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5 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-Target Employees

If you're a frequent customer of the beloved chain, you'll want to keep this in mind.

By the end of 2021, the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Target Corporation was operating more than 1,900 stores across the United States. During the pandemic, it became a $100 billion company, writes CNBC. No surprise there. You've seen the memes: "You don't tell Target what you need. Target tells you what you need." You go in for a toothbrush, and come out with groceries, throw pillows, pajamas, a hair dryer, and a new patio set—and you'll be back again soon. But what if we told you no matter how often you've visited the general merch retailer, you're lacking some crucial insider knowledge. Read on for five warnings and hacks from current and former Target employees that you probably never knew about.

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You don't need to buy multiples to cash in on a deal.

Folded Shirts on Sale at Target
melissamn / Shutterstock

Usually, more of something for the same price as one is clutch. But say you're cramped for space at home, on the go, or just really need one of a particular item. Try buying just the one, and watch what happens.

Former Target employee Mai Zimmy shares this in a TikTok video: "When you see those deals that are buy two for $5, you don't always have to buy the two or multiple units to get the better deal. You can just buy one if that's all you want, and you can still get the discounted price on that single item."

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Employees may be undercover.

Target Hiring Sign

An ex-Target employee posted a TikTok issuing a warning to shoplifters, and while the video is now unavailable, The U.S. Sun reports that user @hoesticia said, "If you want to continue to go to Target, don't steal from them. Most likely, they already know that you're stealing. They see you on the cameras. Someone's following you. You're going to get caught."

She then alleged, per The U.S. Sun, that Target security guards dress in plain clothes and follow potential suspects in the store.

As it turns out, there are undercover security guards at Target. In a Reddit thread, several former Target security guards confirmed that they operated undercover. One such employee, u/FormerTargetSecurity, wrote, "I enjoyed being undercover cause I could wear whatever I wanted as long as it was appropriate."

Target employs ex-FBI and criminal justice specialists.

Forensic Expert Studying Fingerprints

Printed in plain sight on Target's corporate website: "Unbeknownst to most, Target has a top-rated forensic services laboratory that provides forensic examinations, and assists outside law enforcement with help on special cases." Team members come from forensic and criminal justice backgrounds, as well as the FBI. Through video and image analysis, latent fingerprint and computer forensics, the team helps solve crimes committed at Target stores.

Bottom line: Don't even try. "Most people don't know what we do," says Rick Lautenbach, Target's lab director. "We're a small team with a specialized skill set."

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You could be missing out on hundreds of dollars in savings.

Bills Being Saved and Put into a Piggy Bank

If you've ever bought clothes for your kids from Target, there's a good chance you purchased from their Cat & Jack line. It's just too bad that little ones outgrow clothes so fast, right? Get this: Target offers a one-year return policy on Cat & Jack clothing, no matter the condition.

According to a current employee who goes by @missrhae on TikTok, it's true. "If you purchase a Cat & Jack item, you have 365 days to return it with any issues. No problems, no questions asked. You can return it for what you paid for it," she says in her video. She goes on to explain how she did it herself and got back a whopping $190.45. Just be sure to bring your receipt, Target card, app, or some proof of purchase.

You should always check the online price.

Phone with Shopping Apps
Koshiro K/Shutterstock

When you're in the store and spot something you want, immediately check the price online. "Sometimes online it's cheaper than what's in store—depending on where you live, it could be different," says a Target employee in her TikTok video.

If it is cheaper, tell them at checkout. Target's Price Match Guarantee policy doesn't just apply to other retailers. Their site says, "We'll match the price if you buy a qualifying item at Target then find the identical item for less at, select online competitors, or in Target's or competitor's local print ad."

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Melissa Fiorenza
Melissa Fiorenza has been writing for over a decade on a range of topics, including mental health, nutrition, fitness, parenting, and women's issues. Read more
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