Friday, March 06, 2009

Suburban oasis

It stands there gleaming on the hill. Shiny. New. Fully-stocked. A symbol of suburban perfection.

The sun shines brighter on it than anywhere else. Is that a halo I see?

It's been teasing us for months. It's red bulls-eye a homing beacon.

Minivan moms and SUV SAHMs have been circling its smoothly paved lot for weeks. Waiting. Waiting. We'd make eye contact from our oversized vehicles. Let us in!

We've admired the perfectly lined parking lot, the little grassy area with a bench, the convenient shopping cart return areas... Is that a Starbucks we see inside?

The sign on the door says "Opening March 8" but would it open early? Would the brand-new Target, just a 6 minute drive from my house, open early? Could I find designer products at reasonable rates? A new pair of sunglasses? Band-aids? More socks? Could I get all of this early and without a drive across town or to the Valley?

I was there on Monday... pretending to go to the Bed, Bath and Beyond that was open. But my minivan instinctively turned toward the Targay. It's like a magnet. I super-powered, high intensity, JPL kind of magnet...

A quick tour of the parking lot proved it was still not open. The Lowes tried to tempt me with its giant "Open" sign, but it held no appeal.

My sons have been teasing me that I'm getting ONLY Target gift cards for my birthday. I hope it's true.

And then yesterday... a friend had big news she had seen Judy Somebody with Target bags in her Suburban. Are those Target bags, my friend asked? New Target Target bags?

The new Target was open!!!! Hallelujah!! Hallelujah!!

Should we go now? We looked at the mass of kids around us? We mentally calculated the various practices, scout meetings and activities we had to shuttle them to... Target would have to wait.

But Dean met me at Neil's practice. And Jack was with his coach practicing pitching... And I had a minivan, no kids and $20 burning a hole in my pocket.

Whatever would I do? Sorry my friend. I can't wait. You are on your own...

The parking lot was packed. Word gets out fast.

I've waited so long. Don't let it be a nightmare!

I breathed a sigh of relief as I walked through those red-trimmed automatic doors. A little girl was singing a song, "New Target is open. New Target is open. New Target is open."

My heart skipped a beat.

The new carts glide with perfection. Every shelf glistens with new products relatively untouched. No knicks on the furniture, no wiped out shelves, no coffees left unattended on random shelves.

Eager cashiers waited with no lines. Managers walked around double checking everything. The coffee bar was fully staffed and stocked.

Employees were busy lining up products in uniformed rows, evenly spaced. Can I help you find something?

Oh, I've found it already.

Should I buy the Orla Kiely designer gear that the other Target is already sold out of?

Should I buy an untouched side table cube for the family room?

Thanks to Target, I served up Archer Farms tortilla chips in a beautiful new melamine bowl last night. The perfect accompaniment to taco night.

And when I told Neil that the new Target had opened. The six-year-old asked, "Did you cry?"


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