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East Bay Unwrapped: The New Target

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Shovels? Check. Buckets? Check. Bunny ears? Check.

Nestled in the heart of the hyper-industrial, super-consumer heaven that is Emeryville, California, a new Target (or “Tar-jay” as middle-aged white ladies call it), is born. Some of you are probably wondering, “Why does this earth need another Target? We already have 300 of them in California alone!” But, honestly, where else are you going to buy economy packs of paper towels and $1 cotton underpants? Appropriately located next to Babies “R” Us and the Rug Depot Outlet, this new Target will supply everything those stores can’t, and even some of the things they can. Of course, there are also some inevitable drawbacks to shopping there. Take my hand, and let me walk you through the new Target experience.

Welcome to Fan Central (but only if you're an Athletics fan)!

My first impression of this place was, “Yep, I’m in Emeryville.” As soon as you enter the single story monster space, you’re greeted by “Fan Central,” a wall of East Bay sports apparel and paraphernalia. Since I already have an Athletics hat and t-shirt, I was tempted by the stuffed Stomper. But when I remembered I wasn’t five years old anymore, I advanced to the cosmetics department instead.

My exciting discovery! Too bad it's $7.

It was in cosmetics where I first realized that, despite being a smaller store than the Albany location, this Target carried some special items that I had rarely or never seen before. To start, there was the Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm, which doesn’t sound terribly exciting, but when you think you have a firm grasp on the spectrum of Burt’s Bees products, it’ll throw you through a loop. Then there was the Method brand all-purpose cleaner in French lavender (yeah, I bought it). Finally, in the outdoor and recreation department, I found that bean bag toss game that the frat boys call “nutsack” or “dickhole” or whatever (didn’t buy it). The bad news is that none of these items were particularly cheap. It seems like they were just there for the sake of novelty. But don’t fret; the $1 bargain bins, a Target staple, still occupied some real estate on the floor, even though it was replete with Easter junk. Give it another month, and it’ll be back to the usual bric-a-brac.

It was impossible to ignore just how clean and tidy the space was. As silly as it might sound, this Target’s level of organization really did encourage me to shop around more. The rows of brightly-colored swimsuits were impeccable, and the media department was literally glowing. I would encourage you to take advantage of this rare feature as soon as possible, because just like that guy you’re “dating” from OkCupid, it ain’t gonna last. Keep in mind that I visited Target in the third week of its infant life; just imagine the obnoxious, pimple-faced teenager it will probably grow into. Yuck.

Target: the one stop shop for home supplies and driver's licenses.

Quite possibly the strangest characteristic of the store is the checkout system. Here’s how it works: First, choose a line. Then, watch it ever-so-slowly dwindle away as the overhead screen instructs customers to either wait or proceed to lines one to 16. It’s just like the DMV. Isn’t that what you want to be reminded of when you’re just trying to run errands on a Sunday afternoon? There’s a reason why everyone dreads waiting at the DMV; their system doesn’t work, and neither does this one, because it took us 20 minutes to get through the line. Annoying!

All things considered, is the new Target really worth it? For us Oaklandites and Emeryvillagers, it’s a godsend. Traveling all the way to Albany just to buy magic erasers or a hamper was a real pain in the ass. However, the traffic along 40th Street rivals the sense of frustration one feels on Gilman. It’s a hot mess. Another unfortunate truth of the Emeryville Target is that it’s not really accessible by foot. The nearest BART station is MacArthur, which is a 25 minute walk away, according to Google Maps. You better bring your bicycle.

Of course, before you even set foot in a Target, you need to decide whether or not you can overlook its troubled past. But, whoopsie, that’s an entirely different discussion.

1555 40th Street [Emeryville]
Mon. to Sat. 8am – 10pm, Sun. 8am – 9pm

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Mia Di Pasquale - Scroungy Scribbler

Mia Di Pasquale - Scroungy Scribbler

Mia is a nice Italian girl from an exotic Italian colony called New Jersey.  She studied English Literature and Screenwriting at Drexel University in Philadelphia and has no intention of ever being a teacher.  Instead, she produces low-budget films with her crew/friends, one of which actually won a contest hosted by AMC and judged by Mr. Robert (Rob) Zombie.  She currently lives and loves in beautiful Oakland, California, which, she maintains, is just as great as and even sunnier than San Francisco.