Tuesday, June 26, 2018

My Name is Ingrid...


"My name is Ingrid, and I'm addicted to Target."


I did not say those words!

They were spoken to me by the sweet concierge who greets me when I enter my hi-rise home in Seattle.  I wish I could deny this assertion, but it's true.  I may have a Target problem, but let me explain.



Living in the heart of Seattle, I do my grocery/housewares shopping in two locations.  The first is the phenomenal Pike Place Market where I get produce, meat, fish, flowers and a host of other items like thick balsamic vinegar and interesting spice mixes.  But the bounty doesn't end there!  Thankfully, a few years ago, a City Target opened half a block away, and I can't imagine life without it.  Anything I can't get in the Market, I can find in Target.


This is kind of my Target motto
City Targets are a slightly different breed than the superstore you may be used to way out in the sticks.  The stores are much smaller, and in an existing building.  They tend to sell items that in smaller packaging to fit in smaller urban households.  They don't play musicdo they play music in the suburban stores?

We have lots of colorful shoplifters!  Just the other day, I witnessed a man heading for the exit with a large bottle of Johnny Walker protruding from his sweatshirt.  It looked as if he were suffering from an unusually-shaped goiter, which did not fool Security, as you can imagine.



Where else can I find workout shirts for my husband, pork loins, candles, and ear buds.  In the market for a pool float?  I can't imagine why you would be in the downtown shopping district, but Target's got you covered.


Feeling virtuous?  Pick up a yoga mat and some steel cut oats.  Feel like breaking some dietary guidelines?  Look no further than aisle three on the first floor.


Another reason to revel in the warm glow of Target?  The store is inclusive (after some rough patches in the early years), both in its merchandise and in its hiring practices.  Want to know what America really looks like?  Come to my Target where the employees span races, ethnicities, religions, and gender.  We're all together, getting along!


My one bone to pick:  The book section of my store keeps shrinking, and I suspect this is true across the country.  It's tucked away in a corner on the third floor, where there is no foot traffic.  If you're looking for a padlock or a fishing lure, you might stumble upon it, but otherwise, it's a sad little spot with few visitors.  Come on, Target!  More books!

So I've admitted my addiction in a very public way, and I already feel better.  So good, in fact, that I may just have to wander over to Target later today and pick out a new nail polish.  Or a bottle of wine.  Or a shower caddy...

What about you, Reds and Readers?  Do you have a store that is your happy place?



And a little housekeeping: Brian Vincent, you've won a copy of David Joy's book!  Denise Ann, you've won a copy of Christine Carbo's latest since the first winner was a no-show!  Please send your mailing addresses to ingrid@ingridthoft.com.

92 comments:

  1. Our Target is just as wonderful as you describe, Ingrid . . . and the book section isn’t shrinking. It’s my first choice of a place to shop, but I must also admit that the local ShopRite is a rather awesome place, too. Of course, in the summer, there’s always the Farmer’s Market . . . .

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  2. I'm so glad to hear that your book department isn't shrinking! Wonder why ours is...

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  3. Lucky you, on the Market mostly, but also on having your own Alice's Restaurant. Since our K-Mart closed and because I refuse to shop at WalMart - and there's no Target near here - I often head to Tom's Discount down the road. Not for clothes or wine, but wrapping paper, garden gloves, and notepads? All there at half the cost. I haven't looked for nail polish and I know they don't have books, but a red dish drainer came home with me a couple of years ago, and some comfy pink flip-flops recently.

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    1. There's an old discount store called Gibson's in the town where I used to live, and everything you couldn't find anywhere else--and I do mean everything--could be found at Gibson's. The shelves never looked like they'd been restocked, but somehow exactly what you wanted was always there.

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    2. That is the second bone I have to pick with my store, actually. The shelves gets mysteriously empty despite the fact that they obviously have a computer inventory system. Was there a run on bacon? Sandwich rolls? I don't get it!

