Friday, June 30th 2006
HolyMama: In the Cross Hairs at Target

Mike’s not the sort to blow his top over, well, anything. He’s a laid back kinda guy. Never jealous, never overprotective, never any of that stuff – not that i give him reason to be. But the other night he really, really got outraged on my behalf. Which was funny, because I thought it was no big deal, and of the two of us? I’m usually the one to overreact. (ok. ALWAYS. It’s always me. Except this one time.)

I went to Target with just Seth-8mth.  I have a weird  Love/Hate relationship with Target. I love their greeting cards and stationery and paper goods. Loooove their  cheapo t shirts in all colors. Hate the strict return policy (hello? I can’t return this even though it still has the tags that SAY ‘target’? Ya kiddin me?).

Anyway, I walk in carrying Seth-8mth, a blanket for him, and my purse. I go in the first automatic doors, pass the entrance to the Returns/Exchanges area (where I never want to go again), and through the second set of automatic sliding doors. BEEEEP!

The alarm goes off. I turn to look, and there’s a lady behind me, heading into the Returns area with a bag. I figure it’s her fault, and go start to get a basket. A man approaches from behind and says, "You’re probably wearing clothing from the Gap or Old Navy."

Huh? Could we get security over here, because I don’t wanna take this survey.

"Um, no." I say, looking down at what I’m wearing.

Anonymous Man says, "Well, the security system beeped when you came in and that can be the reason."

This makes no sense.

"Uh huh." I start to get a basket. I’m wanting one with the built in baby carrier so I can place Seth-8mth and his blanket in there and get AWAY.

Anonymous Man – because he has no name tag, no uniform, and has not bothered to introduce himself – says, "Well, it must be something in your purse. Why don’t you come with me over here and walk through this sensor again."

Stunned, I oblige. BEEEEP!

He says something I don’t recall, and takes my purse and waves it in front of the sensor. No beep. I go through it again, holding Seth-8mth and his blanket – but not my purse because i’ve wisely handed it over to a stranger – and it beeps.

We discuss the contents of my pockets. Short conversation, since I think putting stuff in my pockets might make me look fat and so I don’t do it. (No, I don’t tell HIM that, I’m telling YOU that) Anonymous Man grudgingly hands back my purse. I ask him, "What do we do now?"

"Well, there’s not much I can do now." He sounds disappointed.

I’m thrilled a strip search is not in order.

He then questions me about my clothes again.

"Nope, they’re all quite old, actually," I say, realizing this for the first time today. He asks about Seth-8mths clothes.

"These are all hand-me-downs from his brother."

"The blanket?"

"Old." Ha. That was Kim-12yr’s as a baby, and certainly didn’t come from Old Navy or Gap.

"Well, I guess you can go, but be aware that it will beep when you leave here." (It didn’t)

"Uh huh. So what does Old Navy or Gap have to do with this?"

"They leave the sensors in their stuff and don’t deactivate them, and they’re similar to ours."

Does that make even a BIT of sense? Wouldn’t alarms would go off at gap and Old Navy if that were the case? Am I missing something?

I finally got away from him, tried to look as innocent as possible as i shopped. It was hard, because there were employees around every corner, watching me. I was glad that maybe this would be my last time there, since we’re getting another Target closer to our house.


Actually, I did miss quite a few things, since I’m not a real ‘think on your feet’ kinda gal.

1. I didn’t realize this guy could be anyone.

2. I went along with all of this. It didn’t embarrass me, although it easily could have.

3. Why didn’t i say, "HELLO? ALL I DID WAS WALK IN YOUR STORE, READY TO SPEND MONEY?" I could understand that treatment if i were exiting the store, but i WAS NOT, and he knew it.

Mike was furious. I told him about this, in a nonchalant way since it was inconvenient and all, but not offensive. To me, that is. Mike was quite offended. "You were harrassed!"

"Was not! WHoever he was really didn’t do his job well, assuming he had a job there, but he didn’t harrass me."

