Target employees share the 7 biggest mistakes shoppers make at the retail chain

Don't miss out on major savings.

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Don’t miss out on major savings.
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Getty/Justin Sullivan

  • Target store employees told Business Insider about the biggest and most frequent mistakes they see customers make.
  • A total of 25 Target team members shared their insights with Business Insider.
  • Employees also shared tips on how to save yourself money and time on your next Target run.

Target store employees interact with shoppers on a daily basis. So it’s not surprising that they have some thoughts on the biggest mistakes people make on Target runs.

Business Insider recently spoke with 25 Target employees to get a sense of the tactical errors that they witness shoppers blunder into. The current and former team members provided us with their thoughts – as well as some suggestions on strategies that Target shoppers can use to save time and money.

Some of their observations were unsurprising. For example, a number of employees spoke out about guests being needlessly rude. Others provided insight on how some shoppers accidentally skip over opportunities to save cash.

Here are the biggest mistakes people make at Target, according to employees:


Misreading signs

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Mike Mozart/Flickr

A North Carolina-based Target team member said they have encountered many shoppers who neglect to carefully read the store’s sale signs.

This will sometimes lead to confusion at checkout, as well as spats with cashiers.

“The sign will say ‘buy two, get one free,’ but the guest will insist its ‘buy one, get one free,'” the employee told Business Insider.

Read signs more carefully to avoid confusion.


Forgoing Target’s Redcard

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Mike Mozart/Flickr

Five Target team members told Business Insider that it’s a big mistake for shoppers to overlook the store’s Redcard.

Target’s Redcard promises to offer customers an extra 5% off on most purchases, free two-day shipping, and an extended return policy.

“If you make the most of it, our prices are the best,” a Target employee in Wisconsin told Business Insider.


Under-utilizing Cartwheel

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Mike Mozart/Flickr

While team members told Business Insider that they felt pressure from management to hawk Redcards, this wasn’t the case for Cartwheel, Target’s official app.

“We don’t have to meet a quota for Cartwheel, like we do for Redcards,” a Target team member told Business Insider. “When we tell you to download Cartwheel, we genuinely want you to save money, because we all know that Target can get expensive very fast.”

A Target team member from Southern California told Business Insider that some guests make the mistake of “not checking for any coupons” on Cartwheel.

Seven other Target employees said that failing to use Cartwheel was a major mistake on the part of shoppers.

Another employee from Texas told Business Insider that they’ve seen shoppers make the tactical error of “asking about Cartwheel after they’ve already paid.”


Forgetting to check the expiration dates on food

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David Tran Photo / Shutterstock

A Target employee from California told Business Insider that it’s a mistake to not check the dates on food.

“We’re checking, but things do get missed sometimes,” the employee told Business Insider.

This is good advice for people shopping at any store that sells food.


Not calling ahead

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Matthew Corley / Shutterstock

Keen to purchase a specific product at Target? It can’t hurt to call ahead.

“If the Target website says we have limited stock of an item, we more than likely do not have it,” a former Target team member from Virginia told Business Insider. “The Target website takes forever to update the actual store inventory. So if you want to make sure we have something, just call.”


Stealing

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a katz / Shutterstock

A Target team member from Pennsylvania told Business Insider that it’s a poor choice to steal from the store.

And not just from a moral standpoint.

“We keep track of them,” the employee told Business Insider.

The retail chain actually runs two forensic labs, one in Minneapolis and the other in Las Vegas. On its website, Target said its investigators solve cases through “video and image analysis, latent fingerprint, and computer forensics.”

The labs mostly focuses on retail-related crimes like shoplifting, but its investigators have also helped law enforcement agencies solve felony cases.


Acting rude to team members

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Geoff Robins/Reuters

Disrespecting employees – or “coming in with an attitude and thinking we owe them something” as one employee put it – is the biggest error you can make at a Target, employees say.

Especially if you’re hoping for assistance, it’s not a good idea to act “like you know our policies better than us” either, one Target employee from Georgia told Business Insider.

Are you a current or former Target employee with a story to share? Email acain@businessinsider.com.