Need A Nicotine Fix? Have An Elephant-Shaped Humidifier

Even after a Target employee explained to us why the store’s “instant substitutions” that they put in place when a sale item sells out make no sense, we still find them utterly hilarious. Sorry, Target.


Raymie in Arizona spotted this handy substitution. They’re out of the nicotine patches that are on sale, but perhaps you would prefer an adorable elephant humidifer?

Think it over. This is what that humidifier looks like:


Of course, the humidifier ended up as an instant substitute because it’s in the same aisle as the nicotine patches. Both are in the health care department, you see. Our 2010 tipster explained to us how this works:

A substitution isn’t a real substitution, it’s Target’s way of saying, “F***, we have no more of this, and we have a rain check for you, but we’re going to immediately put something else on sale right now that you might enjoy also.” Stores actually get graded on how many substitutions are attached to rain checks. The more substitutions, the higher the score, the higher the store ranks in their region.

For instance – say a 5×7 white frame is on sale but the store is out of it. The employee sets up a rain check and gets a substitution prompt. They have to find an item in that aisle that isn’t also on sale to put on sale. In the frame aisle, you have a good chance of finding something decent to substitute. In other aisles, you might not be so lucky. Like the iPod. There is nothing logical to substitute – so a lot of the time we find an accessory to substitute. Now you get earbuds on sale, and a rain check for the sale price of the iPod if you’re willing to wait a couple of extra days. It’s a shame that it’s poorly named and not well explained to customers who must look at those signs and think the employees are really only earning their minimum wage.

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