Humor by Jen Lancaster

In the film "Stand by Me," the character Vern says, "If I could only have one food for the rest of my life? That's easy. Pez. Cherry-flavor Pez. No question about it."

I love the conviction with which a prepubescent Jerry O'Connell delivers this line. Although I don't share his passion for cherry flavor Pez, I understand his singular devotion because I feel the same way. Only instead of eating, it's shopping, and my Pez of choice is Target.

I'm convinced there are two kinds of people in this world - Target shoppers and Walmart shoppers. That's not to say that Target shoppers never hit up Walmart, nor are Walmart shoppers immune to Target's charms. But everyone trends one way or another.

Although I appreciate Walmart's prices, I'm firmly Team Target. That's largely because I'm too lazy to make an additional stop for coffee and my Target has a Starbucks right inside the front door. Plus, they feature limited-time collections such as Missoni, whose debut caused to crash and soccer moms and hipsters alike to run amok through aisles of deeply discounted designer Italian knitwear.

So, last week when I heard of first lady Michelle Obama shopping incognito at an Alexandria, Va., Target store, I was excited. Granted, she may be married to the leader of the free world (and certainly has her own important duties), but sometimes the lure of a sale on Yankee Candle products is simply too compelling to miss. I imagined her texting Oprah or Winnie Mandela - @TARGET, BRB.

Heck, when Target featured the Liberty of London collection, I was there every day for two weeks. My friend Wendy even plotted out each Target within a 20-mile radius and efficiently plowed through all locations until she completed her mission. I totally get it; there's little more compelling than the allure of a Target run. Also, I imagine Hillary Clinton's always popping into the president's private quarters under the guise of State Department business just to surreptitiously measure for new window treatments. So, I understand why Mrs. Obama might want to get out of the house once in awhile.

But then I saw the photos of her cart contents and I was confused. Mrs. Obama wasn't loading up on adorable Missoni scarves and headbands and rubber Wellingtons or beach-scented Yankee Candles. She wasn't even buying poster board and glitter for the girls' Social Studies dioramas.

She was purchasing towels.

Why on earth was the first lady buying towels at Target? What's that about? Maybe it's because I've never been there and don't know, but I assumed the White House was like a hotel in that you didn't have to bring your own linens. Although I wouldn't be surprised if the Clintons absconded with all the towels, seems like the Bushes would have replaced them with something plush and nice since then.

Also, Mrs. Obama purchased Lysol wipes. That made me sad. I don't want to live in a country where the first lady has to wipe the POTUS's toothpaste globs off the sinks. Plus, don't they have people for that? And if they don't, despite my own fiscal conservatism, I'm willing to fork out a couple of extra bucks to pay someone else to do it.

Of course, it's since come out that Charles Dharapak of the Associated Press had been tipped off to the excursion, so ultimately this whole thing was a stunt. I feel like the White House played with my great love for All Things Target and that makes me angry.

So now I'm glad their newest designer collection sold out in minutes.

No Missoni ballet flats for you, first lady.

Humor & Satire

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