Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Boycott Target!

You, as a stakeholder in your community, should be against big-box, corporate-owned behemoths coming into your community and squishing everybody smaller in their path. Why? In a nutshell: Target. Now I don’t mean that every other merchant besides Target is Ward Cleaver and his lovely wife June, operating their little ole Mom and Pop store just for their health. But (and yes, this is a button pusher) Target has banned the Salvation Army from standing in front of Target stores and ringing their little bell during the Christmas shopping season. If you’re between the ages of 3 and 9999, nothing says Christmas (not counting the family Christmas tree and household decorations) more than somebody in a Santa hat in front of your local store ringing a Christmas bell as you walk into or out of the store. They don’t get up in your face or give you a sales pitch or push your guilt buttons. They’re just there, ringing their little Christmas bells and reminding you that it’s the Holiday Season. You can give them money, just say hi or just ignore them.

Apparently that doesn’t register on the sales pie-charts at Target board meetings. But the resulting consumer boycott has registered. Oh, yes, friends and neighbors, every blowdried MBA “oh yes we care deeply about name-of-community” type of PR drone is grabbing, clutching at every TV camera in sight to grovel about the “misunderstanding” that must have happened. “Oh, gosh, we only [blablublablublublublubublablblblb jsdfaksdfasdfnfjnfduj8az;odj corporatespeak here, not translatable]…

Now, whatever you think about free enterprise versus a local government’s control over the local economy, you probably don’t want a corporate big box store in Your Town. That quaint little boutique, squished by Wal-Mart? Eeek. That nice old grocer that you’ve known for decades, obliterated by Fred Meyer? Not here in our “nice” little town!

Maybe the CEOs at Home Depot, Wal-Mart and other big box stores are just smarter and more perceptive than their counterparts at Target. Sorry, that’s life. The dumbest street corner hustler gets pushed aside by the smarter hustlers, and since the street corner and the board room are pretty much interchangeable, well, that’s life. Sorry, Target, it’s a cold cruel world out here. Too bad you didn’t pick up on that when you banned the Salvation Army from trying to help out victims of that same Cold Cruel World.

All big-box stores should be banned from every community unless they can show their concern for the local economy and local concerns. In order to build in a new community it should be necessary for every big faceless corporate bigbox store to: A) demonstrate concern for local issues and the local economy; B) pretend to be going through the motions of Step A. So far Wal-Mart, Home Depot and other bigboxers have done a better job than Target of performing Step B. But hopefully they’ll be next on national consumers’ boycott lists.

Let's take back our communities!


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