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HolyMama: In the Cross Hairs at Target
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Mike's not the sort to blow his top over, well, anything. He's a laid back kinda guy. Never jealous, never overprotective, never any of that stuff - not that i give him reason to be. But the other night he really, really got outraged on my behalf. Which was funny, because I thought it was no big deal, and of the two of us? I'm usually the one to overreact. (ok. ALWAYS. It's always me. Except this one time.)

I went to Target with just Seth-8mth.  I have a weird  Love/Hate relationship with Target. I love their greeting cards and stationery and paper goods. Loooove their  cheapo t shirts in all colors. Hate the strict return policy (hello? I can't return this even though it still has the tags that SAY 'target'? Ya kiddin me?).

Anyway, I walk in carrying Seth-8mth, a blanket for him, and my purse. I go in the first automatic doors, pass the entrance to the Returns/Exchanges area (where I never want to go again), and through the second set of automatic sliding doors. BEEEEP!

The alarm goes off. I turn to look, and there's a lady behind me, heading into the Returns area with a bag. I figure it's her fault, and go start to get a basket. A man approaches from behind and says, "You're probably wearing clothing from the Gap or Old Navy."

Huh? Could we get security over here, because I don't wanna take this survey.

"Um, no." I say, looking down at what I'm wearing.

Anonymous Man says, "Well, the security system beeped when you came in and that can be the reason."

This makes no sense.

"Uh huh." I start to get a basket. I'm wanting one with the built in baby carrier so I can place Seth-8mth and his blanket in there and get AWAY.

Anonymous Man - because he has no name tag, no uniform, and has not bothered to introduce himself - says, "Well, it must be something in your purse. Why don't you come with me over here and walk through this sensor again."

Stunned, I oblige. BEEEEP!

He says something I don't recall, and takes my purse and waves it in front of the sensor. No beep. I go through it again, holding Seth-8mth and his blanket - but not my purse because i've wisely handed it over to a stranger - and it beeps.

We discuss the contents of my pockets. Short conversation, since I think putting stuff in my pockets might make me look fat and so I don't do it. (No, I don't tell HIM that, I'm telling YOU that) Anonymous Man grudgingly hands back my purse. I ask him, "What do we do now?"

"Well, there's not much I can do now." He sounds disappointed.

I'm thrilled a strip search is not in order.

He then questions me about my clothes again.

"Nope, they're all quite old, actually," I say, realizing this for the first time today. He asks about Seth-8mths clothes.

"These are all hand-me-downs from his brother."

"The blanket?"

"Old." Ha. That was Kim-12yr's as a baby, and certainly didn't come from Old Navy or Gap.

"Well, I guess you can go, but be aware that it will beep when you leave here." (It didn't)

"Uh huh. So what does Old Navy or Gap have to do with this?"

"They leave the sensors in their stuff and don't deactivate them, and they're similar to ours."

Does that make even a BIT of sense? Wouldn't alarms would go off at gap and Old Navy if that were the case? Am I missing something?

I finally got away from him, tried to look as innocent as possible as i shopped. It was hard, because there were employees around every corner, watching me. I was glad that maybe this would be my last time there, since we're getting another Target closer to our house.


Actually, I did miss quite a few things, since I'm not a real 'think on your feet' kinda gal.

1. I didn't realize this guy could be anyone.

2. I went along with all of this. It didn't embarrass me, although it easily could have.

3. Why didn't i say, "HELLO? ALL I DID WAS WALK IN YOUR STORE, READY TO SPEND MONEY?" I could understand that treatment if i were exiting the store, but i WAS NOT, and he knew it.

Mike was furious. I told him about this, in a nonchalant way since it was inconvenient and all, but not offensive. To me, that is. Mike was quite offended. "You were harrassed!"

"Was not! WHoever he was really didn't do his job well, assuming he had a job there, but he didn't harrass me."

Back and forth. Back and forth. Finally MIke asked, "Do you want to take it further?"

Take it FURTHER? My laid back husband said WHAT? Does that mean he's calling his attorney, or the mafia, or what the HECK was THAT? I still don't know. But I asked, and then he started off again, so I tried to diffuse his anger and I assured him I didn't want to take it FURTHER, and acted like I knew what that meant.

Then an hour later, all of y'all got dragged into this lovely discussion. Aren't you flattered? "You should write about it and see what THEY think about this."

"Uh huh."

So, in place of our attorney (who could probably do some serious damage), or the mafia (pretty sure they could to), I turn to y'all.

What was up with THAT?

Had anything similar happen at Target?

Understand the Gap/Old Navy defense?

Do you know if the security there is 'unmarked?' (Mike swears that's illegal, as was his taking my purse, but let's not get him started again.)

I'll be interested in your responses. (As will Mike, I'm sure.) 

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Your Comments

Jeana Said:

Hmmm. Philosophically, I'm more of Mike's opinon (and so flattered he asked!) but in terms of what I would actually do, I'm probably more on your side, only because I would rather just not go there any more than mess with it. Unless not going there any more is what he meant by "taking it further" in which case I agree with him totally.