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  4. Ingrid,

    The Target in my town may have a decent sized book section but it is usually suffering from neglect. It looks like crap. The same goes for their music section, which is getting smaller all the time and it is usually stocked with varying degrees of greatest hits discs rather than actual studio albums. And it also suffers from neglect.

    I don't have one store that is a happy place, but I do like making my rounds on Saturday mornings (usually) to Barnes and Noble (books), Newbury Comics (music), New England Comics (comic books), Newsbreak (magazines) and lunch at the 99. I'm well known enough there that I can shoot the breeze with the staffers at each of these places for a bit.

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    1. Are you channeling Big Bang Theory here?

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    2. I remember growing up that we'd go to Harvard Square and visit the Newbury Comics in The Garage. We'd look for posters, records, music memorabilia, and then we'd have lunch at the WurstHaus. I'm showing my age! I'm glad there are still some Newbury Comics in business!

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    3. Ann,

      Not really. But I get your point.

      Ingrid, they are less about comics and music now and more about pop culture but still enough of the former two that I can still go there to get most of what I want.

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  5. I might have been in a Target store twice! There just isn't one anywhere near where I live. As a matter of fact there isn't much of anything! So you folks are pretty lucky in that regard!

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    1. I do consider myself lucky, Judi, although there is a whole lot of humanity that comes with the conveniences. That is not for everyone!

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  6. Target is a great addition to any community, because they give so much to local schools. (They still do, right?)

    When they opened in the Chicago area in 1993, a good friend became an instant convert. I envied her access to such a fun place. We finally got Target here in Cincinnati a few years later, and it's one of my go-to stores for many items.

    Ingrid, we also have an urban Target that opened last July near the University of Cincinnati campus. I've not been to it, but maybe it's time for a visit.

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    1. Putting on my grant writer hat here: Target does give relatively small grants to community-based organizations, but the application process is a pain, and you practically have to date a local store manager to get recommended. Maybe it's easier for schools, but for organizations that work in schools, not so much.

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    2. LOL, Gigi! Dating local store manager doesn't seem like a reasonable part of the application!

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  7. High school grads love Target gift cards. Otherwise, I make my weekly grocery store run to Trader Joe's, a butcher, and produce market. Same prices, better quality.

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  8. I haven't been to Target in years, just not convenient for me. However I approve of them 100%. I like the way they give back to the community.

    When the Murrah Building was bombed, I was living in OKC and working within six blocks of it. The horror was unmentionable. They put out a call for socks and underwear for the rescue workers, mostly firemen from all over the country. I went to Target and filled up a basket. The items were flying off the shelves faster than the employees could restock, and we cleaned Target out of socks and undies that day. When I got to the cash register, the cashier rang me up and then subtracted 10%. That was Target's contribution to the cause. Impressive.

    Side note: Every rescue worker got the clean dry clothing they needed and they also got three hot meals a day, contributed by the city's restaurants from McDonalds on up, plus unlimited hot coffee and water. They were housed in hotels and motels, every place that had a bed. It was the finest example of people working together I've ever seen.

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    1. That's amazing, Ann. A nice reminder of people coming together for the common good!

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  9. So crazy, I have never been to a target! Have I? I just think there isn’t one nearby… But now I am so curious!
    I just say I’m a big Costco fan. From wonderful rows of ribbon to perfect rack of lamb, it is pretty darn amazing.

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    1. Costco fan here, too. Then Safeway supermarket for non-big package stuff, and Trader Joe's for "goodies".

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    2. I agree with you on Costco, Hank. Our issue is that we don't have enough room to store most Costco items.

      There used to be a Target in Framingham. Is there one in Watertown? I may be making that up.

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    3. Yeah it just drives me crazy now to pay however much paper towels cost in a grocery story when they are essentially free at Costco. I think it's the same price for 20 rolls at Costco as it is for two at the regular grocery. Something like that.

