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Posted at 05:45 PM ET, 10/12/2011

Michelle Obama’s secret shopping trips: Who’s seen her?


Michelle Obama touring a Philadelphia supermarket last year. (Saul Loeb/ Getty Images )

Michelle Obama, secret shopper?

In the wake of her much buzzed-about trip to Target, the first lady said Wednesday that she ventures out like that all the time — it’s just that no one ever notices.

“It’s amazing how people don’t recognize me,” she told Al Roker on “Today,” explaining that “they don’t expect to see me at Starbucks or at Chipotle.” She also alluded to visiting Baskin-Robbins, and taking Bo to a Petco where “the cashier asked me, ‘What kind of dog is that?’”

“The kids aren’t paying attention,” she said. “They look right through me.”

Really? We had to check this out.

We called the Cleveland Park Petco, the chain’s store closest to the White House. Ever see the first lady? Nope. “I just transferred here,” a manager told us, “but someone would have let me know.” (Like most of the chain employees we talked to, he declined to give a name: “It’s a corporate thing.”)

At the Chipotle at 19th and M, the manager was confident Mrs. Obama had never set foot in there. “I would notice,” she said. “I don’t know about anybody else, but I would.” No sightings at the Chinatown Chipotle either. Too many Starbucks in this town even to begin calling...

But why focus on the city? After all, she bypassed the Columbia Heights Target for one across the river in Alexandria. So we called the Baskin-Robbins just across the Potomac Yard parking lot from Target. Ever seen her?

“I served her,” Altaf Gohar told us. “Two months ago.”

Wait — really? What flavor? “I’m not sure. I was on the register.” She was there with her daughters and a couple friends — but Gohar says that none of the 25 or 30 other people in the store noticed. Just him.

He waited until she left, he said, to say anything. “People were yelling at me, ‘Why didn’t you tell us?’,” he said. “But I didn’t want to make any show of it, just to keep her privacy.”

Video: Michelle Obama on ‘Today,’ says she goes out in public often

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No matter where she goes, the first lady gets attention for her fashion choices. See more photos of Michelle Obama traveling in style.

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GALLERY: Click the image to view more from photos of Michelle Obama.

By  |  05:45 PM ET, 10/12/2011

Categories:  First Family

 
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