Clint Brewer / Splash News 1 / 8
Clint Brewer / Splash News 1 / 8

Ruh-roh. It's been less than a week since Britney Spears wrapped up her Circus tour after nearly seven successful months of well-choreographed lip-synching, and there are already signs that she's falling back into old habits.

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On Wednesday afternoon, the candy-splurging, apology-winning popster wriggled into her teensiest pair of Daisy Dukes, tied on a see-through floral belly shirt (mercifully, she also donned a bra) and smothered her tootsies in her favorite fuzzy pink boots for a trip to a Los Angeles-area Target.

It was an outfit that screamed, "Attention, fellow shoppers! It's me -- Britney! Please, stare at me and take my picture!" The army of paparazzi on hand at the store happily obliged, snapping away as she pushed her own cart and filled it with reasonably priced merchandise.

And while your initial reaction might be to commend the mother of Sean Preston, 4, and Jayden James, 3, for her frugal retail choice ("Stars, they bargain hunt, just like us!"), keep in mind that she was accompanied on the outing by a couple of burly bodyguards, and when she was done shopping, several police officers reportedly provided an escort as she zoomed off in her Mercedes SUV.

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Shortly after the Tar-jhay jaunt, Brit popped into one of her old stomping grounds -- the pet store, where she apparently purchased a parakeet, who immediately chirped for help and begged for a stockpile of fresh newspaper (and somewhere, the singer's long-absent pups Bit-Bit, Lacey and London wag their tails in sympathy).

This was Spears' second shopping excursion in as many days. She also hit Target on Tuesday, this time styling a long white sundress that would have been lovely if not for a large hole along the waistline.

Paparazzi were also along for this shopping run, snapping her as she picked up (and nibbled on) a Michael Jackson CD.

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Fingers crossed that Britney, who just released the single "3," an ode to ménage a trois, also scored a copy of the "Big Book of Hobbies," because it appears she could use some pointers on how to fill her sudden surplus of free time.

With several weeks to go before her planned concert dates in Australia, Britney (or her caretakers) would be wise to find a constructive way for her to spend her hours without relying on her usual standbys: shutterbugs, short-shorts and shopping, not to mention Frappuccino stops at Starbucks.

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That path has proved to lead only to shaved heads, pink wigs, seedy hangers-on and middle-of-the-night gas station restroom stops.

Besides, this is the perfect time for Brit to focus on her personal growth. Might we suggest a class or two, maybe of the art, cooking or voice variety?

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