What Your Target Purchases Say About You

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Attention Target Shoppers!

Recently there was a big fuss over Target and how it tracks customer purchases. Target has ways of saving information about you, even if you are not using their credit card or debit card. If you typically use the same credit card or debit card each time you shop, Target knows you! Target compiles a list of items you buy when you shop at their store. Based on this list, Target is able to give you "personalized coupons" while at the store once you check out. Have you ever had the cashier hand coupons to you with your receipt? Yes, Target has been watching you! Your purchases say something about you and Target is monitoring your every move.

The article that brought a lot of attention to this matter was about a teenage girl receiving coupons for baby products in the mail. Yes, Target can even figure out your address based on your credit card billing address. Welcome to the scary world of big brother watching your every move! At any rate, this teenage girl had purchased items that Target had researched and determined pregnant women were most likely to buy. I mean, obviously if a woman is buying a pregnancy test and maternity tops, it is kind of a no-brainer that she is having a baby. However, Target has really narrowed this down and even figured out buying more lotion can indicate a pregnancy. So basically, Target kindly sent the girl coupons for baby items and her father flipped out. He complained to Target about sending this type of thing to a teenager, only to apologize shortly after when his daughter admitted she was pregnant. Wow, Target knew she was pregnant before her own father!

I've been putting a lot of thought into this matter and I've decided Target could also utilize this amazing stalking ability for other types of customers. After all, your Target purchases say a lot about you as a person. So why shouldn't Target cash in on other types of folks? As Target tracks (or targets!) everyone more each day, let's discuss what your Target purchases really say about you.

Customer List #1

  • Slim Fast
  • Green tea
  • Salads
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Work out clothing
  • "Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred" on DVD
  • Running shoes

Purchases a week later...

  • Twinkies
  • Bag of Reese's peanut butter cups
  • Ice cream
  • T-shirts
  • Soda
  • Ridiculous romance novel
  • Kleenex tissues

Type of customer: Failed Dieter

Target should send some coupons to this person for jeans that add a "slimming effect" and perhaps a coupon for Diet Coke. After all, this minor setback doesn't have to mean a total fail. So wipe those tears away, Failed Dieter. You can lose that weight with that Jillian Michaels DVD in no time! Perhaps some coupons for some other Biggest Loser workouts would be best. Jillian is a little too tough on everyone.

Customer List #2

  • Large trash bags
  • Shovel
  • Bleach
  • Paper towels
  • Gloves
  • Ski Mask
  • Duct tape
  • Set of knives

Type of customer: Serial Killer

In this situation, Target might want to alert the authorities. However, it is hard for any business to say "no" to a customer. In this case, some coupons for some Clorox Wipes or perhaps some dark sunglasses might be the best idea. I mean, how do we know this person doesn't work out in the yard a lot and have the need to keep a clean bathroom? You never know.

By the way, if you see a person in line behind you at Target buying these items, RUN!!!

Customer List #3

  • Crayons
  • Coloring books
  • Stickers
  • Magic markers
  • Poster board
  • Daiquiri mix
  • "Bad Teacher" on DVD
  • Red Bull

Type of customer: Tired Teacher

This poor customer has been listening to bratty kids all day long. She is looking forward to getting her drink on tonight to wash away the annoying children's voices in her head. It has been a long day and she's had just about enough. A tired teacher might just appreciate coupons for a cute outfit, shoes, or something to take her mind off teaching. Coupons for sleeping pills might also be nice so she can get a good night's sleep instead of waking up throughout the night to remember her thankless work day. However, she might just give those sleeping pills to the most annoying kids in class, so maybe Target should hold off on those coupons.

Customer List #4

  • Doritos
  • Cheetos
  • Fun Dip
  • Ding Dongs
  • Lava lamp
  • Kool Aid
  • "Napoleon Dynamite" DVD
  • Eye drops

Type of customer: Stoner

Wow, it is starting to get easy to recognize illegal activity with these Target purchases. Let's not even discuss what it means when a customer keeps buying cold medicine. At any rate, for the customer that might be smoking something not-so-legal, this customer would totally appreciate some coupons for some Cheech & Chong DVDs and more food. People with the munchies are totally going to be some of the best grocery shopping customers. Sure, they may not even make it to the fresh fruit section, but leave that stuff to the dieting crowd.

