Lifestyle & Belief

Michelle Obama secretly shops at Target


U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks as she unveils a new food icon during an event June 2, 2011, at the Agriculture Department in Washington, D.C.


Alex Wong

First Lady Michelle Obama shopped at an Alexandria, Va., Target on Thursday, and no one recognized her except the cashier, CNN reports.

With no noticeable entourage – although Secret Service agents were close by -- and wearing a Nike baseball cap and sunglasses, Obama blended in with the other shoppers as she pushed her cart around the store. The first lady and an assistant browsed the aisles for about 40 minutes, according to CBS News.

"People did not approach her, she was very incognito," Maria Panagopulof told CNN. "We didn't realize truly what was happening until she had almost left. The cashier recognized her, but she was very unassuming."

Panagopulof said the store was not warned to expect Obama. "We did not have advance notice; it was as big a surprise to us as it was to everyone else," she said.

Obama’s experience at the store wasn’t entirely like that of the average Target shopper, however. An Associated Press photographer snapped a photo of her at the checkout area. Since the first lady’s every move is not tracked by reporters, it’s unclear if the White House tipped off the photographer so he could be at the right spot at the right time, the Los Angeles Times reports. Mrs. Obama’s office simply said he “caught her” at the store.

"It is not uncommon for the First Lady to slip out to run an errand, eat at a local restaurant or otherwise enjoy the city outside the White House gates," Kristina Schake, communications director for the First Lady, told CBS News.

In May, Michelle Obama told Oprah Winfey in an interview that she missed going shopping.

"I think one of the greatest sacrifices for people like us – who like being with people — is that it's the bubble," Obama said. "We talked about it. I can't go to Target and walk around. I guess I could but it would mess up everyone else's shopping experience."