Target Practice

Retail Checkout

This isn’t about guns or archery.  It is about informal meditation practice, a set of skills that can make standing in line, even at Target, tolerable and possibly amusing.  A friend recently came to a meditation group directly after doing errands  in town.  He had been at Target and, as we visited prior to sitting, he told a tale familiar to so  many of us:

You’ve got your stuff and you’re ready to get on with your life, but there’s only one way out:  the multi-layered Target checkout maze, which defies all rules of analysis,efficiency and…. justice.  You apply the “get behind the person with the least full basket” logic and find you’ve picked the person with the smallest purchase and the biggest problems (credit card rejected, massive coupon redemption, etc.)  To make matters worse, you realize that, as you wait for the person in front of you to solve their checkout problem, three others, at the registers behind you (or next to you) have checked out, left the store and continued on with their lives… you have been “left behind”….Where is the logic?  Where is the justice?

Target checkout and many other daily inconveniences present us with a great chance to practice mindfulness skills.  Notice the agitation; meet it face to face; soften and accept what is happening; giggle at the mismatch between our emotional reaction  (intense) with the situation (mundane). Apply some compassion for yourself and others, and you have used on-the-spot mindfulness skills. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction teaches these skills.  Subscribe to this site to get updates on future classes or email the instructor, Geri Wilimek, at