LINCOLN SQUARE — When it came time for Target's online launch of its highly anticipated Lilly Pulitzer collection, shoppers were prepared ... the retailer wasn't.
Acolytes of Pulitzer's preppy floral prints stormed Target.com in the wee hours of Sunday morning, and the website promptly crashed under the onslaught of their fashion frenzy, producing tears, rage and a string of desperate tweets that had #LillyforTarget trending at No. 1 all the way to India.
Hell hath no fury like like a woman receiving an "out of stock" or "website temporarily unavailable" message, as Jason Goldberger, president of Target.com and mobile is likely to never forget.
Excitement over #PinkSunday, as shoppers had dubbed the Pulitzer launch, turned to frustration and resentment shortly after midnight (Central time), the hour that had been tipped as the moment the collection would go live online.
As shoppers across the country dutifully clicked "refresh" every few seconds on their laptops, reports began surfacing that people had already nabbed some of the most coveted items — some available online-only — via links leaked to users of Target's mobile app.
Patty Wetli explains what all the hype was about:
A flood of angry tweets ensued and Target shut down the mobile operation, leaving some shoppers in the lurch mid-transaction, including actress Kristin Davis, aka Charlotte York from "Sex and the City," who apparently wasn't playing against preppy type.
A tense two hours ensued, with Goldberger taking to social media to calm the angry hordes, vowing that the collection would go live at 2 a.m. with plenty of stock available.
That deadline came and went. Exhausted shoppers, particularly those on the East Coast, were told to wait another 30 minutes.
Those who gutted out the next half-hour were rewarded with site crash after site crash as their pent-up demand seemingly overwhelmed the entire Internet. For the brief moment that shoppers were able to view the Pulitzer collection, they discovered that Goldbergers' promise of "plenty of stock" did not extend to items that sold out during the mobile gold rush.
In-store shoppers fared just as poorly in many cases, with reports of the collection flying off shelves within minutes of doors opening.
Adding insult to injury: $38 Lilly for Target shift dresses are now selling for more than $100 on eBay.
So if you run into a bleary-eyed, bitter woman today, you'll know why.
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