No…it’s not a hunting column. Well..maybe it is in a way, if you’re hunting for corporations that harbor an underlying anti-American sentiment. Cases have been made against many companies, but usually it has to do with what they sell and where it’s made. This one runs a little deeper than that, and it involves Target, the department store that we’ve all shopped in at one time or another.
I must be naive, I guess, because I’m constantly surprised by stuff that seems not to surprise other people. This is such a case. A friend brought to my attention that last Christmas, Target refused to allow Salvation Army bell-ringers in front of their stores. In and of itself, odd but not a deal-breaker for me. When it comes to folks who collect for different charities outside the entryway to major food or department stores, I admit I sometimes feel a little put out. It’s like the guy who jumps in front of your car to get the windshield, whether you want it washed or not, and then waits for his dollar. You feel like a jerk if you drive off, and feel “had’ if you donate. After all these years I still end up feeling “had”.
But the Target story runs deeper than bell-ringers. Dick Forrey of the Vietnam Veterans Association claims they recently asked the local Target to be a proud sponsor of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall during their spring recognition event. According to Forrey, he received the following response from Target: “Veterans do not meet our area of giving. We only donate to the arts, social action groups, gay and lesbian causes and education.” Hmmm…sounds fishy, right? Why would a store go out of their way to alienate veterans?
Forrey, no doubt inspired at this point, sent an e-mail to Target U.S. Corporate Headquarters. Their response was just as firm. It is their national policy not to donate to veterans groups. As it turns out, they also will not allow Marines to collect for “Toys for Tots”.
Forrey dug deeper. Target, it seems, also would not allow families of employees who were called up for active duty in the military to continue their insurance coverage while their loved one was at war. Nice. All of this considered, Forrey was not surprised, as I was, to learn that Target is a French-owned company. Interesting, because, is there a country on the face of the planet that owes more to the American soldier than France?
I don’t know about you, but after considering all of the above, and the obvious additional fact that tons of profit in American dollars spent at Target end up in France…I can safely say that the last time I shopped at Target, was the last time I’ll ever shop at Target.