10%. WalMart sales are up 12%.

  19. u1itn0w2day says:

    25% of the stores in sub prime areas which means areas of high growth and higher income(at the time).

    I’ve always considered Target 1 step above Walmart but I’ve noticed a creep in prices over the last 2 years in particular.I don’t think Target needs credit to survive,it’s not like they’re selling 3000$ big screens.Personally as long as the price is there I’ll be there.

  20. NTC-Brendan says:

    All mathematical Jujitsu aside (that’s an oxymoron there…) ; We chopped our cards up a few years ago and have not looked back. The merchant agreements on Visa/MC branded debit cards afford us similar protections for returns and I select rental cars/hotels that will take debit cards or cash. Spending within in our means (I.E. less than we make) is a much healthier choice for our family.

    Choosing not to make the CC/finance companies rich is good for us. Not carrying any payments except for our House (not for long) has brought us way more serenity than retail-therapy ever did. The borrower is servant to the lender. I will be a servant to no man. If I don’t have a fiver on me then I don’t need the overpriced latte flavor of the day.

    Need vs. Want . The stuff is Chess not Checkers.

  21. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    However, Wal-Mart stock is up over the last 6 months+ as people stop shopping at Target for Wal-mart…

    I’m still not going to stop shopping at Target and start shopping at Wal-Mart, I’ll just shop less often at Target…

  22. Eric1285 says:

    People have been out of money for a while…now they’re starting to run out of credit.

  23. forgottenpassword says:

    Target is the upscale version of walmart. Cleaner, wider aisles, and more expensive products. A place where upper-middle class housewives tend to shop.

    Walmart is for us regular schlubs who are just trying to survive. I always felt out of place at target.

    With the downturn in the economy…. walmart will be getting more of Target’s customer base.

    Note: I only went to target twice…. onece to check it out and find something (they didnt have & I eventually went to walmart because they DID have it) and another time to buy a microwave/ipod table-top radio combo deal.

    Never been back since

    • balthisar says:

      @forgottenpassword: “A place where upper-middle class housewives tend to shop.” Upper middle-class houswives would tend to go to Macy’s or Nordstrom’s or someplace in a big mall like that. Target is still kind of just normal middle class, like me.

      Even being normal middle class, if I want real quality, I’ll spring for it at a place that sells it, like Macy’s né Marshall Field’s né Hudson’s. In the long run, paying more for quality is cheaper for most items. $100 for a tent I’ll only use 10 nights a year? Meijer’s. $120 for a Wusthof chef’s knife that I’ll use every day for 10 years? Definitely Macy’s or Sur la Table or someplace that actually sells that brand.

    • Etoiles says:

      @forgottenpassword: Uh, my student loans are so exorbitant that I’m barely middle-class, and Target is still my store of choice. Particularly when I lived in New York City, but even now in suburban DC (VA side), I can stock up on necessities at Target once every 4-6 weeks for a lot less than I can spend at Safeway or CVS or whatnot.

      Meanwhile, my last experience at a Wal-Mart ended with me slipping on a spill their employee caused (I saw it just in time to see it but not in time to avoid it) and being ignored while I lay there on the floor with what later turned out to be a hell of a bruise on my head, and a sprained ankle. Guess where I will never go again.

    • Inglix_the_Mad says:

      @forgottenpassword:

      Mate, you wouldn’t catch me shopping at a Socialist-Mart on doomsday if I had a choice. If there is one company that embodies all of the bad behaviour in America today, it’s Socialist-Mart, followed closely by Commie-Club. Socialist-Mart complains about road access, utilities, taxes, et al, to the municipality where it is planning to build a store. They then get tax breaks / free upgrades that local / state tax dollars pay for.

      Wait, there’s more Bob. Not only that, but they shift profits around to avoid paying taxes in the host state (by shifting things to Arkansas) other than the immediate sales tax. I’m piling on here, but let’s continue. My ex-sister-in-law went to work at Socialist-Mart while she was in school a couple years back. She’s got two kids, no biggie. Well rather than pay someone that shows up 15 minutes early everyday (quite an accomplishment with kids) and whom works their tail off a bit extra for being a great example to other employees, they give her classes on how to collect social services.

      Mind you, Socialist-Mart b*tches about taxes non-stop. Whine whine, “We won’t build our store here unless you give us this, this, and oh, these tax breaks too!” They are more than prepared to use services to support their employees that suck up MY tax monies.