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    4. Hank, their toilet paper and a few other items (like the $1.50 hot dog and soft drink deal) are loss leaders. However, they bring people to the store, and once they're there Costco successfully sucks mega-$$$ from my, er, their wallets with all the other bargains they have.

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  10. Our Target is in our local mega-mall, hence I avoid it. However, when I DO go, I have to say I'm very impressed by the knowledgeable staff (!) that inevitably greets me as I wander aimlessly trying to find the (fill-in-the-blank).

    My 'happy place' is actually (don't laugh) my local Stop 'n' Shop. I know, standard supermarket. But ours (in North Quincy, MA) has had the same staff for years and they're REALLY nice and the fish department is superb even if they don't have a huge array of choices. And even if you can't get a descent head of lettuce there and the baked goods are mediocre at beset. For those I go to what we call our local Yuppie Market (we have no nearby Whole Foods or Trader Joes) where the produce is exquisite and there are good breads (but lousy bagels).

    What I wish we had is a descent bakery. There are lots of them, but nothing in them (imho) worth the calories.

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    1. Is there one baked good in particular by which you judge a bakery, Hallie? A litmus test?

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    2. The ingredients label is #1.
      It's SO EASY to make a really good apple pie, and yet among baked goods they're rarer than hen's teeth.

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    3. Hallie, I make a pretty good apple pie in case you’re in the neighborhood

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  11. No Target for me--it's in our mall, which has a tax-free Apple store, which means bus loads of computer shoppers clogging every exit. I like BJs (our equivalent of Costco) but my really happy place is the big department store, Boscov's. When I was young, my grandmother would dress up in a suit and come with us to New Orleans so she could shop the big department stores. I always think of her, though I don't go so far as to dress in a suit!

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    1. I love that image, Ramona. People don't even pull up their pants to shop in my store! That said, I love that I don't have to venture into a traditional mall to get my Target fix.

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  12. I'm with Edith--life hasn't been the same since the local K-Mart closed. It had a great location, easy parking and in-and-out accessibility, NOT a Superstore, so easy to find what you needed. And a great staff, too. I have to make runs all over the place today to make up for it. :-(

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    1. I remember K-Mart and Caldors! Now I'm really dating myself!

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    2. Our local K-mart was not so great. Looooong checkout lines. I went twice and never went back. And ten they closed.

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    3. OOOH! Caldors! That was a happy place as a kid. After the shopping, we would stop by the tobacco stand (Mersham pipes anyone?) and dad would sample the pipe tobacco, and regretfully (maybe?) decline. Then off to the soft pretzel rack for a snack on our way home.

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  13. Ingrid, my local bookstore is my happy place. Love the farmer's market. I remember Pike Place Market from my visit to Seattle.

    Diana

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    1. Bookstores are always happy places for me, too!

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  14. There are two Barnes and Noble stores between where I work and where I live, which makes them the perfect place to get off the road for half and hour or so if the traffic is too annoyingly heavy. Or, y'know, if I just "need" a new book. I have stacks of unread books purchased at moments like this.

    Over the years my happy places have also included PetSmart, and more recently Calloway's nursery--so many pretty plants! But the worst shopping addiction I ever delighted in happened when a guy named Joe opened a fountain pen store in Dallas. Warren and I both liked fountain pens, so Joe and his excellent assistant, Lowell, became our good friends. We would drive all the way in from the country to visit them, and it hit the point that their clerks would greet me by name if I dropped by at lunchtime to browse. One Christmas I got Lowell to play Secret Santa for me as I arranged to get Warren the very special pen he had been longing for--only to find that Lowell had also played Secret Santa for Warren when I opened my present to find the special pen I'd had my eye on. These days I don't mess with fountain pens much, but there are some amazing ones tucked away around the house.

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    1. But we always "need" new books, right, Gigi! When I had a yard or even just a patio with pots, I loved going to the nursery. All that color!

