Scenes From a Class Struggle at the Mt. Kisco Target

The New York Times‘ award-grabbing (and occasionally criticized) ‘Class Matters’ series continues with Alex Kuczynski’s ‘Critical Shopper’ column in today’s Thursday Style section (aka, The Metrosectional).

In Consumer Philosophy by Tar-zhay, Kuczynski visits the Mount Kisco Target superstore and looks deep into the heart and mind of the American discount shopper. What she sees there is nothing short of a Cliff’s Notes version of Tom Frank’s What’s The Matter with Kansas:

Sure, Target’s image is more sophisticated than Wal-Mart’s. But two things seriously bug me about the chain.

First, the affiliation with designers like [Michael] Graves and [Isaac] Mizrahi strikes me as a bit of lip service. They certainly add a hip note to the store’s advertising campaigns, but at the Mount Kisco store, one of 1,351 nationwide, there was not much Graves merchandise on display. I couldn’t find a teapot, but I did find an ergonomic paper shredder in the Graves half-aisle beneath a picture of a woman who looked like the actress Felicity Huffman and the words “I like to coordinate my keyboard with my toaster.”

These are dark days for the middle classes if such ambitious, obsessive coordinating is actually taking place.

Dark days, indeed. But halogen lamps are 20% off in aisle five.

Also, to the Times copy editor who had the restraint to read Ms. Kuczynski’s lede paragraph about Buddha paraphernalia at Target and not write the headline The Buddha of Suburbia: We salute you!

Matt Haber

Scenes From a Class Struggle at the Mt. Kisco Target