We’ve been writing about Target’s bizarre substitution suggestions for years, whether it’s telling customers that an elephant-shaped humidifier is a replacement for nicotine patches; or a flash drive is just as good as that flash bulb you were looking for; or to just go buy a mirror instead of a scale.
The newest one, posted on Reddit, suggests that since the store is out of Tums Chewy Cherry Antacid, don’t go and buy another chewable antacid. No, pick up a 10-pack of Trojan condoms instead.
A Target employee once gave some insight into the sometimes bizarre suggestions offered by Target:
“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.”
This sentiment is essentially confirmed by a reader on the Reddit thread who claims to be a Target staffer:
I will pretty much sub the first thing I see that is in the +/- $1 price range of the item. Because lazy. Also, you cannot sub an item that is a promotional item, and that’s usually all of the actually substitutable items. So if that particular size of tums are on sale, chances are most of the antacids within a similar range of price are also on sale.