Opinion: Target is not clean or affordable like it used to advertise

By Farah Bassyouni Mar 31, 2023

For residents of Bloomington-Normal, there are a select few grocery stores that become packed on weekends with college students and families. Target is considered the ideal place to shop for decent quality groceries, clothing, home goods at a more reasonable price. While its reputation precedes it, I’d argue that the local Target has been worse for wear the past few months, and college students should take their business elsewhere. 

For one, Target is advertised as a grocery store where products are a bit more expensive but you’re also paying for clean aisles and a bright open atmosphere. This couldn’t be less true at the Target in town. Recently, I strolled through one particular makeup aisle and saw the same two half-empty Starbucks drinks rotting away on the shelf. Every time I’ve gone since, the nasty cups have not been moved an inch. I’ve also found discarded wrappers and drinks in other aisles. On top of that, most of the aisles are empty because they can’t keep up with the sheer amount of shoppers. The shopping experience has become incredibly unpleasant and shows just how much the store is struggling to maintain that clean atmosphere they advertise. 

If I’m paying extra for a nice shopping experience and not receiving it, then the prices are simply absurd. For an 18 oz box of plain Cheerios, Target charges $4.99. At Jewel-Osco, the same product is a whole dollar cheaper. Target is also one of the only grocery stores that doesn’t have a solid coupon system. Students can sign up for a Target rewards account and earn points every time they shop, but there are little to no coupons that actually help the customer. One of the most common coupons they offer is if you spend twenty dollars or more, you receive a $5 gift card at checkout. Other coupons rarely go above 20 percent off, some I’ve seen only give 5 percent off. Target isn’t an accessible grocery store for everyone, especially college students and families. 

To replace Target, I suggest everyone go to a different grocery store that is just as good, if not better: Jewel-Osco. Jewel-Osco is the hidden gem of the midwest. Jewel-Osco has so many unique perks that makes it a top competitor to the Target in town. Compared to Target’s dismal produce section, Jewel-Osco’s produce is abundant, even with fruits I didn’t think Bloomington-Normal would have. The aisles are always clean and well stocked. Jewel-Osco’s products tend to be cheaper, as well. Jewel-Osco also has a rewards program with coupons that actually save you money. For instance, if you shop at Jewel-Osco enough and save up enough points, they can be converted into fuel points that save you a few bucks at the gas station. Target’s points system does not offer this kind of game changer. 

I could go on about how Jewel-Osco will always be my go to grocery store over Target. Target doesn’t have a hot food bar or fresh sushi or massive bags of fresh in house tortilla chips for $2.99 a bag. If you’re tired of Target’s lackluster shopping experience, I suggest making the switch sooner rather than later.

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