I’ll admit it. Until Sunday, I didn’t own one thing from designer Lilly Pulitzer, who apparently is ultra-popular down here, especially among sorority girls. I’ll also admit that I’ve never gotten up before dawn for any kind of shopping event.
So when two girlfriends suggested we check out the Lilly for Target sale at the Steele Creek store Sunday morning, I went more for the company.
At 7:30 a.m., it was cold and drizzling and I was already dreaming about a nap. We arrived to a long line of mostly women, several clad in the iconic bright pink and green.
A bunch were talking about how they had logged online several times overnight to try to order stuff, but the Target website kept freezing. One lady said she hardly got an hour of sleep.
7:45 rolled around and the security guy started instructing everyone that there is to be absolutely no running. Buzzing his Walkie-Talkie, he started muttering something about strategy to a coworker like we were going to war. My heart rate started to quicken as images of a suburbia Hunger Games flooded my mind.
At 8 when the doors opened, the crowd burst in. I lost my friends early, panicked and started grabbing anything pastel colored I could find (it was post-frenzy that I realized I’d grabbed a bikini and a little girl’s dress that were both definitely not Lilly).
At about 8:10, my friends and I rendezvoused near cosmetics, where a kindhearted employee had said there were some makeup bags remaining. A bunch of other shoppers stared eagerly at our finds, and I actually feared we might get mugged.
By 8:20, my heart rate returned to normal, the Lilly racks were completely empty and people were starting to barter.
Others were parked inside dressing rooms, ready to scoop up unwanted pieces. One friend witnessed tears from disappointed teens, another saw two fighting over a pillow.
Sunday’s frenzy makes the business reporter in me think that Charlotte retail is definitely alive and well. I also realize I’m much better covering this stuff from the comfort and safety of my own desk than partaking myself.
But I’m still keeping the makeup bag.
Photos: Murray Close; Katie Peralta
Katie Peralta is a business reporter who previously covered the U.S. economy from inside the beltway. Follow her @katieperalta