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    2. I built a little plant stand for a shady place on my patio, and now I water and mist my plants daily, then sit for a while if it's cool enough, to commune with the toad who has taken up residence in one of the ferns. But I think maybe one or two more begonias . . .

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  15. My husband says I cannot walk into Target without spending $100. I wish I could argue with him, but...

    I bet the Target that is in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh is structured like yours. The building was mostly there, multiple floors, it's own parking garage. If I didn't find driving into the area such a pain, I'd check it out.

    The closest Target to me is more suburban. One big floor, built where an old Ames store was (remember Ames?). But no music. And the book section is right next to the electronics and video games.

    Mary/Liz

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    1. That's what happens to me, too, Mary/Liz! My mom was visiting recently, and I said I had to stop in to get a few things. Twenty minutes later, I had a full shopping cart! She said, "I thought you only needed a few things." But the store always knows that I need more...;)

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    2. Yes! The store knows. That's why I have so many cute sets of bowls. Yeesh.

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  16. Huh... our Target book section has expanded - twice. But it's not a multi-level and it sits across the street from what was once a Borders. Maybe it depends on the market?

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    1. Must, and I'm so glad to hear it. Ours will soon fit in one of the changing rooms!

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  17. I enjoy Target. I enjoy Costco. I love, love, love Vroman's bookstore in Pasadena, CA. This amazing indie bookstore has been in the same location on Colorado Blvd since 1894. This is my happy place.

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    1. I LOVE Vroman's, Lyda!!! When I've been there for signings, I've had to be dragged out:-)

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    2. I've never been there, Lyda. I'm going to add it to the list!

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    3. Yes, since Acres of Books closed in Long Beach, Vroman's is my next happiest place.

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  18. My office is right on the edge of the giant Ohio State University campus, and there is a Target store right around the corner from me. It really caters to the university crowd in its merchandise, but I haven't found that to be a bad thing -- just something I've noticed. It is surprising how often I will run into Target on my lunch hour to pick up that one missing food item that will allow me to cook the dinner I have in mind, or some random household or clothing item that needs to be replaced. I have actually fallen in love with their assortment of nuts and trail mixes that they sell in large jars. I used to make a special trip to Trader Joe's for such items, but I have found Target's to be of equal quality, with frankly a wider selection, and competitively priced.

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    1. I love the Peanut Butter Monster trail mix, Susan! It's yummy!

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  19. We have Target, and Super Target, and I do shop there sometimes. But since we got Trader Joe's five minutes from my house, that is my happy place. I think all the employees know me by name by now:-) But I'm very cross with Joe's at the moment. I had discovered that they sell the most fabulous bread, a 100% whole wheat organic sourdough artisan loaf called Pain Pauline. It comes in a half round, and is the whole wheat bread I've dreamed of (and failed to make successfully) my entire life. And then I discover that they are discontinuing Pain Pauline due to lack of sales (somehow this doesn't surprise me, as it took me a year to discover it, on the bottom shelf on the back side of the bakery bread display.) So if any of you live near a Joe's, please email customer service and ask them not to discontinue Pain Pauline!!! I would be forever grateful!

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    1. That's so annoying. Have you tried their frozen chocolate croissants? They're delicious!

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    2. Now you're going to make me give in to temptation, lol.

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  20. Oh, I'm a CostCo shopper, too, although I am always staggered by the amount of money I can spend there. But it's a fascinating experience because the customers are so diverse. There are large Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, Chinese, and middle Eastern communities in that part of north Dallas, and they all shop at Costco. A new Costco is opening in July about a mile from my house but I suspect the clientele will be considerably less interesting.

    A trip to Costco for me usually includes a stop at my book happy place, my nearest Barnes & Noble, where I hit the magazine rack every month for the latest British home and garden mags.

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    1. And our Costco has a great book section! They also feature a couple of books every month in their magazine.

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    2. Yes, ours has a great book section too!

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    3. Do you read "Ideal Home," Debs? That's one of my favorite British home and garden mags. Any other suggestions?

