Tuesday, August 23, 2011


After lunch we had one of those out and about errand running sessions where each task seems to suggest the next. One such task was buying new water bowls for the cats, one for inside and one for outside. As we left Pet Smart, I recalled that I needed razor blades, which we could buy at Target, just two parking lots away. 

I found the razor blades, in the eight pack size, but could not get the box off the rack. The blades were packed in a cardboard box that has a tab with a hole the size of a standard hole punch in it. The hole slips over a metal rod, and you used to be able to pull a box off the rod. This particular rod, however, formed  a closed loop with the addition of a plastic cap connecting the lower and upper rods. A passing shopper called my attention to a sign that said that some items were in locked displays and that I would need a sales team member to assist me. 

Imagine a knitting needle running through the hole. Now imagine the knitting needle bent into a narrow "U" with plastic connecting the two legs.
I used the handy red phone to call for help. A team member, looking suspiciously like a stock clerk, showed up, listened to my problem, and explained that he would have to call someone else. That person arrived, and told me he would have to get the one remaining key, which was all the way across the store.

As I waited for him, I found myself wishing that I had followed my first impulse, which was to rip the box off the rack and put it in the cart with my other items. It wouldn't have been too hard to tear from the edge of the tab to the hole.

It wasn't too hard to rip the box like so, which would have made it fall off the rod.
When the team member (not my term, that's what Target calls them) showed up with the key, he apologized for the delay and explained that since that one style of key unlocks all of the merchandise security features, like tags on clothing, some team members have been stealing the keys and using them to steal merchandise from the stores.

Okay, let's recap. In order to keep customers from stealing $20 grooming supplies, Target has installed display racks which require a key to get the items. The key in question also unlocks security devices on even more expensive items, making the keys themselves subject to theft. In the meantime, frail 64 year old ladies like me can defeat their security system pretty easily, when it comes to razor blades. Remind me again, when politicians talk about running government like a business, why do they say it like it's a good thing?

So now I am faced with what passes for a moral dilemma around my house. In the future when buying razor blades at Target, do I wait five minutes for someone to show up with the key, or can I just tear the box off the rack and pay for it at the counter with the rest of my items?

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