Back and forth. Back and forth. Finally MIke asked, "Do you want to take it further?"

Take it FURTHER? My laid back husband said WHAT? Does that mean he’s calling his attorney, or the mafia, or what the HECK was THAT? I still don’t know. But I asked, and then he started off again, so I tried to diffuse his anger and I assured him I didn’t want to take it FURTHER, and acted like I knew what that meant.

Then an hour later, all of y’all got dragged into this lovely discussion. Aren’t you flattered? "You should write about it and see what THEY think about this."

"Uh huh."

So, in place of our attorney (who could probably do some serious damage), or the mafia (pretty sure they could to), I turn to y’all.

What was up with THAT?

Had anything similar happen at Target?

Understand the Gap/Old Navy defense?

Do you know if the security there is ‘unmarked?’ (Mike swears that’s illegal, as was his taking my purse, but let’s not get him started again.)

I’ll be interested in your responses. (As will Mike, I’m sure.) 


61 Comments on “HolyMama: In the Cross Hairs at Target”

June 30th, 2006
2:43 pm

Hmmm. Philosophically, I’m more of Mike’s opinon (and so flattered he asked!) but in terms of what I would actually do, I’m probably more on your side, only because I would rather just not go there any more than mess with it. Unless not going there any more is what he meant by “taking it further” in which case I agree with him totally.

Hilarious re-telling, by the way.

June 30th, 2006
2:46 pm

Hmmm…I beeped at Target recently too, and don’t know why. I would be inclined to let it be. No real harm done. Unless it happens again. Then I would definitely ask the guy’s name and talk to his boss.

Mary, mom to many

June 30th, 2006
2:57 pm

I kept beeping at Old Navy every time I wore a certain pair of shoes…..but they were from Famous Footwear! Maybe there’s this underground sensor gang that just likes to confuse the shit out of as many shoppers as possible in whatever store they enter…..maybe it just expands the workforce at Target and Old Navy and Famous Footwear, so they can hire guys like the one who stopped you, just to give them somethng to do? Maybe I need a glass of wine right now, b/c maybe my kids are driving me over the edge?? LOL
I’m with you on this one…just let it be, or maybe inquire as to who exactly that guy was…I’d be curious to know if he was actually an employee?
Oh, and thanks for the “Dallas get-together” info….since I’m right here, I might be able to make it!

June 30th, 2006
3:49 pm

I’m sorry! I have to quit laughing before I can give you a serious answer (although I’m sure it was anything but funny when it happened). mmmph … hee hee … snicker.

Maybe later.

June 30th, 2006
4:12 pm

I have never seen “plain clothes” security at Target and I certainly think it was inappropriate of him to take your purse and go through it without identifying himself. Especially seeing as how you were just walking IN to the store. I mean really, what did he think, that you’d shoplifted something on an earlier visit and decided to bring it with you next time.

I probably would have done the same thing you did but I certainly think it might be worth 10 minutes to write a letter to the store management. You never know you might get a gift card or something.

June 30th, 2006
4:18 pm

Well, I personally would’ve been a little offended, and might have agreed with the hubby on this one and at least call the manager and ask if that is protocol. Ridiculous if you ask me. If I were you, I may be inclined to start shopping at Wal-Mart (although Target is a fun place to be….when you’re not being strip searched!)

June 30th, 2006
4:25 pm

oh! he didn’t go through my purse. he was going to if it made the sensor beep, i think.

June 30th, 2006
4:54 pm

I’m more of just let it go…now if the guy had continued to detain you and make a huge deal of it, yep, I would be complaining.
Weird that you were coming into the store and he did this…maybe he thought you had stolen something earlier and you were sneaking it back in?
Maybe you should call the store and let them know that if they have someone handling this stuff, the person should have some sort of id on….that is scary that he could have been just anybody.

June 30th, 2006
5:27 pm

I asked a Target employee once, when the VERY SAME thing happened to me, and they wanted to check the pockets of my mentally retarded 17 year old, what the deal was. She said the “beep” happens randomly to keep security on their toes.

