The boycott of Target

In April of this year, Target jumped on the "inclusivity" bandwagon with both feet with its radical, but ever so politically correct, policy for restroom use.  The company's stated policy was, "We welcome transgender team members (employees) and guests (customers) to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity."  This was done to be compliant with the transgender movement.

Of course, Target was being deceitful here in the use of the phrase "gender identity."  In today's mixed up world, "gender identity" is not objective or scientific.  It has little to do with biology.  It's all about how people feel about their sex or what they imagine their gender to be.  Accordingly, a man can claim to be a woman and a woman can claim to be a man under the dictates of "gender identity."

Target's transgender policy was viewed as an affront to traditional sensibilities and a potential risk to women and girls using the store's facilities.  As a result, some groups instituted a boycott of Target.  One group, the American Family Association, got over 1.3 million people to sign an online petition to boycott Target. 

The boycott seems to have had an effect, although the management of Target is loath to admit it.  On August 17, Target announced that it will spend $20 million to expand restroom options at all its stores.  This will be accomplished by having a third, single-toilet restroom, which can be locked, installed in all of its 1,800 stores.  Presumably this means that the only females can use the women's restrooms and only males can use the men's restroom.  (Don't bet on that, however.)

Left undiscussed is the matter of the fitting rooms.  

Target financial officer Cathy Smith said this move to a third restroom is in response to feedback from customers who voiced displeasure with the company's transgender restroom policy.  She then added that this customer discontent hadn't materially impacted sales. 

But the facts may be otherwise.  At the same time Smith made her announcement, Target also reported a decrease in customer traffic through its stores and that sales have dropped for the first time in two years.  In the second quarter, sales are down 1.1%, and according to management, that has stalled out the company's turnaround effort.  Target further projects even lower sales for the rest of the year.

Yes, it is hard to tell at this early stage if the boycott of Target is working.  That's because all retail stores are under pressure from internet sales.  Still, in this soft environment for brick-and-mortar stores, Target is foolish to antagonize its customer base.

Target is not an upscale retail chain.  It isn't even in the same league as Macy's.  Target is like Kohl's and Walmart.  It offers nothing unique in the retail industry.  The segment of the retail market that Target is in is saturated.  The company could disappear tomorrow, and consumers overall would not lack for substitutes.  

And then there's the matter of Target's customer base.  It is strictly middle-class.  And it is the middle class whose sensibilities are most offended by Target's transgender policy.  Talk about shooting oneself in the foot. 

I myself did not sign any boycott petition of Target.  But I and my family bypass Target as a matter of principle and will continue to do so on into the future.  Taking down arrogant Target a peg or two would be a small win in the culture war, where victories for tradition and common sense are hard to come by. 

In April of this year, Target jumped on the "inclusivity" bandwagon with both feet with its radical, but ever so politically correct, policy for restroom use.  The company's stated policy was, "We welcome transgender team members (employees) and guests (customers) to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity."  This was done to be compliant with the transgender movement.

Of course, Target was being deceitful here in the use of the phrase "gender identity."  In today's mixed up world, "gender identity" is not objective or scientific.  It has little to do with biology.  It's all about how people feel about their sex or what they imagine their gender to be.  Accordingly, a man can claim to be a woman and a woman can claim to be a man under the dictates of "gender identity."

Target's transgender policy was viewed as an affront to traditional sensibilities and a potential risk to women and girls using the store's facilities.  As a result, some groups instituted a boycott of Target.  One group, the American Family Association, got over 1.3 million people to sign an online petition to boycott Target. 

The boycott seems to have had an effect, although the management of Target is loath to admit it.  On August 17, Target announced that it will spend $20 million to expand restroom options at all its stores.  This will be accomplished by having a third, single-toilet restroom, which can be locked, installed in all of its 1,800 stores.  Presumably this means that the only females can use the women's restrooms and only males can use the men's restroom.  (Don't bet on that, however.)

Left undiscussed is the matter of the fitting rooms.  

Target financial officer Cathy Smith said this move to a third restroom is in response to feedback from customers who voiced displeasure with the company's transgender restroom policy.  She then added that this customer discontent hadn't materially impacted sales. 

But the facts may be otherwise.  At the same time Smith made her announcement, Target also reported a decrease in customer traffic through its stores and that sales have dropped for the first time in two years.  In the second quarter, sales are down 1.1%, and according to management, that has stalled out the company's turnaround effort.  Target further projects even lower sales for the rest of the year.

Yes, it is hard to tell at this early stage if the boycott of Target is working.  That's because all retail stores are under pressure from internet sales.  Still, in this soft environment for brick-and-mortar stores, Target is foolish to antagonize its customer base.

Target is not an upscale retail chain.  It isn't even in the same league as Macy's.  Target is like Kohl's and Walmart.  It offers nothing unique in the retail industry.  The segment of the retail market that Target is in is saturated.  The company could disappear tomorrow, and consumers overall would not lack for substitutes.  

And then there's the matter of Target's customer base.  It is strictly middle-class.  And it is the middle class whose sensibilities are most offended by Target's transgender policy.  Talk about shooting oneself in the foot. 

I myself did not sign any boycott petition of Target.  But I and my family bypass Target as a matter of principle and will continue to do so on into the future.  Taking down arrogant Target a peg or two would be a small win in the culture war, where victories for tradition and common sense are hard to come by.