      Remember, always high prices at Socialist-Mart and Commie-Club tovarich. Well, at least when you factor in all the ancillary costs.

      FYI, when my ex-sister-in-law was working for Socialist-Mart, my brother got a job at a gas station. This was in the mid 90′s. My brother worked for a gas station as a cashier that had 50 stations in 4 states. HE had health insurance. HE was paid 10 bucks an hour, plus a percentage of sales if he worked +/- 32 hours week average. That company actually let him transfer UP to facilities (where he made even more, plus had optical and dental tossed in) while my ex-sister-in-law was let go (WI is an “at will” state) shortly before her 1 year review.

      Target, I know very little about. Socialist-Mart, however, I know enough of to not shop there unless it is the only thing open for 10+ miles. I won’t give my sales to the worlds largest retailer because they feel the need to use my tax monies to pad their bottom line.

  24. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    This is very strange to me – it should be entirely obvious to me that people should not spend what they don’t have the ability to pay for.

    Interestingly, I’m about to get a car. I don’t have any more money than many people, but I know better than to start buying things I don’t need – whereas I do need a car to get to work.

  25. forgottenpassword says:

    @HRHKingFridayXX:

    I take offense at the “middle america trash” comment.

    I am sure there are plenty of “trash” in the coastal states who are irresponsible with their money to rival the “trash” in the “flyover states”.

    Amazes me how the coasties have such contempt for middle america.

  26. TACP says:

    Out of money they never had? I knew all this charging was going to come back to bite everyone one day.

  27. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    last time i went to target [to return an impulse buy i never used and regretted] it was pretty dead.
    this past weekend at 3 different thrift stores looking for new pants for work: CROWDED!! so much so that two of them recently started accepting visa and mastercard as payment methods when they had until recently been check or cash only.

  28. TecmoTech says:

    Because for every 1 of you there are 15 people who spend beyond their means.

  29. Major-General says:

    I didn’t see it anywhere in the comments, but the reason that they may be worried about Target is that the Target card is issued by the Target bank. Much like something Wal-Mart wanted to do, but people screamed bloody murder about.

  30. boomerang86 says:

    I’ve found Target pricing to be (usually) within a few pennies of Wal-Mart, and in some rare instances even LESS.

    For every time I’ve shopped at Wal-Mart, I’ve been to the Target around the corner about twenty times. It’s SO much easier to shop there, no long checkout queues or indifferent employees. Stores and bathrooms are MUCH cleaner and well organized too.

  31. Invective says:

    Just as predicted, Insurance companies, next is these kinds of credit card companies, even student loans will be affected by the bank meltdowns. Pretty soon even Social Security won’t be safe, believe it. Meanwhile oil companies continue to put the screw to us so they can open up drilling. Big umbrellas! Purchase big umbrellas, because it’s going to rain more. What a damn dumb bunch of government officials and lemmings we have… I kinda like Target though. They are clean, they do have better stuff than does Wal-mart. (Of course almost any store has better stuff than Wal-mart.) Maybe a consumer bailout sometime in the near future? Since it cost me $40 bucks for one bag of items, all necessities and all not that impressive. They had a month to plan for oil shortages, Ike took a long damn time to hit. Oh yeah, while the Oil companies are at it, they can make sure there’s a gas shortage after the hurricanes hit. It fits with their agenda and that way we can drill for more oil. Baby that’s big on my ‘todo list’. I think we need to drill for brains and forget about oil all together. Personally I’m off the stuff and headed off to find a nice ‘Fuel Cell’ for power, this so’s I can afford things at Target. Who needs a grid anyway. I don’t… (And yes, all these things are connected, unfortunately.) Think independently and vote out the corrupted. Be original for a change…

  32. waggkri says:

    @freelunch

    I’m so glad you consider yourself so superior to those of us having problems. Should I apologize to you that I”m 3 years out of college (with a bachelor’s degree), can’t afford my rent (at a moderate apartment), can’t make enough to cover my bills and can’t even shop at a regular grocery store because I can’t afford it? The only debt I have are my student loans, I save as much as I can, started my 401K, and I don’t spend money on crazy things. To be honest, I haven’t bought much more than milk and bread for about a month. Does this make me a bad person? Would you call me irresponsible? I’m doing everything I can to be responsible, but our economy is set up for people like me to fail.