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Apply This To Your Own Life!

You see how easy this is? Now you can apply this activity to your own life. You can look at your Target purchases and decide what those items say about you. Do you buy a lot of toilet paper, yet live alone? Target knows you have a frequent upset stomach! Maybe they will give you Pepto Bismal coupons the next time you shop. Do you return clothing all the time and buy a size bigger each time? Target knows you are seriously in denial about your weight gain. You are totally going to get some coupons for workout equipment soon! Have you been buying hair color to cover up those grey hairs that are starting to come in? Look out! Target will be giving you anti-wrinkle cream coupons soon.

Naturally, we could all get upset about this and freak out over the lack of privacy. However, it is not going to change anything. If you don't want Target and other stores stalking you, you are going to have to use only cash, never sign up for loyalty programs, and never have anything shipped to your home. Big brother is watching you! So you may as well laugh at this hub rather than really think about how much they actually know about you at any given time.

Copyright ©2012 Jeannieinabottle

Somebody is watching you...

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Comments 20 comments

Peter Leeper profile image

Peter Leeper 4 years ago from Londonderry, New Hampshire

Great article! Very entertaining! Voted up and shared!


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

LOL Jeannie! I had read about the Target marketing, and it absolutely makes sense. The other stores do that as well, although maybe they already learned to be more subtle about it. The article I read said that from now on, they throw in coupons for stuff you definitely won't use with those ones that are targeting you, so that way you won't take it so personally.

I had thought about trying to figure out what my list says about me, but I decided that there are probably things that I manage to keep plausible deniability.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa

Another good one, Jeannie. It reminds me of a little game I play when waiting in the checkout line in Target. I look at the contents of other people's carts and try to guess what they came to Target to get and what they happened to pick up along the way. A lot of times I will go to pick up something like cat litter and milk and end up with several completely random things like a string of lights shaped margarita glasses, a retro 70s t-shirt, and a dust pan. I don't know that the Target big brother will ever truly figure me out!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks so much, Peter. I am glad you enjoyed my hub. Happy Target shopping to you. :-)

Millionaire Tips, yes, they are trying to throw us off now. But now I know Target is monitoring my every move. They can't fool me. When I was at Safeway the other day, it gave me a coupon for Payless. Interesting since I just signed up for the Payless loyalty program and used the same debit card at both stores. The stalking is everywhere! Thanks for the comment!

Oh yes, Deb, keep them guessing at Target! Those purchases are totally going to throw them off! I like to guess what is going on with people at Target myself. I was admiring the lady in front of me yesterday at Target. She had an incredible amount of coupons and walked out with only groceries. She hardly spend any money at all. I wish I had that self control!

Thanks for the comments!


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Daisy, laughed at this - we don't have Target in the UK but just in case you think this is done only by shops....I noticed that when I was logging into a variety of websites that the advertising matched stuff I had been looking at the day before - Google does the same as Target! I had to go and find out how to stop it in case I clicked on ads on HubPages and elsewhere. I'm being stalked...by a spiderbot!


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

This is great. I often think to myself while waiting in line that a person's purchases says a lot about them. The types that bother me are the people who appear to be in great physical shape, yet have bags full of junk food. I guess Target has determined that I may care more about treating my dog to something new than myself. They may also notice that I am a procrastinator, buying holiday foods and ingredients hours before the event. They may also realize that I hate shopping based on the huge quantity of items I can buy in such a short period of time. Funny and very interesting Hub all rolled into one!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I would be terrified to hear what someone would guess about me. :) This is hilarious and a great idea for a hub. You are so damn creative that I find myself being jealous. Great job!


