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Drinkers rush San Francisco, Oakland Targets for insane closing sale on booze

Customers rush the booze shelves at a Target in Oakland on the third day of a 50% off sale on Thursday. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Drinkers rushed Oakland’s shuttering Target for cases of beer, wine and liquor after a half-off sale on all of its booze began Tuesday.

San Francisco’s shuttering Target at 1690 Folsom St. is also holding a half-off sale on booze, although not all liquor is included. Nevertheless, when The Standard visited on Thursday afternoon, the beer and seltzer section had been decimated by customers.

Eliza Love normally goes to the San Francisco Target on Folsom Street to get cleaning supplies, but upon seeing the sign advertising half-off booze, she decided to scoop up some wine.

“I mean, for 50% off, how can you not?,” Love asked.

Eliza Love stands inside the Target at 1690 Folsom St., which will close on Oct. 21 due to rampant theft. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Both sales run while stocks last or until the stores close on Oct. 21.

Shoppers have already taken advantage of the insane deals. A Target worker told The Standard the sale was not advertised.

When The Standard visited the Oakland store on Thursday morning, a dozen customers began streaming into the store as the doors opened. About half of those people went straight to the wine and liquor section.

Bottles of Meiomi red blend wine were marked down from $20 to $10, and Wild Turkey 101 bourbon was down from $24.99 to $12.49. The three remaining bottles of Basil Hayden dark rye whiskey were marked down from $45 to $22.49.

Holly G., who declined to give her last name, said she came to Oakland’s shuttering Target late Wednesday and saw 20 people lined up to buy alcohol.

Holly G. stands inside a Target at 2650 Broadway during the closing sale with half-off booze. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

“It was a zoo,” she said, holding a basket full of sparkling wines. “The holidays are coming, so I figured I’d grab some booze.”

Melody Hultgren, who has lived in Oakland for 20 years, said she was sad to see the Target store close.

“It’s disappointing, especially with the CVS having closed nearby, too,” Hultgren said, holding a shopping basket with wine bottles piled inside.

Some shelves at an Oakland Target slated to close were cleared of wine bottles early Thursday. The store at 2650 Broadway is selling all alcoholic beverages at 50% off. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

‘Naked People’

One Target worker, who spoke anonymously to prevent retaliation from their employer, said the store has struggled with theft and aggressive people inside. The store got armed security roughly a year ago, they said.

“We’d see naked people right outside and not just once—like multiple times,” the worker said. “The armed security wasn’t really for the shoplifters, it was more for our safety.”

Another worker said theft was common, with thieves often making off with single wine bottles or small bottles of liquor.

“During my shift, I’d see like four to five people stealing,” a worker said.

White Claw and High Noon are flying off the shelves at Oakland's 2650 Broadway Target store. The store is one of three in the Bay Area closing on Oct. 21. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Three Bay Area Target locations are closing on Oct. 21 due to rampant retail theft, according to a Target announcement in September.

The retail giant is also closing nine locations in four markets, which include New York City, Portland, Seattle and the Bay Area.

When Target announced the closures, the company said organized retail theft in these markets had contributed to “unsustainable business performance.”

“Despite our efforts, unfortunately, we continue to face fundamental challenges to operating these stores safely and successfully,” Target wrote in the release.

Retail theft at Target stores has been well documented in San Francisco. In May, workers at the Metreon mall’s Target told The Standard they see around 10 thefts a day.

Garrett Leahy can be reached at