Washington (CNN) - She has the White House staff at her disposal, but that didn't stop first lady Michelle Obama from making a Target run in a Virginia suburb of Washington Thursday.
Dressed casually in a gray Nike hat, loose floral blouse, black pants and red flats, the first lady was seen pushing a cart and carrying several bags from the mega-retailer at a Target in Alexandria, Virginia. The store is about a 15-minute drive from the White House. A photographer from The Associated Press snapped a photograph of Obama exiting the store.
White House officials declined to provide any details of Thursday's outing, saying to protect her privacy they don't release information about the first lady's personal activities.
They did, however, say trips like these are not uncommon.
"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, Michelle Obama's communications director, said in a statement.
In an interview with CNN, the manager of the Target where Obama shopped said the first lady went unrecognized while she was in the store.
"People did not approach her, she was very incognito," Maria Panagopulof said. "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 received no advance of the first lady's trip.
"We did not have advance notice; it was as big a surprise to us as it was to everyone else," she said.
She continued, "In hindsight, there was a sweep, but it was not obvious to us beforehand. When she left we thought 'Oh, that's what that was!'"
In May, Michelle Obama told Oprah Winfey that casual shopping trips were one of the things she missed from her life before the White House.
"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."
–CNN's Alex Mooney and Leslie Bentz contributed to this report.
A truly smart, lovely lady. Hope she enjoyed her trip out of the bubble, but also hope she stays safe. Aren't we Americans lucky to have had so many great first women? Democrat and Republican alike, they've all added so much to the national scene.
What a wonderful warm , down to earth human being. Not some snoddy rich woman. Go Michelle.
Trending? Surprise she's human and was raised like a regular American, not a Tiffanys lady. I would enjoy a Target trip too if I had security detail, staff, and onlookers 24/7
Just watched this on Channel 11 from Baltimore. Way to go. At least Mrs. Obama knows what a upc scan is!!
You can't say that they shop at Tiffanny's righties!
wonderful classy lady, I wish I could run into her, to tell her what a remarkable woman she is.
Very nice story, love to Mrs Obama
Good for you Michelle.....Regular People! Stay in touch the best you can!
I want all of you to recall how many people have called this family ELITIST.
The 1st Lady has been shopping at Target for YEARS. Not so much of a SNOB, afterall, ehh?
What do you bet Target tries to exploit this visit through an advertising campaign? I hope someone in the whitehouse informs them not to try. Remember that company that bragged about the President wearing their jacket on his trip to China?
Please... And secret service agents just looked how she is carrying bags?
Because regardless of advance warning or not – they have to make sure she is secure, so there were at least several people around her.
As a taxpayer, I appreciate Mrs. Obama going to Target incognito – it saves a ton of taxayer money when she doesn't have the Secret Circus around. And on a more personal note to Michelle – don't you just love Target? I always spend way too much there!
She is so down to earth! Very nice.
For all of those who are critical of this event, get over it, she is clearly having a great time and doing something she likes
Amazing what passes for news stories these days. Let the First Lady shop in peace! We don't need to know what she purchased!
this is not news. please, let these people have a few normal moments in their lives.
What a classy lady!
What a great lady!
I like that Michelle doesn't stop at "It'll mess up my life..." No, she continues to say that it might affect another person when she goes to Target. This is years ago, so she obviously cares for others and isn't too selfish like most political relatives.
First Lady shows you can ball cap it and then go entertain internationally! Smarts and Class!
Love the story....my fellow employees will love it too. Yes, I was laid off but am working at Target until I can find a job close to home in my field. NO unemployment for me...yes I am a proud liberal but, have you ever tried to make ends meet on those benefits? I don't know how anyone could or would want to.
Not only is she a class act, she makes me feel like one too because I shop at Target! Love her!
Too bad Barack saw her first, I love this woman !!!!!
Cue the teacult phony criticisms of the First Lady in 3, 2, 1 ,,,,,
Does she have a glass eye on the left side ? Also , does she have someone draw her eyebrows on or are they tatoos ?