One of the initial irritants during my short stint with European living was shopping.

If the ol` list read, say, “handsaw, lye, toothpaste, thick rope, sponge cake, tarp large enough to wrap person in,” I`d have to go to six different stores to get the shopping done. And that made me miss places like Target, where odd combinations of things can be had in one fell swoop.

But 5,200 freshmen are rolling into town this week and every single one of them is in Target right now. With their parents.

But it doesn`t matter how long I stand outside yelling, “This is probably some kind of fire hazard, people!” into the megaphone; they don`t care about my long-standing tradition of going into the store to buy dryer sheets and skipping back out 10 minutes later, having spent at least $50 on cheap movies, a jaunty driving cap I`ll never wear and a few other things. (Obviously, I`ll forget the dryer sheets.)

If I tried to pull a stunt like that now, it`d take about four days and a Sherpa guide to get out of there safely. Thankfully, they recently added food to their offerings, so Sherpie and I wouldn`t starve.

This is the time of year in Boulder where Target is avoided by townies and anyone in at least their second year of attending the University of Colorado — because we all know the store turns into a kind of Hell with Handcarts when the freshmen and their parents arrive, slathering at the mouth to buy plastic furniture for dorm rooms.

The store itself loses its predictable product placement, and now those clad in red shirts and khaki pants put the microwaves near the shoes, the TV stands with the T-shirts and the futons just east of swimwear.

The acceptable meltdown age also rises from the standard 3 years, as sullen teens draft their mothers through the bedding area arguing over prints, fathers grouse about spending their golden years in the cookware department, buying things for a room without a kitchen, and townies, such as myself, have full-blown temper tantrums because they can`t get from point A to point B without getting crashed into or run over.

And this is why my friend has decided to simply switch to shopping at the Target in Superior.

He is a reasonable man.

I however, am neither a man, nor reasonable, and so right now I`m debating whether to shop 10 minutes before the store closes, or go Euro again.

No reason not to, really. If I need a light bulb, I can go to Boulder Light Bulb. If I need a hacksaw, there`s McGuckin. If I need a pair of underwear on the way to work because I didn`t do the laundry for lack of dryer sheets, I can always hit the Dollar Store.

After exchanging horror stories involving the parking lot, the electronics department and everything in between, the general consensus is that we`ll have to be patient and wait until September to get back in there.

In the meantime, keep the faith.

Jeanine Fritz writes about retail spending and youth demographics every Friday in the Colorado Daily.