Recharge: Spectacular Shopping Spectator

Whenever people ask where I live, I joke that it is in the Mountain View Target. We do live so close to Target that we would frequently take our kids on walks through the store as a summer “adventure” capped off by a bag of buttery popcorn and, maybe, an Icee. I’m pretty sure that there are Target employees who could identify my children as belonging to me without knowing any of our names, and they have also probably seen some amazing temper tantrums from those days when the emergency store run was not going smoothly.

So, it should surprise no one that my family are frequent shoppers at Target during Thanksgiving sales.  After our extended, extended family dinner (at my sister-in-law’s parents’ home where they have graciously incorporated the extended families of their children’s spouses), we come home and walk over to Target to check out the scene. Over the years, this has evolved from marveling at the lines on Thursday nights to actually going in the stores when Black Friday officially creeped into Thursday night. 

But, the great irony is that I rarely buy any holiday gifts on those Target runs! We get very caught up in people watching, examining all the possible Star Wars branded merchandise you could imagine, and generally walking out with whatever food we want to assemble for the next day’s breakfast. That leads to our other favorite spectacle – late night shopping for stocking stuffers when the December days are in the 20s and we forgot to get many things. 🙂

I cannot handle the mall during the holidays – I tried to go to Valley Fair a couple of weeks ago to exchange on online purchase and it was already getting crazed for the holiday rush. After spending a solid five minutes watching a woman pose in her high fashion and very serious face in front of white Christmas trees with others crowding around for other, very different photos in the same 100 square feet of space, I hit my saturation with trying to figure out what was going on and what social media posts this spectacle was generating.  But Target at the holidays, as grouchy and crazy as it can get, that’s my jam. The fact that my son photographed the stocking aisle where someone had spelled out “Epstein did not kill himself” with the stockings is strangely comforting in a way that people in $5000 outfits in front of multi-colored trees is not. Something about the haggard, confused, yet optimistic late night shopping scene at our local Target that really makes me feel in the holiday spirit.