    You might want to think before you make blanket statements about us “irresponsible” people. We’re just like you.

  33. StyckyWycket says:

    I feel a lot better now for being “let go” from Kohl’s because I refused to hound customers to open charge cards. I let those who wanted them come to me.

  34. htrodblder says:

    I have always said that people shop at Target because they WANT to, and shop at Wal-Mart because they HAVE to.

  35. yesteryear says:

    i fear wal-mart will be the only major retailer left in this category after all of this is said and done. we’ve already seen the smaller department stores shrink or disappear all together – montgomery ward, kmart, mervyn’s, jcpenney, the list goes on. what a depressing future.

  36. mariospants says:

    Betcha you wish you’d bought Zellers now, dontcha, Target?

    Anyway, I love Target and I’ll continue to prefer it over its competitors.

  37. cybercjh says:

    Hooray! That’s my picture. ;-)

  38. bohemian says:

    Target has been generally on par as far as prices with Walmart, but Target’s products are far better and will last longer.

    I did notice that the price of everything at Target went up quite a bit when I did shopping last week. I had a strict list and had noted prices from the last time I bought those items. I ended up spending almost double of what I estimated and only had maybe two fairly cheap things that were not on my list. Prices are going up again.

    My cure is to start looking (again) and things we can cut out of our purchasing, make ourselves from cheaper ingredients or produce ourselves (like food).

    I think Target’s problem is two fold. Owning the credit card bank caused them to take a hit other retailers were sheltered from. Much of Target’s stores are in new McCastle developments. These neighborhoods are taking a huge hit financially.

    I have noticed the expensive sweatsuit, Starbucks toting, Coach purse carrying, H2 driving trophy wife set has all but gone into hiding in the last few months. The gym used to be jammed with them. The stores and the mall chuck full of them buying crap and more crap. The few times I have been out buying necessities this group of people is practically extinct.

  39. True story. You know those giant play balls they sell in the toy departments. At our Target they around $2.45. At our Wal-Mart they are $6.50. WTF?? I have notice that Wal-Mart prices are regularly higher for certain “non-sexy…don’t look good in a flyer” necessities like hammers, locks, do-it-yourself auto accessories and junk like that.

    Anybody else notice this?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @negative-ground: I haven’t, but that’s because I don’t shop at Wal-Mart. But I think it’s possible they do this because people don’t buy hammers every week. They do buy milk and other food items every week, at least consistently enough that they are lured by the promise of lower prices. But hammers, they’ll gladly mark up just a little because people who have conditioned themselves to associate Wal-Mart with lower prices (from shopping there for food) will go there first, thinking it’s probably cheaper than Home Depot (which it might be). They don’t sell hammers and DIY auto items as much as they sell other things, so there’s no reason to keep those prices low – when people need a hammer, and they go to Wal-Mart, they might not realize that Wal-Mart might not be as cheap as Home Depot, or Target, or any other place.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @negative-ground:

      I think wal-mart caters to more of a DIY type person, heck our target here doesn’t even have tools, other than the occasional screwdriver and flashlight. But they do have a huge department devoted to overpriced home decor! So when people need a tool or something related to that, they think wal-mart, at least in my area. Since wal-mart has the market cornered on that they can charge what they want to.

      I was looking for spray paint and only found a shelf about 1 foot in size in wal-mart with a few cans on it, and it was 5$ a can. I went to the hardware store nearby and they had a whole aisle devoted to it and most of it was on sale, at cheaper than wal-mart prices.

      Which illustrates one of wal-mart’s pitfalls, they don’t have sales. Since most things I buy outside of essentials are on sale, this pricing model doesn’t work for me. Wal-mart’s pricing is also anything but consistent and changes often. Since they don’t advertise it makes it super hard to track those prices where I can read the weekly ads online or at my dinner table for other stores and quickly compare prices. Not to mention wal-marts selection is extremely limited on everything, they have everything but what you need in their stores.

  40. battra92 says:

    You know, I haven’t been asked (harassed) for a Target card in a while.

  41. Avrus says:

    I can haz 10 billion bail out of Target also?

  42. theblackdog says:

    Please don’t let the Target nearby me go under, it’s only about 7 minutes away via car, and I would have to spend more gas money to get to the nearest Wal-Mart or Kmart.

  43. synergy says:

    Noooooo! Anything but Tarzhey!!!!