Thursday, January 2, 2014

Amateurs Step Aside: A Target Story

A few weeks ago, I shared my frustrations with you about my struggles as Christmas brings out all the amateurs at Target.  Well, I must have hit a nerve because I have had quite a few great conversations about this as of late.  And then today I received this genius post about a shopping experience at Target gone wrong.  And I hate to admit it, but the catalyst for the major malfunction all has to do with the writer not wanting to fit into the "amateurs" category, so she didn't get a cart.  I'll just let you read it and you'll see what I mean.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did....
***Note, this is not written by me and I can't (unfortunately) take credit for this masterpiece.  This was written by my sister in law and submitted to Dalai Mama. Enjoy!

                “I am sooo not an amateur” I said to myself, walking into Target days before Christmas. I had perfectly practical shoes on, as I put Leslie Sansone to shame while I sprinted across the snowy Target parking lot at 8:00 am that morning. I tried not to let the full ‘totally awesome’ and ‘bitchin’ parking spots irk me (the doors just clicked open for business-and I know the employees are parked up front instead of the back 40) But whatever...professionals do NOT let shit like that throw them off their game. 
The doors slid open at the perfect moment as if to say "And…GO!" 
I grabbed my small, hand held basket in professional fashion.  I had to skip Starbucks - no one was at the counter and I was on a mission.  I was there to get snacks for snack day at work and one pair of shoes for the baby.
I stopped at the dollar bins because who can resist those bargain glory finds!  I filled 2 inches, at least, of perfect finds for the kids’ stockings.  No problem.  Plenty of room for my snacks and one pair of shoes.  I took a breath to find my center and regroup after losing all common sense from those damn bins. 
“Okay, baby shoes are straight, then to the left, then I can swing back to grab the snacks. I'll be out in ten minutes.”
I held my head high and picked up the pace to the shoes. 

I get there and it was a total NIGHTMARE.  None of the shoes were on the shelves under the appropriate display.  I looked like I was practicing my ballet plies for the nutcracker as I squatted and sprung back up, searching for matching code numbers and sizes. 
No matter.  A professional has no shame and trains for this sort of shopping conundrum. Again, trying not to let this disaster and nor perky Starbucks barista lose my focus, I continued my search for baby shoes like no other.  I find the perfect shoes for our 3 year old, then the baby. Two boxes of shoes into the basket.  Guilt ridden, I figure I had better buy some shoes for our two older kids.
Bam! Bam! Done. 
And I found another pair for the baby! Five shoe boxes in my basket. I have the basket in the nook of my left elbow, boxes towering, using my right hand to balance the tower.  Satisfied that I feel I am continuing to put amateurs to shame, I amp up my RPM back to the snacks, mentally going through my Christmas To-Do list. Damn it, wrapping paper!
(Backstory-when our oldest kid was less than two, she noticed that the ‘Santa’ paper was the same as Mommy and Daddy's paper and the labels were the same.  Ever since we have made sure that all of the paper is different.)
So now I need four rolls of paper, plus whatever I can use to wrap my hubby's gifts in.  As I pass the electronics and toys, I notice about four Target employees stocking shelves.  I made brief eye contact with one woman who gave me a quick nod, which I interpreted as "Oh she is a pro. Carry on good lady. Carry on."
I scored two huge rolls, compromising that it's reasonable that all of the kids can have the same Santa paper.  I tucked the two rolls of paper under my right arm pit, right hand on the tower of tennis shoes and coached myself.
"Woman get it together!  You are pushing the limits!! You still need snacks and you need to get your ass to WORK!" 
I needed to find Kitchen Cooked chips and Prairie Farms french onion dip for the office snack - always a classic.  Since both are made here in Central Illinois,  you can get them practically anywhere, even at gas stations and dollar stores. 
I eyed the aisle signs, blowing past more employees stocking shelves of DVDs and camping equipment, all using carts.  I have begun to feel fatigue in my arm muscles at this point. Cursing myself for even bothering with the shoe aisle.
- CHIPS!- pedal to metal I zoomed around to find Kitchen Cooked chips.
Holding the top of the bag between my right middle and ring fingers, I continue speed walking to the dairy section. 
“One last thing and we are out!” 
I danced back and forth between three cooler sections and dairy selections.
"Dip, dip, dip, WHERE IS THE FUCKING DIP!!!"
I know the cramping in my little fingers, from holding the bag of Kitchen Cooked chips, was aiding in my frustration. I knew I was beginning to fail in my mission. 
My positive, heroic demeanor quickly turned to feelings of defeat and rage.
“What will they say when I am demoted back to an amateur? I cannot disgrace my fellow sisters this way."
And like any normal person does, I deflected my defeat toward blame of the Target employees. 
"Why didn’t anyone see me struggle? Why didn’t they offer me one of the ten carts they had back there?! UGH."
And now they don’t have the dip I need!  I kept going back as if it would appear suddenly. This is total anarchy! How can any retailer survive in this economy without French onion dip? I am certain someone in upper management has no clue this type of mistake has been made.  I have half a mind to use their PA system to call a staff meeting by the cheese to do a customer service intervention. 
No time for soap box speeches though, so I take my basket that is full of shoes and crayons and wooden tops, my two huge rolls of paper under my arm and my chips between my fingers BACK to the snacks aisle.
I’ve lost all focus. I have no idea what to bring. I am way late for work and I have no snacks; just a Charlie horse and an urge to drop all of my shit and throw a tantrum right there in front of the Bugles and Gardettos.
Hmmm. Gardettos.  The boss likes Gardettos.  But they are the small bags. Whatever. I grab three bags. Notched between all of my knuckles on my left hand this time (carpal tunnel set in on my right hand-rendering it completely useless) the Gardettos became part of the herd.
Someone cued Eye of Tiger and I sprinted up to the checkout lanes, passing another 8-9 stock people. I dumped everything on the belt and stood back to breathe.
"I made it. 8:25." Whew.
I busted out two coupons and a gift card, totally redeeming myself from the dangers of demotion to amateur status.
“Did you find everything you need” she asks. Not knowing where to begin, too tired to start.
I simply said “Could you get me a cart?”

P.S.  If you would like to hear more about my funny, Target shopping episodes read :

Prostitutes in Target:  The Time I Overheard a Craigslist Connection in Target

Blogher Featured :  A For-Real Conversation that I Heard in Target

Blogher Featured :  Christmas Brings Out All the Amateurs

I'm pissed off at Target:  Say Something I'm Giving Up on You

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