Combat Shopping at Target on Missoni Line's Debut Day

If you went to Target today to buy a blender and instead found yourself face-to-face with a shopping mob worthy of Black Friday proportions, you have only yourself to blame for not knowing today marks the debut of Missoni for Target, the high-end fashion house's more accessible clothing line. Online shoppers had it only slightly easier -- the Target Web site has been up and down throughout the day.

I stayed up a little later than usual last night, researching Targets citywide. I read online store reviews, calculated distance against likely morning traffic flows, and ultimately decided that my "usual" Target in Meyerland Plaza was my best bet. I was guessing that the Target on San Felipe would be a complete zoo, while the one in the Heights (on Shearn) was too inconvenient. I woke up early, fueled up with some peanut butter toast and headed out the door.

I should have eaten a bigger breakfast.

I arrived at Meyerland Plaza at about 7:50 a.m. There were only about 15 women queued outside the door, and I was mentally patting myself on the back for my choice. Not too many people, and no line to speak of. The doors opened precisely at 8 a.m. and while most everyone made their way politely through the doors, three women took off at a full-on sprint toward the Missoni women's apparel display.

One of them made her way around the racks at full speed, scooping up each garment -- at least one in every size. I watched in utter amazement as the three women worked as a team to clear the racks, and at one point The Tall One yelled at The Short One, "Don't worry about it! I'm getting all of the extra-smalls for you! Just go and grab stuff from that other rack!"

In the first seven minutes, that group of three women had eliminated at least half of the small amount of stock on display. The rest of us -- the slow, the old, the polite -- had to trail this Team of Three to the fitting rooms and wait for them to try on and discard pieces to the return rack before we could check out the merchandise. At one point, when I emerged from the dressing room, The Tall One yelled, "Are you going to buy that? Can we try it? Or is it just not that cute?"

I offered to trade her the dress in my hand for something in her cart in an extra small, which made her smirk; I took that as a "no."

Later, when she emerged from the dressing room with an armful of extra-smalls (including the dress I was forced to stalk her for), I sarcastically asked her if I could have the dress; she replied, "Could I at least put it down on the rack first?" And then I countered, "I would have liked to be able to pick it up off the rack in the first place, but you and your friends cleared them so no one else could try anything on."

She turned around and complained to her friends how rude I was.

Sorry, I don't like combat shopping.

That being said, I thought the Meyerland Target employees handled the frenzy beautifully and politely.

I was able to purchase most of the pieces I wanted, though I think I may return a few of the "maybes."

I managed to score the small carry-on piece of luggage and the tote that were my main objectives, as well as a scarf, a dress, a chemise, a cardigan, a sweater, and a tie for my went-to-Europe-without-me husband...and I was home by 10 a.m.

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Christina Uticone