The security guy we had must have had some resentment at missing the Police Dept exam again because he practically tackled my kid.
I pointed my finger at him and said as menacingly as I could manage, “If you lay one finger on my mentally retarded child, you’ll be picking up your teeth with broken fingers.”

He backed off, and quickly. But not before this exchange wasn’t witnessed by 2 gossipey Moms from my daughter’s PTA.

I have a reputation now. You’re damn skippy!

Don’t mess with this mama, Target….just show me the One Spot!


June 30th, 2006
5:45 pm

Gosh, I would at least call the store manager.

That is weird and in this day and time you can’t be too careful!

Our security at Target wear uniforms I think.
Or at least target clothes and a walkie talkie.

Somehow I always know who they are.

June 30th, 2006
6:02 pm

Even though I’m a paralegal, I’m not quite sure what to make of the situation. He detained you, that is illegal, equivalent to kidnapping. He stole some time out of your life, but what are the damages? It’s just plain weird. I think if I was in that situation I would have asked for a manager to come over just to make sure this guy was for real.

Anyhoo, I love reading your blog….have a great weekend!

June 30th, 2006
6:29 pm

I agree with Suzanne. This person thinks he has the most important job in the world, and nothing is too minor to get past him on his watch. It’s probably not worth making a big deal out of (how’s that for nice English?), but a written complaint to the management might make you feel better. Just don’t spend a lot of time on it, or you’ll feel “detained” once again!

Ya gotta love retail . . . .

June 30th, 2006
6:31 pm

About 90% of the time we go into Target, my 9 year old beeps. We have no idea why, but we know 1 of her coats for sure always beeps, it’s from the Limited 2. I don’t know why it happens, but she freaks out everytime we go there, and she’d really prefer that we dont’. But at our Target they could care less. We’ve beeped sooo many times leaving and no one ever has said anything to us. Who Knows. My hub would probably want to go back there too, just to complain about that guy and find out if he really works there.

June 30th, 2006
6:31 pm

I think you should write a letter to management expressing your concern over his lack of identification – for his safety, of course. What if you had felt the need to use self-defense on him, thinking he might have been some sort of predator? You’ve seen those emails. A girl can’t be too careful.

Even if they don’t give you a gift card, they might at least require security to wear a uniform or some form of ID.

June 30th, 2006
6:36 pm

I seem to have the opposite problem. I usually get home only to find the sensor on the item of clothes I have purchased still attached and it DID NOT beep as I went out the door. (Ahem, Kohls) It alwasys happens when I have bought something to wear that night of course and I am already late.

Last time this happened I got ready, took the pants in, had them take off the sensor and changed in my minivan. How’s that for classy?

Shannon @ Rocks in my Dryer
June 30th, 2006
7:17 pm

I think I’d at least write a letter to the store and complain. Maybe they’d send you a $25 Target gift card or something. Which you could spend at a DIFFERENT Target.

June 30th, 2006
8:08 pm

I beeped at Target the other night when I was leaving. They didn’t even bother to look, the security guard just waved me through.

I would have been a little creeped out of someone had stopped me while I was on my way in though.

Patrick B
June 30th, 2006
8:21 pm

I know that in my area they do have security personnel who wander the store looking for shoplifters but they do not confront but send for uniformed security.

as for the beeping, I read a story not too long back about a little boy who because of something in his body chemistry, sets beepers off.

For that matter I’ve heard of them being set off by cell phones and such.

June 30th, 2006
8:45 pm

I haven’t read all the comments, so someone else may have already said this, but…

I think it would be a good idea to call the store manager or, better yet, a regional manager. Yeah, you were hassled. I’ve had sensors go off in various and sundry stores. If it’s clear that I am not leaving the store with packages and I stop and show that I am not trying to abscound with a $5 bracelet (as if I’d ever even find a good one at that price) then they just wave me through without even walking up to me.

No clue what that was about, but if they guy had no name tag or other identifiers, he might have been like “undercover” security.

