Target is torturing Karens. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s why it just might work. I suspected they were torturing Karens when I went to Target this morning. They’d rearranged everything. Everything!
I couldn't find the Tostitos. I had no idea where they relocated the laundry detergent. Where the licorice once sat, I found dog treats. It was like God flipped over Target, shook it, and everything landed in a different aisle.
I blame some asshole who worked at Target who liked a good prank. He probably thought it would be fun to mess with the Karens. Regular customers can handle change. Karens become unhinged by it.
“Let’s hide everything!” He probably said. “Let’s rev up the Karens and watch them freak out.”
“Boo Karens! Yeah Us!” They all cheered.
And it was working! Target was normally my calm place. Some people meditated. I Targeted. How dare they move my items around? I could feel my inner Karen heating up in my belly.
“This is bullshit,” my inner Karen whined, wildly swinging her Marc Jacobs’ purse at my organs. “I fucking come here to relax!” I told her to settle down, watch her mouth.
I told her, “Honey, we’re on the same side here. Target is my sanctuary too. It is where other people clean up after me. I pick up a sweater. I leave it in the ice cream freezer. I rip open a box of shoes. If they don’t fit, I squeeze’m between the bananas.”
Target was my place to be an asshole, not like at home where I was a goddamn saint. At home, my all-male household removed their pants at the door and pissed on the toilet seats. I was the red vest at home. I was the fucking manager. But at Target, I pissed on the toilet seat. I left socks on the floor.
I’d read recently in the New York Times that Target managers were done with Karens. It was a pithy little article mentioning little rebellions around the country.
Apparently, the managers didn’t want to speak to us anymore. No one was coming right out and admitting it, but it was happening.
When I walked into Target today, I only needed one pair of swim shorts for my son. I wasn’t there to browse. I wasn’t there to yell at any red vests. I had no intention of asking to speak to the manager. I only needed a pair of Cat and Jack netted trunks. I’d been buying them at Target for a decade.
I walked to the aisle where they’d always hung, but they were gone. Right where my son’s swim trunks were supposed to be, they were selling men’s boxers and scotch. I am not kidding. Boxers and scotch!
Yeah, that’s what we needed more of, I thought. Men drinking scotch in Hawaiian printed boxer shorts. Yeah, that’s the fucking world I wanted to live in. Do you want to know where Karens come from, people? That fucking scenario.
I walked over to the women’s underwear section next to see what kind of party our underpants were getting. No scotch. Only weird fucking prison utility jumpers.
Something shifted in me. I could feel my inner Karen crawling out of my belly like Sigourney Weaver’s alien. I’d had enough. I needed to speak to the manager immediately. Who the fuck moved swim trunks? What kind of sadistic shit was this?
Target didn’t relocate every item in one day unless they were conspiring against me. I was frightened. Where could I be Karen if not Target? This was personal.
It turned out I wasn't alone. It wasn't personal. I wasn’t the only Karen confounded, offended, and made despondent regarding the rearrangement of the store’s items.
There were Karens everywhere, bumping into each other’s carts and crashing into chip towers searching for relocated items. We looked like mice whose maze had been changed while we were sleeping.
I wasn’t giving up. I needed those swim trunks. I was going to find them myself without the assistance of a store employee. I wasn’t going to ask to speak to the manager, even if I died of old age looking for those swim shorts.
I left my cart behind and began my search, starting with aisle one. I passed a Karen weeping in the card aisle. “What are you looking for?” I asked her. “Tampons,” she answered, pulling cards off the shelf, chewing on an envelope, throwing pens. I nodded.
I saw a Karen curled inside her cart in the baby furniture aisle. She was growling and pointing at aisles indiscriminately.
I saw a Karen praying on a yoga mat in the camping section, asking no one in particular, “Where the fuck did you move the La Croix?”
I saw a Karen splayed onto the floor in the cereal aisle. “What are you looking for?” I asked her.
“Multi-vitamins with collagen and Tumeric,” she cried. Then she grabbed my leg and screamed, “DO YOU WORK HERE?”
And then I saw them. The swim trunks hung glistening beneath the halogen lights. Beside them, Target had placed vodka. Kids swimsuits and vodka, I pondered. Well placed, Target. Well placed. Maybe Target wasn’t torturing me after all. Maybe Target was my salvation.