If you live in Minnesota, you likely work for Target. It’s a bit of an exaggeration but it comes close. At the very least you likely know someone who works there.
Since their corporate offices are here, any news relating to them tends to be big news. Target employs a lot of people in the state and they have charitable donations and all that, but at the end of the day, they are a corporation who wants to make a lot of money.
An organization can have principals and a mission statement or what have you but many times those things go out the window when there’s any risk to their profits.
This week’s news is a perfect example of that.
In 2016, when the bathroom/changing room issue really hit a fever pitch, Target was one of the few retailers to side with the gender non-conforming community and made it very clear what their policy is:
In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.
(This text is taken from their corporate website and is still there as of this writing).
This line in the sand, if you will, was remarkable. To have a major corporation side with us was amazing. We had an ally. An ally that wanted our money, but an ally nonetheless.
This week Target announced they are pulling some, if not all of their Pride themed merchandise, including some items that were gender inclusive.
And before anyone bothers to comment or email me, yes, they sold tucking swimsuits… for ADULTS. Not kids. And YES, I think gender inclusive clothing is important.
The reasoning behind this is that some employees were threatened because of these items. I don’t disbelieve that. There are some horrible people out there that feel that threatening some part-time employee is a completely acceptable thing to do.
I think employee safety is crucial but I can’t help but wonder if Target, a company that, according to their website, saw their total revenue grew $3 billion to $109 billion, from $106 billion in 2021, could have found a way to keep their employees safe AND support the community that they claim to.
This whole thing is a shame. I feel I lost a place to shop that supported me. I am ashamed that people are threatening others because of inclusive merchandise. I am ashamed that companies immediately fold when backlash from hateful people starts.
I hate that this “works”. What I mean is destruction of store property or Twitter hashtag campaign tends to reverses inclusivity in marketing or branding. We are running out of places that support us and I suppose that’s exactly the goal.
6 thoughts on “Profits Over Principles”
I am a CFO, in the past I have been a divisional president. I have worked for very large organization and smaller ones.
Most organizations try to take the morale high ground. I have been lucky enough to have had an impact on LGBT acceptance in those organizations.
Yet I have a responsibility to the shareholders. If our performance suffers, the stock price goes down and I will be replaced by others that have less of a social conscience. Don’t forget stock performance can impact your 401k plan. All companies operate this way.
Obviously I don’t like Target’s approach to this situation yet they are still are a very LGBT friendly company. If you don’t shop at Target then where do you go? How do you know that company is any more supportive?
I believe there are 2 more effective approaches. Invest in companies that support us. Vote for the board directors and be vocal.
Second vote in all local and national elections. Get these fear mongering folks out of office.
I am so sorry about the actions of Target and others. I suspect this will change as the politics of the country get back to normal.
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In Florida – TG people can no longer use bathrooms in government facilities / buildings of opposite birth gender – a misdemeanor – but restaurants etc can make their own policy decisions.
This recent whole TRANS news activity – has hurt all of us.
Our general society perception now is overall negative – so sad.
Until a few months ago I though we were making progress.
I advise everyone to check local laws when going out in public dressed as females – use the bathrooms of your choice with caution – be as quick as you can – and always respect other peoples rights of privacy – as best you can. But when you ” gotta go – you gotta go ” – somewhere.
We’ve heard so much talk about “witch hunts” in political spheres over the last several years. But the only real witch hunt that is going on right now is the same one that has been going on since the beginning of humanity: the punishment of minorities who appear to threaten the safety and security of the conservatives in positions of power. Whether those minorities are LGBTQ+, people of color, people with non-christian beliefs, women, or every other persecuted group, it’s always the same. They/we don’t fit into what the powerful want the world to be, so we must be punished until we conform. Sadly the biggest and most powerful force for change in our nation isn’t truth, justice, and goodness. It’s money. Capitalism. Turning the campaign for equality into “product” is the most effective way to accomplish meaningful and lasting change in our culture. It feels gross, but I think it’s reality. I’m not not sure where I’m going with this… just sharing frustration and feelings of futility, I guess.
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Underlying all of this is intolerance expressed as threats. Unfortunately, unmoderated or badly moderated social media has provided an outlet for the bullies, the ignorant, and the sanctimonious to broadcast their bile.
As a previous comment suggest, use what opportunities you have to express your objection to regressive, knee-jerk corporate policies, and for God’s sake vote!
And use this opportunity to abandon Twitter and Facebook. These social media cesspools have become the most powerful tools for promoting fascism. These platforms welcome, amplify and endlessly repeat hate and lies. You don’t have to be a part of it.
I’m very sad to hear that some companies are reversing their previously-inclusive policies. It doesn’t seem to be as bad here in NZ.
Just one tiny thing: I think you mean “principles” rather than “principals”.
Whoops! Yes, thank you! Corrected 🙂