Or not.

June 30th, 2006
8:49 pm

I think the “guard” was totally out of line. I think you should at least call the store manager to see if he’s a real employee or just playing one at the gate. I wonder why he didn’t check the other lady who came in behind you?

June 30th, 2006
8:49 pm

Definitely get with the manager. In a non-confrontational manner, because they are more likely to be on your side that way. If you are angry, they are on the defensive and will automatically back their guy. If he was indeed their guy. :) good luck, please update us!

June 30th, 2006
9:27 pm

I don’t see why plainclothes security would be illegal. Hell, I’d just let it go. Too much trouble to be calling attornys and whatnot.

June 30th, 2006
9:29 pm

I can’t stand Target’s policies. UGH!

It was probably your cell phone. For some reason, cell phones set the beepers thingy’s off.

As far as the oldnavy/gap thing… HUH???? They must be nuts.

I would have probably turned around and walked out. Dh won’t even shop there anymore. And I won’t buy anything that has any chance at all of being returned. But they are the only store around here that carries my favorite laundry detergent.

June 30th, 2006
9:56 pm

Since I would have to drive to another town, and then drive all the way across that town, to get to the nearest Target, I seldom go there, unless someone is getting married/having a baby (not both at once… least not so far…)and is registered there, I just go to Wal-mart. It’s much closer, and has a better return policy.
As for the “security” person—my nephew used to be with Sears security. They are always supposed to show identification as soon as they approach a customer. i would talk to the manager, and tell him that in this day and time, that it is frightening to a woman to be approached by an unknown man who shows no i.d.

June 30th, 2006
10:56 pm

YES I DID!!! I had my six-month old baby in the baby carrier and she was holding her sisters ratty old barbie doll. I put my WALLET, not purse, WALLET under the seat and did my shopping. I had paid for all of my purchases and the ONLY other thing in the cart was the ratty doll that I had placed in the child seating area. I got in line and when the cashier was ringing me up the phone at the register rang and it was the managers telling her that she needed to check my cart because they thought I had put something in there. I HAVE NEVER STOLEN ANYTHING IN MY LIFE!!! But there I was, being accused of it with six people in line behind me. Then the stupid cashier had the nerve to tell me in her whiney nineteen year-old voice “Don’t be mad at me, the managers made me do it.” AGGGHHHH!!!!!

I came home and told my dh and then my mom. My mom was furious and told me that I should have just taken my bag and walked out and then when they accused me of shoplifting in the parking lot I could have sued them. WHY didn’t I know that THEN!!!

It was humiliating! I called the manager and didn’t even get an apology. She just said “Well, she wasn’t supposed to let you know that she was looking.”

I have tried to look guilty since then so that they would accuse me again…It hasn’t worked yet.

July 1st, 2006
12:26 am

I’d call the manager. And write a letter to whomever is above him. They could at least apologize and make sure it doesn’t happen again…and ESPECIALLY since your husband wasn’t with you, the whole thing kind of gives me the creeps. Probably because he didn’t have any kind of nametag or badge on. Weird.

July 1st, 2006
12:45 am

I’m a shrug it of my shoulders type person for the most part. Can’t say that I could have done that if they had “taken it further”!

But for the most part what Suzanne had to say made sence. Don’t like the no uniform stuff.

My dear hubby also will pull the “just ask them” card out on me in a debate. Problem is that I usually know what “they” are gonna say.

It’s a way to place a “To be continued . . . NOT!” disclamer on the argument.

July 1st, 2006
2:03 am

What’s wrong with your Target?

I never have trouble returning things. They scan my debit card and can find the receipt from when I bought it, in their computer. I even went once and told them I had left my roast there. (I wasn’t lying, I really did.) Despite the fact that they hadn’t found a roast lying around, they gave me another one.

The beeping thing ALWAYS happens to my husband when we enter AND leave the store. Has something to do with his wallet, I think. Anyway, no one has once checked our stuff. And they would never be STUPID enough to interrogate us as we’re walking into the store.

