Five young Canadians embraced their fading moments as Target store employees and forlornly performed the song "Closing Time," rolling along the stripped-down aisles at a funereal pace on a flatbed storage room cart.
The video-recorded sentimental send-off just minutes after closing time on March 31 at the Target in Victoria, B.C., has been a big hit on Facebook and YouTube in the first two days of posting, drawing hundreds of thousands of views.
"We mostly did this for us and the team members in our store, and it went a little bigger from there," said Liam McDonald, a formally trained vocalist who nailed the lyrics from the 1990s song by Minneapolis' Semisonic on that final shift.
"It was a great time here in Canada," said McDonald, who added that he and his fellow Target 20-somethings harbor no ill will for the Minneapolis-based retailing giant's full-out retreat from their native land. "This was a nice way to go out, for sure."
Semisonic's drummer, Jacob Slichter, described the video as "really powerful; that slow walk through the empty store and the sounds of things being loaded in the background. I really hope these guys find jobs."
While the lyrics of "Closing Time" focus on a bar closing for the night, it also offered the redshirted five some on-the-mark lines: "Open all the doors and let you out into the world … So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits … Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."
Improvisation proved vital for the one-hit wonders. McDonald held a metal clothing-display bar for a microphone. Evan Holbein drummed out the rhythm on a red shopping basket with plastic hangers.
The strong and silent types — Brady Zomer on the left and Liam "Skip" Kelly on the right — set the cart's deliberate pace, passing rows and rows of disassembled shelving.
And Kyle Vanderberg was perched above them all strumming the acoustic guitar he happened to have in his car.
"We talked about doing something at the end for about 10, 15 minutes," said Eric Deibert, also jettisoned by Target and the man behind the video camera trailing the quintet. "We shot it all in one take."
Target spokesman Evan Lapiska said Wednesday that company executives are "pleased to see the positive reaction."
Was it coincidence or calculation that the song they settled on and their now former employer are rooted in the same city?
"I'm just learning that now," Deibert said.
Holbein, the shopping basket tapper who is actually a drummer, said, "We poured our heart into our final goodbye through song, to a job we loved, and a building that contains so many great memories."