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    4. One of my faves has always been the UK version of Country Living. So much better than the US. But I love Ideal Home, and English Home is my very, very favorite these days.

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    5. I'll check it out at B&N. Thanks!

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  21. I don't know that I have a store that is my happy place. The Disney Store used to qualify when they had some adult collectibles, but now it is all toys and clothes, so not as much.

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  22. I love, love, love Target. My daughters have to drag me past the housewares section every time I go in. "You don't NEED another platter, Mom." My Target go-tos: Socks, underwear, make-up and toiletries, vitamins and allergy meds, cards and fancy office supplies.

    Don't tell Youngest, but I'm really looking forward to the big dorm room shop we'll be doing this August! When else do I have the excuse to buy color-coordinated hangers, bath towels and throw rugs?

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    1. Julia, I would love to do that dorm shopping with you, and I don't even have a kid going to college (or any kids for that matter)! Bliss!

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    2. I adore Target's sheets and towels and such. I buy waaaaay too many things when I go to that part of the store.

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    3. To chime in with Gigi, I am a BIG fan of the Target sheets! Mainly because they sell separates! You don't have to buy an entire sheet set if you only want a fitted queen sized sheet. Nice thread count, pretty colors that just mix and match really well. I appreciated this greatly just a few years ago when we bought out first home. Went from a converted 1790's Carriage House (G-D Barn, in my opinion by the time we left) with a sleeping loft to a three bedroom Arts and Crafts Home "in need of upgrading" according to the real estate listing (beat up bungalow). Home of my heart, but I'm not made of money over here. Target, here we come! Also, you folks who can buy BOOZE at Target? So jealous. Blue state here, still with Blue Laws. I'll see you at the Packie.

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  23. Happy places. . . Trader Joe's and World Market would qualify. Half Price Books. Buchanan's Native Plants to gaze at what I can't grow. Tractor Supply Co. for clothes, gardening supplies, pet supplies, stuff. As for Target, I used to shop there but swore them off. Long story but it revolves around poor customer service. I'd shop in hell first! H.E.B. has a specialty grocery called Central Market. I haven't been there in years because it is not close. They have a fabulous bakery, wine shop, produce section, meat and seafood. Everything. I just have no desire to drive eight miles through a very trafficky area to visit it.

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    1. World Market is another one of my favorites, Pat. I can do a lot of damage in that place. ;)

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    2. Trader Joe's went in where our World Market was. Now I have to drive fifteen miles to World Market. But if I had to choose between the two, I'd rather have Trader Joe's.

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  24. I'm lucky in that TJ Maxx and Target are by each other (with one small store in-between). Not all TJ Maxx stores are created equal. I've been in some that were messy and junky looking, but our TJ Maxx is a well-run, nice store in which all sorts of items await my exploring, and they have some interesting furniture pieces, too. I saw a book shelf unit that could hold a television on top the other day, and I still want it for my bedroom. Then, with Target next door, I can continue my happy journey, as our Target has a nice book section. Of course, I love Barnes and Noble, but it's 40 minutes away.

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    1. My TJ Maxx is surprisingly nice despite being on a dodgy street. I've found some great treasures there.

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    2. My interior designer/shopper friend LIVES in Homegoods. You can find some amazing stuff there, but there does seem to be a big difference in the stores.

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    3. Oh, and Marshall's is a part of that chain with TJ Maxx and Homegoods, too. I have found some good things at the Marshall's store 40 minutes away in Evansville, but I don't like it as well as TJ Maxx here. I'm not sure if we have a Homegoods near me. I need to check that out.

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  25. And a vote for Marshalls. You can zip through in 10 minutes and you never know what you're going to find. Ours as the advantage of being less than 3 minutes away, all back roads.

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    1. Ohh, Marshalls. You can find some good stuff there. I only wish there were one closer.

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    2. Marshall’s and TJMaxx and their love child, Home Goods. Best place ever to buy stuff I really don’t need!

