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who doesn't love a pretty table setting?

Posted Dec 29 2008 12:00am

I don't know about you, but I certainly appreciate a decorated dinner table. And apparently so does my mother, if you take into consideration all the presents I got for Christmas. A hostess at heart, I think it is only appropriate that someone my age begin collecting pieces that would be sure to glam up any dinner table.

With this thought in mind, I went out on December 26th in search of a Christmas table setting for future years. I had my eye on a particular set from none other than Target prior to Christmas and was hoping for a decent sale. Well, I was in luck! Arriving at my first Target on the 26th, my mom and I found the Snowfall Splendor set in cream and gold marked 50% off. Bargain! Unfortunately, we started our search a little too late in the day because I was only able to find eight dinner plates and eight soup bowls at Target #1. Luckily, I was in McAllen and there were at least three other targets within 10 miles to look for eight salad plates. Mom and I drove to Target # 2 in search of salad plates; we left with nothing. On to Target #3, where we found 4 coffee cups and a serving bowl. This was quite a surprise because I didn't realize the coffee cups and a serving bowl were even made in this pattern. However, that increased items need to 8 salad plates, 4 coffee cups, and a serving platter. Target # 4 proved to be somewhat successful as we left with 4 coffee cups and a serving platter. Sadly, that was the end of the Targets in McAllen and I was still missing the salad plates.

One would think you would be able to order the salad plates on the Target website. To my dismay, this set was obviously the most popular Target holiday collection and was completely sold out except for coffee cups. The future of my perfect Christmas dinner set looked glum. On the 27th, my drive back to the DFW area began, which also began day two of searching for the ideal Christmas dinner set. I knew of at least four targets within the DFW metroplex that were within a short distance from my apartment. After stopping at Target # 5 outside of Austin on the drive home, and having no luck, I knew how I would spend my first evening back in Dallas.

A visit to the Target website told me that the several stores had "limited availability." Putting full faith in the website, my mom, dad and I went to Target # 6. No luck. Target # 7 also proved to be a disappointment. Our final stop for the night was Target # 8, which I had called after stop # 7. I spoke to "JJ" and he assured me that the plates were in stock, and that he would put eight of them on hold for me. I was nothing less than thrilled when we arrived at Target # 8. I immediately went to Customer Service, where JJ assured me the plates would be held. I spoke to two women at the customer service desk who informed me that JJ had quit about 30 minutes prior to my arrival and wasn't able to hold the plates for me. I was crushed. With a tiny bit of hope still remaining, my family rushed back to the clearance Christmas section. After about 10 minutes of rushed hunting, I found four Snowfall Splendor salad plates in cream and gold. Several shoppers around me heard a tiny scream of happiness as I called for my mom and dad to check out my find. Although it wasn't the eight I had needed, I now would be able to have a dinner party of four at some point during Christmas 2009. Quite elated, I went up to the register to pay for my special plates. Before I was able to pay, my dad started motioning towards the woman in the next aisle over. Her Target shopping cart was filled with eight dinner plates, eight soup bowls, eight coffee cups, a serving platter, a serving bowl, and EIGHT salad plates in my Snowfall Splendor Christmas pattern. I rushed over to her immediately to ask her where she found these items. She apparently had visited the same Christmas clearance section only moments before I arrived and had scored the entire set, leaving only one set of salad plates behind. Whore. Outraged, I paid for, or actually, my dad paid for my set of four salad plates and we left Target # 8.

Once I got home, I visited the Target website again and saw that one store about 15 miles away had full availability of the Snowfall Splendor Christmas plates. I knew what my mission had to be the next morning.

I took off for Target # 9 with high spirits on the 28th; I guess some of that Christmas joy was still left, or maybe it was a hint of the wassail from the previous night. Nonetheless, I was 100% determined to complete my perfect Christmas set. With the all too familiar feeling, I rushed to the back of the store to the Christmas clearance aisles. I scanned every aisle meticulously looked for the alleged fully available collection. Nothing! It was nowhere to be found! Ready to admit defeat, I began perusing the Christmas ornament aisle. Since I couldn't have my perfect Christmas dinner plate set, I was determined to find the most perfect Christmas ornaments for the 2009 holiday season. After filling my cart with a ridiculous amount of ornaments, I noticed a man with a somewhat angelic glow wheeling a merchandise cart around the corner. Being a Target employee, he had to be dressed in red, but he did have an extra red glow to his cheeks, and his belly certainly did look like it had its share of cookies recently. Santa! And in the form of his magical Christmas bag was a magical Christmas store-stocking cart! On the cart were piles of the Snowfall Splendor holiday collection, including four salad plates! Joy to the World! My hunt was over. My dinner table was now complete. I could have eight guests at all my Christmas parties.

Although this is already entirely too long, I feel it is important to go over what I took away from this experience.
1. I now have every Target layout memorized, including the Super Target layout. I know this will come in handy.
2. I will appreciate my Snowfall Splendor Christmas set 10 times more than the woman who found the entire set at one Target.
3. Having a perfect dinner table is entirely worth visiting 9 different Targets during the holiday season.
4. There is a Santa Claus. And he works at Target after Christmas Eve.

*****NOTE*****

Somehow this slipped my mind when originally writing this, but my mom was kind enough to remind me that this search also took place in other states. Because my parents witnessed my frustration with the Texas targets, my mom stopped at a couple for me on their weekend vacay to Shreveport. Louisiana proved to be just as picked over as Texas. She had no luck.
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