That said, I’d probably do nothing … but I’m kinda wussy like that.

July 1st, 2006
7:36 am

Okay, that’s just weird. I’d be a little nervous in hindsight, but “taking it further”? I don’t know. I think I’d just let it go unless it happened again, at which point I’d make the guy prove he was a security employee before I’d give him anything…not that I’ve ever “made” anyone do anything in my life, but I’d like to think I could. ;)

July 1st, 2006
9:31 am

Oh my goodness – I can’t even imagine this! All the security fellows at our Target are not only uniformed, they’re uniformed like security guards/police officers. So there’s no question who they are or what they’re there for.

I can’t believe that they put you through that. Maybe that guy was new on the job or something & didn’t understand the whole “beep when the customer LEAVES” thing. How totally annoying. I agree – I’d write a letter to corporate detailing your experience and maybe you’ll get a gift card or something. In any case, they should know how their employees (if, in fact he WAS) are harassing the customers. Sheesh.

July 1st, 2006
10:05 am

I’ve been reading for awhile but thought I’d come out of the woodwork to comment on this one. The management should definitely be contacted in some form. You were entering, not exiting, the store. The guy did not in any way identify himself. He took your purse. They as management need to know two things: a)if he is an employee he is crossing some lines and is not trained properly (b)if he’s not an employee and is getting jollies scaring people they need to get him out of the store!!

Who knows. You may get a few freebies out of it and maybe save some unsuspecting senior or youngster, both of whom might really get rattled from something like this, from going thru the same experience.

Love your sense of humor by the way!!

July 1st, 2006
11:17 am

I beep when I go into a lot of places-even the post office. I don’t wear gap or Old Navy. I was told in one store it was probably my cell phone. I don’t know though. I have a Razr phone.

July 1st, 2006
1:29 pm

Oh, my gosh! My husband and I beeped everytime we went to Target… well together that is. We’d beep upon going in and beep upon going out… and were always pounced upon by whatever Target employee was nearest to the doors. Then it dawned on me one day while I was shopping alone that I didn’t beep. Not once. It was all HIM!! (Yes, I was smuggly relieved!) So, on our next visit together, sure enough we beeped. Good ol’ hubby stood there in the doorway with the “gestapo on duty” and after 30 minutes they discovered that his wallet was the culprit. He had purchased it from Target over ten years before and somehow the sensor had worked its way in between the lining and the leather. Once they figured the mystery out, they then proceeded to “play” with sensor and the security gate. (Yes, I just stood there, silently mortified.) We now can shop in peace, together, which is a good thing because at this point… ALL the employees at Target know who we are!!! My only question now is… why didn’t that stinkin’ wallet beep the day my hubby bought it and left Target that first time?!?! Hmmmm?

Blond Girl
July 1st, 2006
2:14 pm

Well, I gotta say that I love Target – some days I think I should have automatic transfer from my paycheck to them. On this incident, though, I think a call to the store manager is in order. If for nothing else than for them to understand two important things:
1. customers don’t steal on their way INTO the store; leave them alone at that point and chalk it up to faulty electronics and
2. If the security guy chooses to “blow his undercover” by putting you through all that, he needs to identify himself.


July 1st, 2006
2:36 pm

I think speaking/writing to a manager might be a very good thing. First, it will calm your husband’s concerns. Second, it will make sure they are aware that an plainclothes either security guard or bystander is harassing people entering the store.

Something else to consider. I used to work for a large Grocery Store chain in my area. The best attention was paid to the complaints that were sent to the corporate office not the complaints sent to the store level. So often the people at the store level know each other too well and can talk their way out of the situation. So, maybe you can find the corporate office in your area and send a letter. I bet you get a better response that way.

