Deep down I feel I must be loyal to Bed, Bath and Beyond. After all, it is the only store that lets you reserve dozens of items at your local branch, then edit your order when you get to your college town, without paying in advance. And they allow you to use coupons that expired in 2004.
But today I found myself in Target, B,B&B's principal dorm-supply competitor. I was there on a mission to find an essential collegiate item that I had never heard of until last week: 3M Command Strips, which are used to hang up posters in dorm rooms without damaging the wall. The entire westside of Los Angeles is out of the miracle substance because there are an awful lot of Bob Marley images waiting to be hung at UCLA and USC.
I scored big time command strip-wise, then wandered the aisles, remembering when I used to go there for T-ball equipment and Power Ranger underwear. I ended up buying a microplush blanket for CJ, another newish item…comfort bedding - sort of like a stuffed animal hide. I also checked out the underbed storage drawers offered for three days only as a College Prep Special, and became depressed when I saw that they were hipper and cheaper than the ones we registered for at B,B&B.
I returned home, vowing never to go back to Target…unless, of course, I need to return something I bought today. It was just too intense reliving all my child-oriented bargain purchases of the last 18 years and seeing all the better deals we could get if we were driving to CJ's school, rather than flying.
Then I glanced at the parents' forum on College Confidential and discovered that I am in the minority. Other senior moms go to Target for an uplifting experience, not a melancholy one. One frequent contributor, named lindz126, confessed:
"oh and the Target thing…it was my therapy last yr after my s left for college—whenever I felt sad I'd go to Target, wander around, you know like you can only do at Target, and fill a basket to send him as a care package. always worked to make me feel better. feel connected to him. "
Darn! On top of everything else, I have developed Target Aversion Syndrome. No care packages for my son – unless I can bring myself to find solice at Ikea.