Target is a pretty popular place. There are no fewer than 1,844 Targets across the United States, after all, so chances are most Americans have shopped in one at some point. But there’s some insider info that even the savviest shoppers may not know. Take these 40 secrets, for instance, that have been disclosed by the staff who work there. So when you go to Target, be extra nice to them!
40. Different items are marked down on different days
When it comes to hunting down the best deals, a blog called All Things Target seems to have the answer. Apparently, you see, each store follows the same strict schedule for marking down items. Ready for it? On Mondays, you’ll find child and baby clothing, books, stationery, electronics and accessories. Tuesdays, meanwhile, have price slashes on womenswear, food and pet items. Wednesdays, it transpires, are the days for diapers, gardening, furniture, beauty products and menswear. Next up, Thursdays see discounted footwear, sports apparel, décor, travel items, lingerie, housewares and toys. And finally, Fridays are the time to bag bargains in jewelry, makeup, car products and hardware. Did you get all that?
39. Shop for toys in January and July
Here’s some advice for parents – and perhaps child-free adults who just really like toys: Target’s best sales for kids’ playthings apparently take place in mid-January and late July. This time of year is said to be when the stores clear out all their old merchandise from the children’s sections, you see. So, while you may have to wait longer to get you or your little one that must-have gadget, you’ll hopefully get it cheaper!
38. You don’t need a credit card for the RedCard
Target’s REDCard allows keen shoppers to get 5 percent off their items. But unfortunately, the associated risks are pretty high – unless you get a REDCard debit card, that is. Assuming you have an account with an FDIC-insured American bank, you can use your debit card to shop at any Target store, and you’ll get benefits like a welcome gift and even free two-day shipping in some cases, too.
37. You can return online items for free
Online shopping is pretty handy, since all it takes is a click of a mouse to purchase a product anywhere and anytime. But there’s just one problem with e-browsing: what if you need to send an item back? Well, Target will let you return your buy for free. All you have to do is make a trip to their online return center and print out a label. Easy, right? Note: this method doesn’t work if you don’t live in the U.S.
36. You probably won’t spot the security guard
Did you know that Target has people around whose jobs are to prevent shoplifting? Yes, they’re known as the Assets Protection – or AP – team. There aren’t many of these special employees, but they’re certainly well disguised. According to one reddit user and Target alumnus, a few of these security guards don subtle, all-black ensembles. The head of each AP department, meanwhile, actually blends in like any other employee.
35. Target has a reputation for good Black Friday deals
Black Friday is, of course, the day when everyone goes out to try and bag a bargain. And Target, it seems, should be bumped to the top of the list. “Every year, Target is one of our top five stores for Black Friday deals,” DealNews editor Benjamin Glaser told CheatSheet in 2017. “It should definitely be one of your first stops for apparel, electronics and appliance deals during the whole two-week period surrounding Thanksgiving.”
34. Put those shoes back
If you’re a regular Target shopper, you may well have noticed that the shop floor can get a little chaotic. So, if you feel like helping out those employees who are tasked with tidying up the mess, here’s the best way: put that footwear back on the rack after you’ve tried it on. Yes, according to one reddit user and Target worker, sales assistants can “spend hours and hours just picking up shoes; it is one of the most dreaded positions in the store.”
33. Don’t aimlessly wander
Target employees keep a very close eye on customers. Unfortunately, though, that means that if you come into the store for nothing in particular and end up just casually browsing, you’ll probably get approached by staff a lot. And while that’s partially done to try and help you, it’s also because the workers want to check that you’re not in fact stealing. So, keep on moving!
32. You can request a rain check
Target doesn’t like to see customers go home empty-handed. And so, keep in mind this top tip: if you have your heart set on a sale item that’s out of stock, you can ask for a “rain check.” Then, when said product comes back into the store, you can still purchase it at its discounted price – even if the sale is over. Nifty, right? It’s worth noting, though, that software, movies and music can’t be rain checked.
31. Baby formula is a high-theft item
You’d think that TVs and video games – or other expensive items, for that matter – would be the go-to loot for Target thieves. But as it turns out, baby food is also a hot commodity among crooks. In October 2018, for instance, a woman stole thousands of dollars worth of formula from three Target stores in Coachella Valley – within the course of just one day!
30. Check the ends of the aisles
While Target offers products at lower rates all over its stores, certain spots are perhaps more likely to yield bargains. So, if you’re after the very best deals, don’t just jump right into the middle of the shop; look carefully. For instance, the display shelves located at the ends of the aisles – known as endcaps – are where you may find some of the best discounts, according to HuffPost.
29. There’s a long process to get hired
As it turns out, bagging a spot on the Target team is no walk in the park. Take this reddit user, who explained on the site in 2016 just how many hoops they had to jump through to land their job at the company. “I had four interviews in total,” they said. “The first interview was with a standard team member with longevity. Once she liked me, I moved onto a higher-up GSA, which is essentially a lead. Once he liked me, I moved up to a human resources leader and finally the HR director. So, I had to please and impress four people to get hired.”