July 1st, 2006
2:41 pm

I have beeped at Target too, they said it was my new cell phone … hmmm. I got it at the Verizon store and do cell phones have a sensor? Don’t know. At my local Target the security guys/gals are definitely in uniform. They are burley (even the gals) high school drop out looking folks. But they are there ready for action!
Ok, that being said. I also think that a call to the store manager is in order. At the VERY LEAST Anonymous Man should have identified himself as security .. isn’t that what they do? And you were entering the store, but I am sure the theory is that you might be trying to return stolen merchandise .. you and your 8mo old …
I love the stuff at Target – but the service is mediocre, at best and the return policy does suck!
My question is, doesn’t it feel a little good to have your husband be offended on your behalf?
My husband is similar to Mike and when, on the rare occasion, gotten offended on my behalf – it was a warm fuzzy feeling – even if I didn’t understand it :o )

July 1st, 2006
7:54 pm

ok there’s 36 comments and i am wiped to read through them all – but here’s my two cents…

security there from what i have observed are always in uniform – wheter that be target security or police security.

old navy/ gap tags are sewn into the clothes now. it even says cut here (along dotted line) and remove before wearing. it bites. i cute them out right away (i mean it’s right where the fly is on my shorts!).

i beeped the other day going in since i was returning a little wallet and two of the managers were passing me as i beeped and walked in and they just smiled, said ‘hi ma’am’ and went about their business. something smells rotten at that target there in tx. i would definitely voice this!

July 1st, 2006
10:50 pm

It is a little creepy that he was unmarked AND w/o a uniform but I probably would have done the exact same thing.

My two cents…watch for him or somebody like him the next time you go and if he stops you again, then get a manager – and I’d complain!!

Heather I.
July 1st, 2006
11:14 pm

Hmmm…you should let somebody high up at Target know about this weirdness.

Print out this blog post, including all the comments. Send it to their headquarters, with a sticky note on the top — FYI.

You should definitely get a gift card. Blog mamas have power. We rule! :)

July 1st, 2006
11:23 pm

I have to say…that I would have been embarrassed beyond any sense of what is suppose to be right or wrong…I would have done exactly what the guy asked, would have probably volunteered even more…like here is my purse…look thru it, take it apart piece by piece. I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about it until I had a chance to tell my husband, and he would give me this incredulous look, like I was blond or something and tell me exactly what your husband is angry about. I am such a people pleaser, that I don’t want even a Target employee (he should have been in uniform or name tag or something, but I can’t blame you, cuz I would have missed it too)I don’t like confrontation, at all…and I don’t want to look guilt when I am not…but then I think I must look guilty or why would someone search me, when really I volunteered it….
So I am with you…because I would have done the exact same thing. And I am with you, cuz my hubby would have done the exact same thing your hubby did.

julie carobini
July 2nd, 2006
12:24 am

If it were me? I’d think about all the great responses I SHOULD HAVE given long into the night. Ugh.

Still, I wonder what set off those alarms. Could it have been something you ate? Hahahah…

grafted branch
July 2nd, 2006
9:59 am

Well, you CAN’T take it any further because the guy doesn’t actually work there! Probably.

If that’s the case, I’m glad you’re o.k. Anything could have happened and you were so fallin’ for it. Babies do that to us.

July 2nd, 2006
10:42 am

oh my, I would report the incident in case the guy really did not work there!!! Other women may be harassed!

July 2nd, 2006
1:08 pm

I would not willingly hand my pocketbook to someone unless he showed me a badge and I would have mentioned that since I beeped coming into the store what’s it to him. Also, if I were your husband I would go to the manager and complain (not sue because that’s a waste of time and effort over something you admitted in public wasn’t such a big deal :-)

July 2nd, 2006
4:58 pm

We set of Lowe’s everytime we walk in (And with building this house, that’s A LOT). They told us that it might be a small strip of metal in my sons tennis shoes that is setting the beepers off. Of course everytime we buy him new shoes he goes with the same brand…so we can’t get away from it.

July 3rd, 2006
8:46 am

I’m with you and the love/hate relationship w/Target. I like their stuff and clean stores, but DO NOT like their crazy return policy!

