This past weekend, I decided to run some errands. I needed really exciting things, like laundry detergent and deodorant. A simple task within itself, just life or death essentials. I made my list, checked it twice, and decided to head to the Fargo Target. Nothing against the Moorhead one, I just needed to go to Best Buy as well. Wanting to get a head start on my day, I left early – just after 9:00 a.m.
Little did I realize the madness that would soon unfold.
For those of you who don’t understand, going to the Fargo Target is like going Black Friday shopping every day of the year. The entire parking lot is a demolition derby, not a single cart is available and rogue babies scream in almost every direction.
Turning into the parking lot, I rolled up my windows and made sure my doors were locked. I’m used to this song and dance, but I was thrown a curveball: I thought that I would beat the rush by getting there early. Apparently everyone had the same idea, and nobody wanted to be tardy to the Target party.
Each time I go to the Fargo Target, I am always shocked by the way that within the parking lot, all traffic laws no longer apply. Cars drive the wrong direction down rows and park incorrectly, taking up two, three or even four spots. I entered the first row in the lot and slowed my car to a crawl, my knuckles white on the steering wheel, prepared for evasive action at any moment. You never know when a minivan will whip around a corner and take you out.
Parking taken care of, I made a beeline for the entrance. Dodging traffic left and right, leaping over spilled pop and skirting past an elderly couple arguing about coupons, I located my list and headed into the store.
When entering the Target party, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in a single confined space. We have several Target stores in my hometown of Omaha (most of which are even of the stately Super Target variety) but I have never encountered so many people in the store all at once. With Fargo being the only city with a store in what seems like a 200-mile radius, everyone in North Dakota comes on Saturday. Grabbing the last basket, I saw a couple making small talk with their in-laws, apparently having an impromptu family reunion in front of the photo kiosk.
“Oh you come here too?” I heard one of them say.
“Yup, it’s only two hours and we needed school supplies for the kids,” the others said.
Moving into the chaos of the store can be quite a challenge. The aisles are packed, constantly being restocked. Someone’s talking on a cell phone in the cleaning supplies aisle, and a child appears to be in mid-temper tantrum over toothpaste in the next one over. Grabbing my needed items, I decided against looking for a flash drive here. Electronics are at the back of the store, meaning I would have to venture through even stranger territory like domestics, toys and housewares to get there. It was still early, and my senses still weren’t fully awake. It could wait.
Making my way back toward the registers, I found myself in the massive line to check out. Frazzled workers called into their walkie-talkies, desperately looking for somebody, anybody, to come and open more lanes. There were currently 4 open. Approximately 50 people were waiting to check out, most with carts overflowing. Luckily a college-aged worker caught my eye. She waved me over to the jewelry counter, “I can check you out here,” she said with a smile. “You’ve only got two things! No one will care.” Crisis averted, I swiped my card and was out the door.
I made it safely back to my car, and locked the doors. My heart was racing, my breathing shallow. I adjusted my rearview mirror. Then, adrenaline still racing, I leapt back out of the car and rejoined the festivities – a little bit of overwhelmed panic couldn’t keep me away. The day was still young and the party was just getting started.
A senior majoring in Political Science and Communication, James hails from Omaha, Nebraska. He focuses primarily on the unique things that define our everyday lives.