I survived Target's Missoni disaster

When the retailer launched its new line, all hell broke loose at stores across the nation. I know -- I was there

Published September 14, 2011 11:30PM (EDT)

Like approximately 356 of my Facebook friends, I spent Tuesday morning driving from Target to Target looking for Missoni. Missoni! Missoni! Are you sick of hearing the word yet? In the last day, various media outlets have been going mad about Target's Missoni disaster. When the megastore chain announced it would be selling the beloved brand's clothes, fans went crazy -- a little too crazy. Buyers crashed the Target website, and there were reports of stampedes, and assorted other frenzies. And I should know, because I witnessed Missoni Madness firsthand.

I'm not even a particular fan of the Missoni aesthetic, but Target has been running the groovy spy-woman commercial for it so incessantly that I'd become practically hypnotized into thinking I really needed some new bath towels and a sweater (autumn is almost here!). I'd be helping the economy, after all -- God Bless America, blah blah blah. Also: Target sells those movie-theater-boxes of candy and I was completely out of Lemonheads.

I spent Monday night looking at the Missoni-for-Target look book and had settled on the items I wanted. No, needed. And I had what I considered an inspired battle plan for Nashville's various Target locations sketched out on a Post-it note: hit the more "Country" Target first for the menswear (figuring farmers in bargello knit cardigans was probably an unusual combination) and then, if necessary, hit the "Soccer Mom" Target for the bath towels (figuring moms would be busy in school drop-off lanes offloading the Cassidys and Calebs of America). I wasn't even going to bother with the "Fancy Urban" Target (the one with the Starbucks inside); every skinny jeans'ed hipster girl within a 15-mile radius of the place would be in line there for a melamine bowl and a tote bag.

So I set my alarm for 7 a.m. and by 8 o'clock on the nose, I was the sole car in the parking lot of Country Target. Could it be that my plan was unfolding perfectly? Would I just waltz in, get exactly two black-and-white Famiglia Wavy bath towels, two black-and-white Famiglia Wavy hand towels, and one black-and-white men's cardigan? Alas, no. Country Target had apparently missed the memo about the upcoming flame-stitch feeding frenzy and not all of the stuff was out yet. A few bowls here and there, a scarf. No towels. No menswear. Worrisome.

Soccer Mom Target was just 15 minutes away if I caught all the lights, so off I went like the starving Joads headed for the promised land. Speaking of starving, ohhh, look, a Chick-fil-A. I should probably grab a little sustenance. In the drive-through lane, I started getting frenzied texts from a friend who had braved the Fancy Urban Target. "ALL SHELVES EMPTY," her text said. "CRAZY WOMEN WITH CARTS FULL" and "ALL I WANT IS AN EFFING RUG." Panic started to set in. Would I be too late in arriving at Soccer Mom Target? More important, was my chicken biscuit ever going to get here?

I arrived in the Soccer Mom Target parking lot at 8:25, dismayed to see it chock-full of cars, each one of them empty ... just waiting to be stuffed with my black-and-white Famiglia towels. I raced into the store and there on an end cap were exactly two of the bath towels I had been dreaming of. I grabbed them. How much were they? $10? $20? $1,000? I had no idea. It didn't matter. A quick race through the aisles also revealed the men's cardigan I was after. Into the cart it went. But there were no hand towels; someone had beat me to them by mere minutes. Stupid Chick-fil-A and your delicious chicken biscuit siren song! A third Target was about to get visited. Nothing was going to come between me and my hand towels.

I still wasn't willing to risk Fancy Urban Target and the increasingly deranged emails from my friend ("ALL GONE, ALL GONE. ALL HOPE IS LOST") had me thinking that would be a useless trek anyway, so I decided the third (and FINAL) stop would be at what used to be called Flood Target (because it, uh, flooded) but it's really just Hillbilly Target. And let me tell you: This Hillbilly Target was a madhouse. There was no Missoni left on the shelves or racks except a few baby outfits, which even I had to draw the line at. I'd never get myself in that onesie, no matter how hard I tried. My quest had ended. I had failed.

But I had one last-ditch strategy: I approached the lady whose cart was the fullest and very, very urgently asked her if she would be willing -- maybe, please? -- to sacrifice two of the several black and white Famiglia Wavy hand towels that I could see right there on top of her cart full of stuff. She looked at me as if I had requested a kidney, but she also had a certain look on her face ... as if she recognized the desperate haunted eyes of a fellow retail voyageur. And she handed me the two pieces of terry cloth, laughed and pushed her cart down the now Missoni-free aisle. I almost fell to my knees in tears.

Later, sitting on my living room sofa surrounded by a kaleidoscope of black-and-white Missoni zigzaggery, I felt a little bit like I had eaten 15 cupcakes and hallucinated the whole thing. But I hadn't. It was all right there ... and mine, all mine.

Too bad I have to go back this afternoon. It seems I forgot the Lemonheads.

By DG Strong


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