PART 3: STORYTIMES
If this sounds like it should be in a youtube video, it probably should be.
#1: MY TRAUMATIC TARGET EXPERIENCE
Even before I actually went to the US, I was low-key obsessed with Target, mostly due to the influence of one of my favourite shows, Gilmore Girls (what a classic!). Anyway, this was probably the reason for my less-than-realistic ideals of what my dream supermarket would be like.
At first, the shopping experience started off well. There was so much more variety than Tesco or Asda (like makeup!!) – and although the prices were a bit more expensive that I was thinking, I was still keeping my cool. Unexpectedly, I stumbled upon a seemingly-awesome bargain – two original Burt’s Bees lip balms for about $3. Again, I am low-key obsessed with lip balms – however, in the UK these lip balms are normally £5 a pop. Making sure that it was the right item, I cheerfully popped it into my basket, blissfully unaware.
The next tragedy occurred in the stationery section. Another fact about me is that I LOVE shopping for stationery – so when I saw a pack of nice Crayola colouring pencils for 97 cents, I practically fist pumped in satisfaction. Unfortunately, it was in one of those large cardboard containers, where everyone dumps the stuff they don’t want anymore without a thought. However, I was to learn that lesson the hard way…
Soon enough, I proceeded to the checkout – although my happiness was cut short. My total ended up being around $40 – maybe not that much, but much more than I had made it out to be whilst shopping. In the end, it turned out that the lip balms were like $5.49 – even though it said that no where on the stand whatsoever (seriously???) – and the pencils turned out to be $2.97 instead of 97¢ – but that was because the 24-pack was in the 12-pack container (fml). All in all, these heinous betrayals by Target destroyed my supermarket dreams and are, coincidentally, the reason I have trust issues.
However, my hope was refilled a few days later. PSA: Walmart is the new Target!
#2 I ALMOST DIED
This is a bit of more serious story, but still one that I wanted to share with you. On 12th June 2016, a horrifying, tragic shooting occurred at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando – it was deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in United States history and sent shockwaves and outpourings of sympathy from across the world. With this horrible tragedy and other terrorist-related events happening across the world, it’s perfectly understandable that US citizens are on high alert, especially due to the US’ stance on gun rights.
On Thursday afternoon, my sister and I were in Zara at the Florida Mall – when a stream of people came sprinting in through the door, and towards the direction of the changing rooms. For a split second, everyone looked at each other in confusion – and then we just ran. My sister grabbed my hand and pulled me in the direction of the other people, whilst my heart was literally beating out of my chest. I had no idea what was going on – and I don’t think anyone else did either – although some people said that there had been a shooting.
It was almost surreal – like one of those things you see in movies, or hear about on the news – you never, ever think that you could be in that situation. Anyway, we soon emerged outside to the front entrance of JC Penney, where a large crowd of people were gathered, watching the police cars, ambulances and fire engines stream into the car park. It was a calamity of panic and confusion – children clinging onto their parents, faces full of confusion and fear, and people flooding to their cars to escape.
Later, it emerged that there had been no shooting at all. In fact, the ‘popping’ noises described by onlookers were actually a result of of an industry-standard test as part of an inspection for the grand opening of Joey Fatone’s new restaurant, which consisted of ‘six large balloons popping consecutively, followed by a fire alarm.’ Most of the shops started reopening soon after, and business was conducted as usual.
So why did people react in such a way to something as minor as balloons popping? Clinical psychologist Deborah Day believes that what happened was a triggering event in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub massacre.
“It is normal for us to act that way, because we are still on edge,” Day said. “It’s a fear reaction. It’s no different if there’s a fire. We are taught to orderly get out of the fire, but we don’t. We run out. And we don’t really look around to see what’s going on. We take care of ourselves,” Day said.
Thanks for reading – hope you enjoyed! Do you have any crazy holiday stories to share? Comment below!