Hilarious re-telling, by the way.

on Jun 30, 2006 2:43:24 PM
owlhaven Said:

Hmmm...I beeped at Target recently too, and don't know why. I would be inclined to let it be. No real harm done. Unless it happens again. Then I would definitely ask the guy's name and talk to his boss.

Mary, mom to many

on Jun 30, 2006 2:46:55 PM
Megan Said:

I kept beeping at Old Navy every time I wore a certain pair of shoes.....but they were from Famous Footwear! Maybe there's this underground sensor gang that just likes to confuse the shit out of as many shoppers as possible in whatever store they enter.....maybe it just expands the workforce at Target and Old Navy and Famous Footwear, so they can hire guys like the one who stopped you, just to give them somethng to do? Maybe I need a glass of wine right now, b/c maybe my kids are driving me over the edge?? LOL
I'm with you on this one...just let it be, or maybe inquire as to who exactly that guy was...I'd be curious to know if he was actually an employee?
Oh, and thanks for the "Dallas get-together" info....since I'm right here, I might be able to make it!

on Jun 30, 2006 2:57:20 PM
Rebecca Said:

I'm sorry! I have to quit laughing before I can give you a serious answer (although I'm sure it was anything but funny when it happened). mmmph ... hee hee ... snicker.

Maybe later.

on Jun 30, 2006 3:49:46 PM
Julie Said:

I have never seen "plain clothes" security at Target and I certainly think it was inappropriate of him to take your purse and go through it without identifying himself. Especially seeing as how you were just walking IN to the store. I mean really, what did he think, that you'd shoplifted something on an earlier visit and decided to bring it with you next time.

I probably would have done the same thing you did but I certainly think it might be worth 10 minutes to write a letter to the store management. You never know you might get a gift card or something.

on Jun 30, 2006 4:12:31 PM
Kristen Said:

Well, I personally would've been a little offended, and might have agreed with the hubby on this one and at least call the manager and ask if that is protocol. Ridiculous if you ask me. If I were you, I may be inclined to start shopping at Wal-Mart (although Target is a fun place to be....when you're not being strip searched!)

on Jun 30, 2006 4:18:34 PM
HolyMama! Said:

oh! he didn't go through my purse. he was going to if it made the sensor beep, i think.

on Jun 30, 2006 4:25:37 PM
millicent Said:

I'm more of just let it go...now if the guy had continued to detain you and make a huge deal of it, yep, I would be complaining.
Weird that you were coming into the store and he did this...maybe he thought you had stolen something earlier and you were sneaking it back in?
Maybe you should call the store and let them know that if they have someone handling this stuff, the person should have some sort of id on....that is scary that he could have been just anybody.

on Jun 30, 2006 4:54:26 PM
Suzanne Said:

I asked a Target employee once, when the VERY SAME thing happened to me, and they wanted to check the pockets of my mentally retarded 17 year old, what the deal was. She said the "beep" happens randomly to keep security on their toes.

The security guy we had must have had some resentment at missing the Police Dept exam again because he practically tackled my kid.
I pointed my finger at him and said as menacingly as I could manage, "If you lay one finger on my mentally retarded child, you'll be picking up your teeth with broken fingers."

He backed off, and quickly. But not before this exchange wasn't witnessed by 2 gossipey Moms from my daughter's PTA.

I have a reputation now. You're damn skippy!

Don't mess with this mama, Target....just show me the One Spot!


on Jun 30, 2006 5:27:37 PM
Mary Said:

Gosh, I would at least call the store manager.

That is weird and in this day and time you can't be too careful!

Our security at Target wear uniforms I think.
Or at least target clothes and a walkie talkie.

Somehow I always know who they are.

on Jun 30, 2006 5:45:09 PM
theresa Said:

Even though I'm a paralegal, I'm not quite sure what to make of the situation. He detained you, that is illegal, equivalent to kidnapping. He stole some time out of your life, but what are the damages? It's just plain weird. I think if I was in that situation I would have asked for a manager to come over just to make sure this guy was for real.

Anyhoo, I love reading your blog....have a great weekend!

on Jun 30, 2006 6:02:38 PM
Damselfly Said:

I agree with Suzanne. This person thinks he has the most important job in the world, and nothing is too minor to get past him on his watch. It's probably not worth making a big deal out of (how's that for nice English?), but a written complaint to the management might make you feel better. Just don't spend a lot of time on it, or you'll feel "detained" once again!

Ya gotta love retail . . . .

on Jun 30, 2006 6:29:50 PM

About 90% of the time we go into Target, my 9 year old beeps. We have no idea why, but we know 1 of her coats for sure always beeps, it's from the Limited 2. I don't know why it happens, but she freaks out everytime we go there, and she'd really prefer that we dont'. But at our Target they could care less. We've beeped sooo many times leaving and no one ever has said anything to us. Who Knows. My hub would probably want to go back there too, just to complain about that guy and find out if he really works there.

on Jun 30, 2006 6:31:01 PM
Brenda Said:

I think you should write a letter to management expressing your concern over his lack of identification - for his safety, of course. What if you had felt the need to use self-defense on him, thinking he might have been some sort of predator? You've seen those emails. A girl can't be too careful.

