After staying up all night waiting for the Lilly Pulitzer collection to launch online, I drove to the Hoover West store in hopes of having better luck. I arrived around 6:15 AM in the pouring rain and no line had formed. Once the weather died down, I hopped out with a book and a piece of cardboard to sit on and made myself comfortable at the front door closest to the Electronic section (both sets of doors would be opened at 8:00, but this set was the quickest way to Ladies Apparel). Just when I began to think I was a little nuts, other cars began trickling into the parking lot. By 7:00 there was a line that eventually extended into the rain as well as one at the second set of doors near the Grocery section.
At 7:30 or so, a store manager came out to ask us not to run once we were let in, and to be kind to each other. We agreed at the front of the line that this would not be an issue. However, three people did attempt to break the line, which I thought was extremely tacky. When the doors were opened, I quickly made my way toward Ladies Apparel. I never looked back, but I could feel the crush of about 60 people behind me. I pulled the Fan Dance shift dress I wanted in two sizes and the Nosie Posey clutch I wanted as well, and hustled over to the Beauty aisle to grab the Fan Dance double-zip train case. Then I went back to try on the dresses. When I came out, I noted the decimated clothes racks and bewilderment of women who’d gotten there late. I handed the dress I didn’t want to a lady who was very grateful, then headed to the cashier. I saw no fighting or crying, but I did see lots of grabbing, some stockpiling and several hurt, disappointed and confused faces. The stock was definitely wiped out within minutes.
After checking out, I drove eight miles to the Bessemer store to look for the Fan Dance round top clutch, but found the Pineapple juicer instead. I’m ashamed to admit that I drove to two other stores in search of the clutch (with no luck), but at that point I was pretty delirious.
A note on the quality: while some minor details are missing on the shift (lace trim and bra strap holders), I’m happy with what I received. The clutch is sturdy with beautiful embroidery and a vibrant floral design. The train case and porcelain juicer are well-made as well. I couldn’t care less about someone thinking it’s cheap. I thought the items were cute overall and nicely done at the price point offered. It is a shame Target is not planning to restock so more people can enjoy the collection.
All in all, it paid to get there early (and to have long legs and a strategy). But I’m not sure I will go this extreme again.
Aside from the problems experienced with the website and the hassle of shopping the store, I hated the fact that the quantities were so limited. If you got to the store at 8:00, you could basically forget it. This release brought out the ugly side of a lot of people, fighting and grabbing up things to sell at ridiculous prices elsewhere. Then there is the faction of Lilly snobs who came out in full force on social media to bash people who enjoy the novelty of these collaborations as well as the democratization of fashion (i.e. whining because Lilly is no longer limited to those who live in exclusive enclaves and have exclusive tastes). On another note, I wish Target would make these launches into “events” with music, food and giveaways for customers who congregate at the store. It might’ve helped the atmosphere a little. After all, Lilly was famous for her Palm Beach juice stand; they could’ve at least served orange juice!
I say “never again,” for now…at least until the next collaboration is announced. Don’t judge me.
Images via Google