Letters to the Editor: Self-care at Target is OK for the mind, but what about the Earth?

Bins with small travel products for sale are seen at the Target on Jefferson Boulevard in Culver City Sept. 7.
Retail therapy or wanton consumerism?
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Spending Saturday evenings at Target on Jefferson Boulevard in Culver City, when I was single in the mid-1990s, was my secret. (“ ‘I need to go to therapy soon, and by therapy I mean Target.’ Roaming the aisles as self-care?” Sept. 23)

Only a few girlfriends knew that I was never upset when I had the occasional Saturday evening free, because I was going to my favorite happy place: Target.

Saturday evenings are the best times to go, since the stores are fairly empty. I would pick up household necessities and then peruse the aisles, selecting clothes or personal care items at economical prices. Even if the fruits of these splurges were never used much, the financial outlays were minimal.


I always returned home feeling good, as I had a pleasant evening out. I couldn’t always say the same for other Saturday nights.

Punita Khanna, Los Angeles


To the editor: While a good-sized segment of the same generation as portrayed in your article is rallying in the streets to change humanity’s impacts on the Earth, this article blithely celebrates consumerism as psychological therapy.

Did the stressed-out buyer give a shred of thought about what those products are made of, where they were shipped from, or how much water and fuel were used so she can bliss out for an hour? How long will that plastic waste remain after buying trial sizes for fun?

I hope The Times gets a ton of backlash for devoting so much space to such a destructive habit. How about a front-page article on the mental health benefits of riding a bike or urban birdwatching?

Nina Danza, Ventura



To the editor: Sixty-five years ago, I was a 10-year-old girl who had just lost her mother to cancer. I don’t remember many details from that time, but I do remember wandering the aisles of the local five-and-dime.

At least once a week I would walk the four blocks to that store, enter and be instantly calmed. I didn’t understand it, but I instinctively knew I always felt better afterward.

Our family did not have access to therapy, and my father had closed himself off in his grief, but to this day I am grateful for that little five-and-dime. It helped me care for myself. I’ll never forget it.

Genie Saffren, Los Angeles


To the editor: I remember when this was called “retail therapy” and was widely mocked. And who has $200 to drop on random junk at Target every other week? I certainly don’t, and I don’t know anyone who does.

I shop at Target for household necessities. For “self-care,” I do yoga, cook healthy food and read books. I visit museums and gardens and go to plays and movies. If I ever have extra money to spend I buy quality items that may cost more but last for years longer than the “fast fashion” found at Target.

You do your readers no favors by presenting such shallow materialism as a healthy way to deal with stress.

Leslie Stem, Gardena