Even if they don't give you a gift card, they might at least require security to wear a uniform or some form of ID.

on Jun 30, 2006 6:31:16 PM
Robin Said:

I seem to have the opposite problem. I usually get home only to find the sensor on the item of clothes I have purchased still attached and it DID NOT beep as I went out the door. (Ahem, Kohls) It alwasys happens when I have bought something to wear that night of course and I am already late.

Last time this happened I got ready, took the pants in, had them take off the sensor and changed in my minivan. How's that for classy?

on Jun 30, 2006 6:36:38 PM

I think I'd at least write a letter to the store and complain. Maybe they'd send you a $25 Target gift card or something. Which you could spend at a DIFFERENT Target.

on Jun 30, 2006 7:17:37 PM
Laura Said:

I beeped at Target the other night when I was leaving. They didn't even bother to look, the security guard just waved me through.

I would have been a little creeped out of someone had stopped me while I was on my way in though.

on Jun 30, 2006 8:08:01 PM
Patrick B Said:

I know that in my area they do have security personnel who wander the store looking for shoplifters but they do not confront but send for uniformed security.

as for the beeping, I read a story not too long back about a little boy who because of something in his body chemistry, sets beepers off.

For that matter I've heard of them being set off by cell phones and such.

on Jun 30, 2006 8:21:21 PM
Carol Said:

I haven't read all the comments, so someone else may have already said this, but...

I think it would be a good idea to call the store manager or, better yet, a regional manager. Yeah, you were hassled. I've had sensors go off in various and sundry stores. If it's clear that I am not leaving the store with packages and I stop and show that I am not trying to abscound with a $5 bracelet (as if I'd ever even find a good one at that price) then they just wave me through without even walking up to me.

No clue what that was about, but if they guy had no name tag or other identifiers, he might have been like "undercover" security.

Or not.

on Jun 30, 2006 8:45:41 PM
chilihead Said:

I think the "guard" was totally out of line. I think you should at least call the store manager to see if he's a real employee or just playing one at the gate. I wonder why he didn't check the other lady who came in behind you?

on Jun 30, 2006 8:49:23 PM
Tess Said:

Definitely get with the manager. In a non-confrontational manner, because they are more likely to be on your side that way. If you are angry, they are on the defensive and will automatically back their guy. If he was indeed their guy. :) good luck, please update us!

on Jun 30, 2006 8:49:33 PM
Ginny Said:

I don't see why plainclothes security would be illegal. Hell, I'd just let it go. Too much trouble to be calling attornys and whatnot.

on Jun 30, 2006 9:27:16 PM
angi Said:

I can't stand Target's policies. UGH!

It was probably your cell phone. For some reason, cell phones set the beepers thingy's off.

As far as the oldnavy/gap thing... HUH???? They must be nuts.

I would have probably turned around and walked out. Dh won't even shop there anymore. And I won't buy anything that has any chance at all of being returned. But they are the only store around here that carries my favorite laundry detergent.

on Jun 30, 2006 9:29:05 PM
Jan Said:

Since I would have to drive to another town, and then drive all the way across that town, to get to the nearest Target, I seldom go there, unless someone is getting married/having a baby (not both at once.....at least not so far...)and is registered there, I just go to Wal-mart. It's much closer, and has a better return policy.
As for the "security" person---my nephew used to be with Sears security. They are always supposed to show identification as soon as they approach a customer. i would talk to the manager, and tell him that in this day and time, that it is frightening to a woman to be approached by an unknown man who shows no i.d.

on Jun 30, 2006 9:56:52 PM
Stephanie Said:

YES I DID!!! I had my six-month old baby in the baby carrier and she was holding her sisters ratty old barbie doll. I put my WALLET, not purse, WALLET under the seat and did my shopping. I had paid for all of my purchases and the ONLY other thing in the cart was the ratty doll that I had placed in the child seating area. I got in line and when the cashier was ringing me up the phone at the register rang and it was the managers telling her that she needed to check my cart because they thought I had put something in there. I HAVE NEVER STOLEN ANYTHING IN MY LIFE!!! But there I was, being accused of it with six people in line behind me. Then the stupid cashier had the nerve to tell me in her whiney nineteen year-old voice "Don't be mad at me, the managers made me do it." AGGGHHHH!!!!!

I came home and told my dh and then my mom. My mom was furious and told me that I should have just taken my bag and walked out and then when they accused me of shoplifting in the parking lot I could have sued them. WHY didn't I know that THEN!!!

It was humiliating! I called the manager and didn't even get an apology. She just said "Well, she wasn't supposed to let you know that she was looking."

I have tried to look guilty since then so that they would accuse me again...It hasn't worked yet.

on Jun 30, 2006 10:56:29 PM