28. Asset Protection also guards against fraud
Target’s Assets Protection team doesn’t just feature security guards who prevent against shoplifting; it has to handle fraud cases too. According to one Target employee on reddit, if a customer uses a stolen card, the cashier has to complete the transaction. But the AP department – who apparently receive intel direct from credit card companies – then quickly call the police. What’s more, Target now also trains its employees to better spot gift card scams.
27. Employees can wear what they want as long as it’s red
The Target dress code is more relaxed than you may think. “We can wear any shirt that’s primarily red and khakis – as long as the shirt doesn’t have a brand of clothing logo on it,” Reddit user and Target worker – whose username is appropriately redandkhakis – wrote on the site in 2016. “So, I can wear my red polo one day and a black and red plaid flannel the next.”
26. You can stack deals to get more money off
If you’re someone who’s pretty nifty at couponing, you really need to get to Target. There are so many dollar-saving options available in store, in fact, that you can even pile different deals on top of one another – and bag items for much lower prices! For example, you could combine a regular sale deduction, a Target REDCard discount, a Target coupon and a manufacturer coupon if you so wish.
25. It takes a while to rise up the ranks
Ever wondered how long it would take for a retail clerk at Target to work their way up to the very top? Well, according to one reddit user, said task is no mean feat. “As far as climbing the ladder to run your own store, it would probably take a long time,” they said on the site in 2017. “We call [the person in charge] the STL – Store Team Leader – but there are positions below that which essentially make you the manager on duty at the time… It’s pretty much based on the store culture and team.”
24. Free gifts are given sometimes
Deals are great and everything, but they’re nothing compared to free stuff. Target’s been known to give away gift cards for buying certain items or even to hand out material goods. So, it always pays to check the Target website before you go shopping because it reveals all the gift offers that you can expect to find. But be warned: the promotions change pretty fast!
23. Employees have their own store
Often, one of the upsides to working at a retail store is the possibility of employee-only discounts or freebies. And Target is certainly no different. One reddit user dished the dirt on some of the perks of the job in 2016. “We have an entire store for employees online, and we can buy a bunch of stuff. We got free Fitbits a few months back.” Nice.
22. Watch out for wet floors
“We are really careful about wet floors and clean everything up as fast as possible, but people are just in too much of a hurry or are on their phones and don’t see the signs and slip anyway,” one reddit user and Target employee revealed in a 2016 “Ask Me Anything” thread. But what should you do if you spill something yourself? “Please let a team member know and we will be happy to clean it for you!” The user explained.
21. You can usually save at least $5
Everyone knows that Target offers a lot of deals, but some promotions are harder to track down than others. But not to worry – all it needs is a bit of detective work! If you search sites like PromotionCode, for instance, you may just find a few hidden bargains. “Target runs an online offer of $5 off $50 purchases almost year-round with relatively few limitations that is not available in store or publicized in their mailers,” PromotionCode founder, Mike Catania, revealed to CheatSheet in 2017.
20. Cashiers have a letter grade for speed
If you’ve ever overheard Target employees talking about Gs and Rs, and it’s left you slightly baffled, you’re not alone. But what do the letters mean? Well, according to Business Insider, the code is all to do with the company’s cashier system. Target workers are graded on their speediness, you see, and given different letters depending on how long they take to complete transactions. Apparently, G stands for green, which means fast, and R stands for red, which is slow.
19. Black Friday isn’t too manic
In the retail world, Black Friday has a reputation for being a bit of a crazy time – to put it mildly. But surprisingly, some individuals who have worked at Target say that the event isn’t actually too wild. “Most people who get rough get kicked out of the store without purchasing anything, and we get extremely strict about the rules,” said redditor TheSecondSam. Meanwhile, another user commented, “I worked two Black Fridays for Target and was really surprised at how quickly it dies down.”
18. You don’t actually need a smartphone for Cartwheel
The Target app features a tool called Cartwheel, which allows you to save and use digital coupons on your cell. But what if you don’t own a smartphone? No problem! As it turns out, you can actually create an account using just your PC – and then simply print out the barcode that you need to get money off.
17. Hardware has the best deals
If you’re hunting for a Target bargain and not sure where to look, a sure-fire option is apparently one that many people may not think of. “Check out the clearance sections in our hardware area,” suggested a former Target employee on reddit in 2015. “It’s not actually a very popular section, and so you can get a ton of stuff for 75 percent off: decent tools, nice flashlights, two-way radios… It’s quite the steal!”
16. Goodwill gets the unwanted Target items
What happens to Target items that don’t sell? Thankfully, unwanted clothing doesn’t always go to waste. “There are a variety of ways we address unsold product, including donations, liquidating to third parties, recycling and – when necessary – disposal,” a spokesperson for Target informed Racked website in 2014. “Goodwill is one of many partners that acquire Target merchandise as part of this process.” So, thrift stores may hold some hidden Target bargains!
15. You have a limited time to return electronics
If you’re in the market for entertainment gadgets or electronics at Target, bear in mind that you only have 30 days to take back items if you decide you don’t want them. And the store only allows 15 days for returns on non-iPhone Apple products. The rules are slightly different around the festive season, however. For electronics purchased between November 1 and Christmas Day, you see, your 30-day allowance begins on December 26. Happy holidays!
