Hello Mr. Steinhafel,
This is my 4th letter to Target, and I’m still waiting for a considered response as to why I should keep shopping at Target despite your contributions in support of a vehemently anti-gay political candidate. Because, believe me, I really really REALLY want to shop at Target. The past month has been miserable. I never realized how often I went to Target until I stopped going to Target! At least 3 or 4 times a week, I find myself needing some small thing around the house and I think, “Oh, I’ll just run to Target and…” POP! My bubble bursts and I remember that I can’t.
I almost caved last week. I got some really enticing coupons celebrating the fact that the Target 5 blocks from my house just remodeled, adding a grocery section. I also saw a really cute ad for your clothes in the Fall Fashion issue of Glamour, and I thought, “I’d like to own a brightly colored plaid shirt!” And my mind drifted dreamily to thoughts of Summer Clearance. And I read an alarming article that said Target stock had dropped 3.5% in the wake of the boycott threats, while Walmart’s and Costco’s had gone up. Now, I don’t believe for a second that Walmart or Costco are MORE gay friendly than Target, so I posted a Facebook status announcing I was going to give up my letter writing campaign/boycott and go back to my favorite store. And the response from my 950-plus friends was outraged! (I guess I got a little taste of what you’re feeling). They reminded me that change requires sacrifice. They reminded me that giving up now would send you the message that you could just wait it out. But best of all, one of my parents reminded me that there is nothing in “that store” she loves more than her gay son, her gay step-daughter (me), our partners, or our children. And that was important. Because as much as I love buying stuff at Target–and I do LOVE it–I love myself more.
I know you’re in a difficult position. By donating money to MN Forward, who in turn gave the money to Tom Emmer, you meant to support a big-business candidate who would help you advance your corporate interests. I get that. It makes sense. But you also donated to a candidate who is so explicitly anti-gay he’s donated money to an organization that says executing gays is a “moral” action. (And by the way – Tom Emmer is pretty anti-immigrant too, which a lot of the gay organizations aren’t talking about, but I think is important to mention.) So what can you do? If you donate money to a pro-gay candidate or an organization like HRC, your “conservative” shoppers are going to freak out, too. I mean, playing politics seems like a no-win situation for a company that relies on trying to make a broad base of shoppers happy. I wish you’d thought of that earlier, but you didn’t, and now I’m stuck. In order to feel good about shopping at Target, I need to know that you’ve not only apologized for your donation (which you have) but that you’ve thought of a way to balance the damage that donation is going to do to my life and the lives of people like me. Until then, I can’t shop at Target! And I would like to shop at Target!
Since I last wrote to you, I’ve had to purchase the following at other stores: diapers, coffee, socks, two lip glosses, an eyeshadow, barrettes, a potty, and soap. It was a slow shopping week for me, but here’s where I’m really going to miss you: I just moved into a new office and I need all kinds of things to make it feel like “home” – a lamp, four frames, a desk calendar, a pencil holder, pens, folders, binders, paper clips, etc. I don’t even know where I’m going to get that stuff – Office Depot does not have Target’s flair for style and color.
There is some good news though. I’ve been posting these letters on my website, on Facebook, and on Twitter and I’ve been invited to be a guest blogger at VelvetParkMedia.com, a site devoted to “dyke culture” and LGBTQ issues. So, I’ll be reaching out to even more people on this issue. I hope I’ll have something good to tell them soon, even something as small as you actually responded to my concerns with something other than a form letter (hint, hint).
Until then, I’m dreaming of Target.