July 3rd, 2006
10:25 am

Whoa. That was a weird happening. Kinda freaky but very confusing? Hope he wasn’t a sicko tracking down where you live or something. Be careful. Oh please come play the peek game on my site this week! I’d love to hear your moment!

Antique Mommy
July 3rd, 2006
9:13 pm

I’d write a strongly worded letter and see if I could get some free stuff.

July 3rd, 2006
10:13 pm

So, basically … you were “harrasseled” — hmmmmm … I tink I’d go with Shannon’s idea. Talk it up big, and you might get more than a $25 gift card!

Paulette Williams
July 3rd, 2006
11:27 pm

Yea I am number 50!!! I should at least get a beeeeeeeeeeep lol
My adopted mom bought me an awesome Leather jacket from Foleys for Christmas. Everytime I wore that jacket in Target the dumb alarm would go off everytime, when I came in the Store and out again. Oh yes trust me they have plain clothes officers everywhere…
They surely knew that coat did not come from target because the brand was in the coat. They did not trust me either. We never could find the security element and a couple times of going through that I took the coat back to Foleys and they removed it from the pocket…

July 4th, 2006
1:51 am

I think as soon as some guy with no name tag started asking my personal belongings, because I beeped, I would have asked him who he is and if he works for target or not. I would not answer a single question from him or anybody else.
As for the Target return policy, I find it odd that you can not return something with tag on it. In fact, I love T’s return plicy, because you dont even need a recipt to return, just show your credit card and the money goes back to it. Personally I think they have one of the easiest return process.

July 6th, 2006
12:03 am

Ok this happened to me to! (Except not at Target, but at every other store I went into that day). And you betcha it was my new pair of jeans from the GAP.

July 10th, 2006
6:44 pm

I, too, have had this problem and made several phone calls to find out why my Old Navy clothes made alarms go off.

You know the tags in the back-collar area of your shirt? The ones that say size and cleaning instructions, etc? Well, on Gap and Old Navy clothes, they sew a similar looking tag on the side seams of their clothing – usually along the side of the waist in their shirts and on the sides of the hips in their pants. These tags contain sensors and are meant to be cut out when you get home. They’ve been deactivated for Old Navy/Gap when you’ve made a purchase but for some reason, they will still set off other alarm systems if not cut out of the clothing.

As for the security guy, he was being a moron and should pointed at and laughed at. Why bother you coming INTO the store?

Former Target Chick
July 12th, 2006
6:49 am

I love Target. Forgive me, but I used to work there and can shed a little light on the subject.

Security: Some wear a uniform, some don’t. The one you dealt with didn’t sound like a bright bulb — he could have been smoother and less offensive.

Alarms: Security should approach you when you go off as you enter the store. If they approach you they will then recognize you when it comes time for you to leave the store. They will hassle you less over the alarm going off because they know you from when you came in.

EAS tags: Electronic- something that starts with an A, maybe alert-System. The security industry has a common tag that is used in most retail environments. Old Navy and the Gap are horrible about deactivating their tags. Those black things at the register at Target will deactivate the tag. When a tag fails to be deactiveated it will go off at any store that has a similare EAS system.

My best friend had a winter coat that went off every single time she went to Kroger, Target, and several other retailers. She was constantly humiliated. She told me the story, we worked together, and we found the tag and removed it. It was sewn INTO the coat’s lining!

The guy at Target should have handled it better. That is the bottom line. Try to forgive them though — you would be amazed at how many scammers there are out there!

By responding when a customer sets an alarm off on the way IN to the store security can often avoid humiliating customers on the way OUT. Sorry this happened to you. The tag system is justified when it comes to preventing theft and keeping the honast consumer from having to pay higher prices due to the losses caused by the dishonest among us. I may not like it, but I completely understand the need for a retailer such as Target (or Walmart, or anyone) to use this system.

Also, please know Target handles problem employees appropriately. It is good to report a security person who is inappropriate as the corporation takes action. People are retrained and given a fair due process. Target is a stand up corporation. Please do not judge all by the acts of the one. By reporting the concern you help them solve it.