14. Employees serve coffee as well
Have you ever been confused going into a Target store and finding the same person working both the shop floor and the Starbucks? Well, apparently there’s a good reason for this. “If you’re cross-trained, you can pick up shifts for other employees or get more hours if you’re part time by working [in the] cafe [or] Starbucks and [on the] floor [or as a] Cashier,” one reddit user explained in 2016.
13. Target has its own forensics lab
Believe it or not, Target has an official in-house forensics lab. Cool, right? It’s also pretty top-secret, although some savvy shoppers do know about the covert operation. The job of the lab workers is to examine evidence – such as fingerprints – record the information and then send it off to the authorities. So try not to commit any crimes in a Target, or you may just end up being a target.
12. Target will price match for you
Did you know that if you come across a product that Target sells being flogged for cheaper elsewhere, Target will match the price for you? Yes, simply show a member of staff the advert for said item or a receipt, and it’ll be discounted for you. Don’t believe us? Target’s corporate website says, “If you find a current lower price within 14 days after purchase, just bring in the proof, and we will adjust your payment to the lower price upon request.”
11. Cashiers are asked to sell you the RedCard
If every Target cashier you’ve ever seen has tried to push the REDCard on you, it’s not just because they feel like it. In fact, their bosses actually tell them to try and get customers to sign up. “My store manager said the entire guest/team member interaction should be based around the REDCard,” one redditor revealed in 2016. Another user, meanwhile, commented, “This is just a hazard of retail… I actually got pretty good at convincing people to get one at American Eagle way back in the day.”
10. Markdowns vary between stores
Apparently, Target discounts aren’t universal. In 2014, for instance, Snopes reported that a shopper had found a deal to be inconsistent across different locations. “I have a pretty good idea of what is on clearance at each store and what percent it’s selling at,” the unnamed source claimed. “Once, there were things that I found at one store for 70 percent off that I really liked, so I went to the other store, and they were only 30 percent off.”
9. Online apps can save you more money
If you like Target’s own app, why not try some others to go with it? CheatSheet suggests that Shopkick is a good option when it comes to maximizing your deals. The app gives you rewards simply for going inside a Target and for scanning items – regardless of whether you end up purchasing them or not. And eventually, you can trade the points that you collect for gift cards. Sign us up!
8. Employees get rewarded
There are, it turns out, multiple perks to being a Target employee. According to one reddit user, each worker receives a letter and a $25 store voucher after being with the company for five years. As for seasonal staff, meanwhile, Target announced in 2018 that it was going to start offering them 20 percent discounts on various items. Plus, the company has apparently set aside $2 million so that it can hand out gift cards to randomly chosen employees.
7. Customers have to show their IDs properly
In 2015 an ex-Target worker on reddit informed customers of a seemingly little-known rule. “At the registers, if we need to see an ID for anything, we are required to have the person take it out of their wallet,” they explained. “It’s Target policy that we have to hold it in our hand to ensure it’s not fake. And, with any Target policy, we always have to require it – even under some kinda silly circumstances.” We imagine that said rule may have led to some interesting situations.
6. You ought to bring your own bags
Many stores reward you for bringing your own bag instead of using theirs, and Target is one of them. If you reuse and recycle, Target will take five cents off your purchase. And while this may not sound like much, it sure can add up. Plus, single-use bags may become illegal altogether across America; they already are in some places, after all.
5. Employees have their own lingo
Sometimes Target staff adopt their own ways of referring to different parts of the store, and customers may not understand what those words mean. In this so-called “Target Talk,” the main aisle is known as the “racetrack,” while “softlines” and “hardlines” denote the clothing and non-clothing areas, respectively. What’s more, customers are always called “guests” – even the badly behaved ones.
4. You can exchange old electronics for gift cards
Don’t throw away your old electronics! Instead, take your gadgets to Target. The company has a system – organized by CExchange – in which you can swap your unwanted tech stuff for a Target gift card. Apparently, the amount that Target will give you varies somewhat, but you still essentially get something for nothing. Plus, you free up space in your house!
3. Cashiers won’t judge you
Some shoppers worry that when they buy items that may be a little embarrassing in a store, the staff may be giggling behind their back. Target cashiers, however, aren’t really interested in what you’re spending money on. “I don’t care what you’re buying – not my business,” former Target worker and reddit user redandkhakis explained in 2016.
2. Employees won’t chase shoplifters
If you see a person stealing from Target, employees won’t ever chase them; it’s store policy for them not to, in fact. Why? Well, apart from the obvious safety risks, small acts of theft aren’t worth the effort – unless they’re committed by a known repeat offender, that is. That said, staff can and will detain you until the police show up.
1. Not every deal is real
There was once an urban legend that circulated online about Target bargains. And it claimed that there are secret codes that customers can use to select discounts. One theory goes that if the cost of an item ends in a four, the price won’t be reduced any further – and the product should therefore be snapped up. But no, there are apparently no codes! Snopes allegedly debunked the rumor in 2014.