Target


Two years have passed and memories of the Target stores with its white shelves and red labels may be faint for some of us, but not for Robert Motum. When Target first announced it will be closing all stores across Canada in 2015, he felt there needed to be more focus on how employees would be affected. After speaking with staff and lawyers, he was on a mission to learn what happened.

It was felt, by some outsiders, that one of the reasons Target failed in Canada, was that it had banked on Canadians having the same allergic reaction to shopping at WalMart that some sections of the American population does. We don't. Canadians were going to Target stores here expecting the same low prices they could find when shopping at Target stores in the U.S.; and when they weren't finding them, they went off to WalMart (or other bargain stores), and never looked back. Target also made a huge error in buying up the empty Zellers locations, many of which were - at the time Target bought them - located in economically depressed neighbourhoods; areas not likely to attract destination shoppers, and inhabited by people who were not financially able to afford Target's prices. To clarify, Target did not buy out Zellers. Zellers had already closed, and Target just bought the empty stores.

There were also a lot of remarks from various corners about the number of empty shelves and lack of product. The rumour was that Target was using some of the same suppliers that WalMart was, and the big wigs at WalMart had more or less told the suppliers that if they dealt with Target, they would no longer have WalMart as a client.

I had worked at Target briefly during its initial roll-out in the Hamilton area, and I recall the store was largely empty a good bit of the time, with no overhead music to create a more welcoming atmosphere. The management was also so restricted in the money they were budgeted each month to cover expenses, that I got in trouble for staying an extra half hour (without permission) to help a customer who had mobility issues and couldn't get out of their power chair. We'd all been promised full-time hours, but after starting the job in May of 2013, by September I wasn't even getting 24 hours a week. In fact, the week of my birthday I'd received no hours at all.

One of the things we were encouraged to do, was - if we saw a customer with a hand basket that looked full - was to offer to get them a cart. This had not one thing to do with ease for the customer, but was completely about the fact that a person with a cart was more likely to buy more stuff. This is one of those smarmy things I despise about retail in general, and one of the things that made me glad to see Target die.



2017 11 27 - 09:32

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