It has been a few years since I worked for Target, but it was a great company to work for and I highly respect their policies and practices.

August 4th, 2006
2:12 am

I used to work at Kmart and our security was undercover in regular clothes. How can you catch people doing things if they spot the security?

I was working the outside garden once and got a call from security. A couple took a stereo system from electronics and walked out. They were heading my way. I was told to call security, stop them and ask to see the receipt. They had a receipt for it all right, from another Kmart.

That guy definitely should have identified himself to you. I always hated that part of my job, stopping people who beeped for whatever reason. As someone who has set off alarms and had to stop them it really sucks either way. I hope you have a more pleasant experience at Target in the future. We don’t have one here so it’s foreign territory to me.

October 18th, 2006
7:51 pm

Just so you know, I work at Target and we do have ununiformed security as does Walmart, Best Buy and any major store. Your husband is overreacting, the security officer was just doing his job. We continually have people that take stuff and walk out and then come back in for more. It is our job to watch for these sort of things. Just so you know it is not illegal to have under-cover officers, they actually have to go through police training to have that job.

October 18th, 2006
8:55 pm

Also, all of the people who told you to try to get free stuff, I bet my manager would politely tell you he was doing his job, which he was. As for our return policy, it is to prevent people from picking something off of the shelf and returning it to get the money for it. If you didn’t know, Walmart’s biggest loss of items is fraudulate returns. They lose millions a year for it. If you paid with a check, credit card, or debit card, all you have to do is give the card or check and they can look up your transaction. If you paid with cash, then you should keep the receipt. If you lose it then you can only do one no-reciept return a year.
Also, as many people have already stated most alarm systems are similar and products from other stores can set off our system. When you buy clothes or other items make sure the magnetic strips are deactivated or removed if nessecary. If you notice in any stores, there are black plastic squares near most registers, not just Target, those aren’t pointless although they might seem. These squares deactivation the magnetic strips on the products.
I’m sorry that you were unhappy with the circumstance, but you weren’t harrassed. He didn’t search you, he didn’t go through your stuff, all he did was run it through the scanners, and ask you some questions. Next time if you are unhappy just ask him who he is, not spaz out after you leave. Also, just so you don’t get upset next you are stopped, if you work out the store with anything out of a bag, they will ask to see your reciept, it’s policy. Not just some trying to be an ass.

November 1st, 2006
5:12 pm

Hi there, i actually stumbled across your site looking for pics of the target bullseye. I work for Target, and have for over three years, and i have worked just about every position there. We do have a plain clothes Assets Protection Team member(security guard, although they are not supposed to directly approach anyone unless they have been caught on tape stealing stuff, and if they do they are supposed to identify themselves first. I think what happened was if this was a plain clothes AP guy, he just had an overinflated ego, because the Plain cloths thing is sort of a…. perk, i guess the word would be. he was kind of doing his job, as stated above, but he really could have done it a little bit better. as also stated above. This just makes me laugh because at my old job(actually working with a security company) we constantly had to retrain security officers, because they got a big head, and thought they were actual police officers… I must also add even though i stumbled on your blog by accident, after reading through a few, i have really come to enjoy it, and i believe i will read quite often.

January 25th, 2007
10:24 am

I work for Target, and the security tags that Old Navy and Gap use are on a certain “frequency” or something, and when they deactivate them, its for their frequency, and that leaves Target’s frequency open. Kohl’s clothing have the same thing. In their defense, it says right on the sewn in security tag, to “Remove before wearing”… But yeah, Target Policy is to have all their security in full uniform, so I don’t know what was going on in that store, and you should have complained to guest relations about the “strange man” coming up and grabbing your purse. There are undercover security in the store from time to time, but they shouldn’t be working the front door like that.


People are less moral than 30 years ago

September 5th, 2007
9:08 pm

I’ve basically been doing nothing to speak of. Basically nothing seems worth thinking about. I feel like a void, but that’s how it is. I’ve just been hanging out doing nothing.

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