| The news is out - Target Stores are
not allowing the Salvation Army outside their stores to collect money for the
needy. Target claims that they merely removed an exception to their corporate
policy for charitable donations. This has resulted in a national backlash as
some people are now boycotting Target because they banned the Salvation Army.
This is not the first time Target has been hit with
boycotts. Over the past year or so, Boycott Watch has been in contact with
Target regarding stories about veterans boycotting Target claiming Target is
anti-veteran. As the story goes, a veteran asked a local Target store manager
if he could collect money for his veterans group outside the store and the
request denied. Emails circulated and a boycott was born.
The store manager failed to explain to the veteran
that it is the corporate policy of Target to only allow the Salvation Army to
collect money outside its stores. The boycott email circulated but was later
retracted after the veteran learned that the store manager was merely following
corporate policy and Target was not anti-veteran. That was fair and the veteran
sent out an apology email. Boycott Watch helped to break the rumor with
detailed a report on the matter. They story, however, did not end there.
Boycott Watch received an email from a US Army
Sergeant who was called up to duty from the Oklahoma National Guard to serve in
Afghanistan. The Sergeant had sent a letter to Target asking for a donation of
schools supplies such as pencils and spiral notebooks for kids in Afghanistan
who are now attending schools for the first time in their lives in buildings
that US soldiers built with their own hands. The US Army can build school
buildings but they can not requisition school supplies through the Pentagon
The reply the Sergeant received
from Target was confusing. Target told him that they could not donate anything,
even open box customer returned school supplies, to them because all such
requests must come from the Military Public Affairs Office in accordance with
military (UCMJ) rules. The only problem was that the request in fact came
directly from the Military Public Affairs Office. Boycott Watch was also
confused by the Target reply, so we decided to call our contact at Target to
assist the soldier.
Our contact explained that the
Targets corporate policy is to only donate in areas where Target has stores. We
explained that US soldiers live where the Target stores are, and therefore shop
at Target stores, but that did not persuade Target to donate any school
supplies, not even a pencil. Boycott Watch was also unable to get an
explanation as to why two very different rejections were given for the same
Boycott Watch faxed and sent
overnight letters to both the President and CEO of Target explaining how this
would be a great public relations opportunity for Target because even a small
donation would put an end to the bad publicity they received from the email
claiming that Target was anti-veteran. Target never replied.
Now, suddenly, Target claims that the new exclusion
of the Salvation Army from outside their stores is meant to remove an exception
from their corporate policy. The reality is that allowing the Salvation Army to
collect money in front of their stores was their corporate policy and not an
exception according to what Target told us when we helped them break the rumor
about Target being anti-veteran.
Target has yet to
explain to Boycott Watch or the Sergeant why we received two very different
answers to the same request. Target has yet to answer the Boycott Watch letter
to the corporate executives asking for an exception to their donation policy.
Instead, Target tightened their donation policy and deleted the Salvation Army
from their policy as the only organization allowed to collect donations in
front of their stores.
This may not be the only
recent charity tightening by Target. According the Sergeant, he remembers
Target being a sponsor of the US Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Campaign,
yet Target is not listed as a sponsor this year on the Toys for Tots campaign
Target had a great opportunity to show they
support our troops and burry a rumor about the store chain being anti-veteran.
Instead, they chose to exclude the Salvation Army from their presence and
Boycott Watch now questions if we were fooled by Target and their claim that
they are not anti-veteran.
Target made some obviously
poor choices. Boycott Watch is now once again receiving countless emails from
people saying they are boycotting Target. Now we all know why.