Prepared for the Worst

Monday, November 18, 2013

At this time of year, the picture could show people lined up waiting for the door to open and the Black Friday sales to start. But in fact, this is a picture of people crammed inside a store waiting to get out. Or, in most cases, waiting to return to their shopping.

I wanted to get something from Target yesterday. The Chicago Bears game had just been suspended because of the threat of severe weather and tornados. Still, the satellite picture seemed to indicate that I’d have time to run my errands before the bad weather hit our town.

But the storm traveled faster than I did.

I had just finished checking out but was still in the store when the staff announced that we should leave our carts where they were and follow employees to a safe area. They had walkie-talkies and were monitoring them, and one employee led us to an interior hallway. More and more people kept coming, and soon we were packed in, not quite like sardines, but without a lot of personal space. You can get an idea from the picture, which I took with my phone.

The staff let us know when the threat was over, and we went back to our business. I doubt that the storm lasted more than half an hour, but when I left the store I drove through flooded streets, and the news was full of reports of tornados touching down in the surrounding areas.

Target had a plan, and the staff knew how to execute it. I was impressed.

And grateful.

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