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  26. Yard sales are also high on my happy places list. Though it's harder and harder to find a good one.

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    1. Am often tempted by yard sales. Then I remember my basement and attic. When I get a yen for a new lamp or just the right picture for the foyer, I go shop the attic. Cheaper and parking is never a problem

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  27. Here in Doylestown, PA we don't have much in the way of big stores. I don't drive, and so for the most part, it's got to be in walking distance. We have two supermarkets, a smaller grocery store, a food co-op and on Saturdays a farmers market. There are a couple of bakeries. A Kmart if you are willing to walk a bit. Our BonTon is closing. There are an independent bookstore and two used bookstores that share the same building. Our local chamber of commerce is always urging us to buy local. But I have to admit, when I have money to spend, I often find myself buried in the bowels of Amazon. (And they say that Google is about to start delivering groceries.)

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    1. Amazon delivers everything here in Seattle. Sometimes it's hard to resist the lure of same day shipping...

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  28. Late to the party as I was shopping for the family in my favorite store, Bishop's Farm Market. Great produce and fruit, most of it grown there, but also homemade peanut butter, tons of cheese, the best oil, vinegar, tomato products, pickles...I love the place! But it's one of a kind, you'd have to come to Guilford CT to visit...

    My other favorite? RJ Julia booksellers of course, right in Madison. Rhys and I will be there August 9, with Hallie in tow. Taking relatives there in the next few days. Yay!

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    1. I follow RJ Julia on Instagram, but I've never had the pleasure of going to the store. You're fortunate to have such a great indie bookstore, Lucy!

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    2. Ah, Bishops! That's my go-to weekly pickup stuff as its just off the highway and about halfway between work and home. My July 4th plan is to stop on the way home on Tuesday to pick up a flat of strawberries that will be jam the next afternoon. And they have their own ice cream--Coconut with chips! AND a great selection of really elegant fruit dessert wines. (I gush! Not a Bishops secret agent--just loves the place!) And the cheese bar--don't get me started!

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  29. Lucy - I love Bishops! I haven't been there in years but I remember they have really good pie. Embarrassingly, my favorite store to get away from it all is the hardware store. Lowe's Home Depot, Ace, - I love them all and can spend hours in the gardening section, looking at paint chips, to cabinet hardware. I am an absolute home improvement nerd.

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    1. Paint chips are my downfall, Jenn. My husband looks stricken if I go near the paint department.

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  30. I love Target, and make a Target "run" about every five or six weeks. It's a great place to get paper products and cleaning supplies. Also, their own socks last longer than name brand socks, in my experience.

    I'm not much of a fan of TJ Maxx or Marshall's, as they almost never have what I need. I adore Home Goods and recently bought myself a nice retirement gift there!

    Overall, I go shopping as infrequently as possible, though, and do more and more Amazon shopping. No crowds, no standing in line, etc

    DebRo

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    1. I recently got paper products from Costco, since I was tired of lugging them home from Target. I had to do some serious closet rearranging to find a place to put it all away. Costco definitely counts on buyers having a lot of space.

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  31. I love my Giant Food Stores and go to two farmers' markets. Stauffers of Kissel Hill Nursery several times in the spring and sometimes in the fall for plants. I love Barnes and Noble but am a little annoyed with them. They used to have a New section for each genre so I could fill my basket quickly. Now I have to take my Cozy-Mystery lists to find new books.

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    1. Are those Giant Eagles, Sally?

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    2. No,they're Giant Foods in Pennsylvania. I go to 3 different ones depending on what errands I have to run.

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  32. I have developed a love of Aldi. Good quality merchandise and it changes frequently. Reasonable organic produce and dairy products. They also carry strange things you didn't know you needed, like German honeyed almonds and peanut butter pretzels .

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    1. I guess I am going to have to try Aldi. I keep hearing good reviews of it. I like the idea of finding strange things I didn't know I needed. Hahaha!

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