If you're shopping at Target for Cyber Monday, screw the gadgets – buy household essentials.
As someone whose usual reticence at indulging in extravagant consumerism is overruled come Black Friday weekend, the one place I knew I was getting a deal on Sunday was the house of Bullseye.
(Disclaimer: I am not, nor have I ever been, an employee of Target; nor have I been paid in cash/chocolate/compliments by Target to write this; nor do I have any relatives/friends/neighbors who work at Target; or even have strong feelings about Target one way or the other.)
Last year Target offered 15 percent off, but only online. This year, in an arguably game-changing move, the same 15 percent off everything – including items already on sale (with some exclusions) – still applies, but in stores too, on both Sunday AND Monday.
So I was too busy stocking up on cheaper groceries and everyday necessities to be worried about the electronics section.
I usually avoid Target's grocery section as the choice can be limited and some things can be pricier, but there I was Sunday grabbing food and drinks – not to mention cat litter, socks, baby stuff, and Christmas decorations you don't usually find on sale 'til after Dec. 25.
It was busier than usual, but it's a little bit of frustration for a decent chunk of money off your weekly shop.
And that's how to treat the offer, like your weekly shop. It's stuff that you buy because you need it, so getting 15 percent off something you'd buy anyway is too good to pass up. (And if you have a REDcard, you get an extra 5 percent knocked off when you pay.)
That said, I probably bought a little bit more than I usually would. I totally fell into Target's trap and did exactly what they wanted me to do – though it looks like I'm not the only one.
How did this come about?
When Target offered 15 percent off everything online last year, its website buckled from huge traffic. Shoppers were delayed from making purchases for around 40 minutes at one point, as Fortune reported.
By taking what it describes as the "unprecedented" step of spreading it out to two days and offering the deal in stores as well as online, the hope was to avoid those same problems.
There's also the likelihood that starting the sale earlier and moving it in-store is an assault on the Cyber Monday dominance of Amazon.
Announcing the offer last week, Target's CIO Mike McNamara says he believes the retailer's deal "is a major shopping trend."
"I predict we’ll start to see more and more retailers merge their online and stores strategies and promotions," he said. "In this case, that means bringing online events like Cyber Monday into physical stores."