Nowadays, thanks to Tom Emmer and friends, plenty of you are choosing to boycott Target. Which leaves us with the little problem of...where to buy good stuff?
Let's face it. Target really is one-stop shopping. You got your cotton undies, your cheap-but-reasonable homeware, your electronics, your megapacks of paper towels - to say nothing of the occasional Ruben Toledo beach towel. And it's all cheap, and it's all so easy. And yet, if you can't walk out with that red and white bag and face yourself in the mirror the next morning (or just want to make a non-ideological life change) are there options? Well, yes and no. Of course there are. But it's also true: big-box are big for a reason, and that reason's convenience. Still, if you don't want to patronize your local mom 'n pop - or don't have a local mom 'n pop - the following are good resources for some of people's favorite Target products.
Food and Groceries:
Costco, Sam's Club etc. are good for dry goods, canned goods, surprisingly tasty chocolate sheet cake and all the snuggies your heart could desire. To say nothing of discount copies of The Secret, jumbo packs of Fruit Roll-Ups and all kinds of random Kirkland and discount stuff it never occurred to you to want or need, until you realized you had to justify the cost of your rental car and membership card.
If you're serious about stocking up, it's hard to beat the value of Bulk Foods
And while Dollar Days has a changing roster, the prices on groceries and dry-goods are excellent.
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Homeware: It's obvious, but if you can make the shlep, handle the hassle, are prepared for them not to have what you want or feel like wielding that all-purpose tool for 18 hours, Ikea comes close to being all-purpose. Is it borderline-crummy? Yes. Anonymous? Sure. But then, in all fairness, you weren't going to be the only one in your dorm room with that Target beanbag chair, either. Especially good for: cookware, homeware, lighting, shelving. And meatballs.
Don't neglect the Container Store, either. Their Elfa shelving units are an attractive alternative to the ever-popular Ikea.
Crate and Barrel's younger, cooler, (slightly) cheaper sibling, CB2, can do a lot of what Ikea can do, but your modernist decor won't necessarily be recognizable from 20 paces. It's not quite as cheap, but it's good design for the price. Especially good for: dishes, glassware, bedding.
PJ's and Workout Clothes:
One name that comes up again and again in these discussions is Old Navy: good variety, good prices, plenty of 100% cotton.
JC Penney has a good selection - both on and offline - of both workout clothes and loungewear at competitive prices.
Jenna votes for Hessnatur, which she describes as "all ethically manufactured, mostly from organically grown fibers, and relatively cheaply priced."
When it comes to undies, don't be afraid of the front and center granny panties: Kohl's has plenty of styles. And for bras, Filene's Basement and Loehmann's are always worth a visit.
Designer Collaborations: Gotta level with ya, if you're trying to shop clean, it's going to be hard to find many diffusion sites that aren't fast-fashion problematic in some way - and let's face it, Target does a damn good job. If your issue is purely with Target Inc., you'll find good options at Urban, Kohl's and H&M. The Gap, of course, has been doing some nifty stuff with its CFDA winners collaborations, and while it's technically for dudes, Filson's collaboration with Levi's has bred some amazing, unisexy basics.
Accessories and Jewelry: Again, if you don't have qualms (or sensitive skin) Forever21 has a strong line in knockoff jewelry. Ditto Claire's and her offspring.
It may not provide the instant gratification, but we're big fans of the jewelry on NaughtySecretaryClub. And some of our favorite Etsy sellers carry some serious bargains. (Try RopesofPearls, Janiecox and NoisyButterfly to name but a few.)
When it comes to bags - yes, it's hard to turn your back on Mulberry for Target, we know. But while you have to dig, Handbagheaven.com just might scratch the itch. And if it's knockoffs you want? Look no further.
Craving Boots skincare? Keep in mind that Target's not your only source. Drugstore.com carries the same beloved products at Target-worthy prices.
...and we'd love to hear how you guys are weaning yourselves - if at all. Resources? Secrets? Tips? We're all in this together.