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Jeannie, I seem to have changed your name to Daisy in my comment - I do apologise!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Jools99 - That is OK! I forgive you. :-) I was confused at first. I thought you were telling me Daisy laughed at this. I know what you mean about websites. I hate that computers save cookies and use it to the advertisers' advantage on these sites. I am really disturbed sometimes with the products these sites suggest for me, too!

ktrapp - Yes! I know the people you are talking about. I always want to learn more about how they are so skinny with all that junk food. Is the junk food for someone else? Do they have a great metabolism? Maybe they have an eating disorder? It is always a mystery! At least I don't have to worry too much about pet food and any conclusions Target might draw from my shopping habits. Apparently Target does not like hamsters since I never see anything good for them in there. Petsmart can stalk me instead!

billybuc - I am happy you enjoyed the hub so much. I have to admit, I am jealous of your Google search hubs. I would have never thought to do those searches and create hubs based on them. Not only are they funny, but I am sure they rank well with search engines.

Thanks for reading my hub and thanks for the comments, everyone!


Shanna11 profile image

Shanna11 4 years ago from Utah

Hahah, I love this Hub! I got a little paranoid myself when I started reading the first list, and realized it was almost identical (down to the same exact workout DVD!) to what I'd bought last week at Target...


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Nothing to be worried about for that list, Shanna11. I would be deeply concerned if you told me you were buying things from the serial killer list though. :-) That Jillian Michaels workout is tough, but it really works! Thanks for reading my hub and thanks for the comment!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago

Haha--totally enjoyed the read. It's funny and what a great idea for a hub.


girishpuri profile image

girishpuri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

Very interesting read, i agree the purchase list definitely speaks about the person, good one, keep writing


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thank you both for reading and thanks for the comments! Target purchases really do say a lot about a person. :-)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Jeannie - I was dying laughing! Omg! I shop at Target ALL the time - they know my life story by now. I am surprised DFS has not arrived to take my children! lol

HAHA-helarious about the pregnant girl! I would not want to be her daddy! Or her baby daddy for that matter! Up and every button!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I think Target has me figured out, too. They know if they keep giving me coupons for groceries, coffee, and hair color, I will keep coming back.

Yes, that is so scary that Target knew she was pregnant just based on purchases. I feel sorry for everyone in that situation. Thanks for dropping by and thanks for the votes!


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

It freaks me out a little to think about how much retailers and others can find out about me without even trying very hard. I had never thought about keeping track of credit/debit card purchases, but of course, it makes sense. 'They' know what we buy, when we buy it, where we are. 'They' can follow our internet activity, see what our interests are and probably even know who we talk to. Big Brother is definitely watching! Thanks for an interesting hub on Target...I'm sure this technique is shared by many big retailers...I must hit the ATM machine before my next shopping trip!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Buying everything with cash really is the only way to prevent this. What bothers me most is shopping at one store, yet receiving coupons for another store because the stores are all tapped into the same database. Scary stuff! Thanks for the comment!


What Is Q profile image

What Is Q 4 years ago from Tennessee

This is why, if you're a serial killer, you don't buy all of your equipment at the same place. The same goes for all types of illegal activities (I learned that from watching Breaking Bad, and also learned how to create my own meth lab, so television shows are a bad influence, but even though they tell you how to get away with this stuff, criminals aren't getting any smarter). This hub is scary, because it's true. I always wondered why they called it Target. The target must be us. Or our wallets. I only buy clothes and movies at Target, so I'm not sure what that says about me. That I like to watch films while I'm fully dressed? I don't know, but I'm going to start thinking twice whenever I buy something. Thanks for the info and the laugh. So this hub was funny, true, scary, and has made me paranoid. Good job as always.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I like being able to scary readers while making them laugh. I feel like I've achieved my goals for the day. :-)

It is true, a serial killer should shop around and look for the best deals on supplies anyway. It is a good idea to use different credit cards for each purchase, too. Better yet, cash is probably the best way to go when buying stuff like that.

Thanks for the comment! I am glad you enjoyed it despite the paranoia.

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    Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle (Jeannieinabottle)1,161 Followers
    440 Articles

    Jeannie has been writing for HubPages for over 5 years. She covers a wide variety of topics - anything from hamsters to office work.



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