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March 3rd, 2002

The One Store I Don’t Hate… Yet

I hate a lot of stores and a lot of companies. I refuse to shop in Best Buy, Home Depot gives me the willies, and Wal-Mart is another no-no. If a company rubs me the wrong way or gives me notably bad service just one time, I’ll shop somewhere else from that point on.

But, one company has managed to dodge the bullet: Target. I haven’t found any reason to hate the slightly upscale version of Wal-Mart just yet… and I’ve actually had a number of positive experiences there over the past few months. Their stores are well-stocked and well-organized (there aren’t items strewn about the aisles and most of the shelves seem to be in good order), their prices are surprisingly good, their online catalog and their in-store merchandise is very similar (so it’s easy to research before even heading to the store) and I’ve received nothing but service with a smile from their employees. It’s almost eerie — I’m just waiting for something to go wrong.

Posted in Consumer Commentary

FROM: Paul [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday March 3, 2002 -- 8:29:33 am
Agreed, fully, and I too am suspicious. I like Target.

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday March 3, 2002 -- 12:15:20 pm
My wife is prayng that they shut down the Leesburg K-mart and put a Target in its place.

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday March 3, 2002 -- 3:16:06 pm
I hear Target management will give a nickel to a schoolchild for every church window he breaks.

FROM: fresh
DATE: Sunday March 3, 2002 -- 5:44:09 pm
target is awesome but dont yal think there is an overload of folks who work there?

FROM: Alex [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday March 3, 2002 -- 7:26:28 pm
you can get luscious hats there. that's a plus. A+.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Sunday March 3, 2002 -- 9:39:13 pm
Alex -- provide us with a link to that picture! :)

FROM: Matt
DATE: Monday March 4, 2002 -- 12:12:44 am
I haven't eaten in the food court there in over 4 years, but they had good tasting fast food.

FROM: Jeff
DATE: Sunday March 17, 2002 -- 2:12:37 pm
Target is a very good retailer--the best yuppie discount store around. Nice merchandise, nicely presented, clean stores with wide aisles, friendly staff Wal-Mart is the other extreme. It's the cheesiest discount store around that always smells like a combination of plastic, cleaning solvent and sickeningly sweet generic candy. Why does everyone who works and shops at Wal-Mart look like they crawled out of a trailer park? Aisles are too narrow and the merchandise is pretty cheesey. This is America's and the world's largest retailer!? What does that say about the human race?

FROM: Maria
DATE: Tuesday April 30, 2002 -- 4:09:54 am
I love Target, but I just stumbled upon Some people apparently don't love it.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday April 30, 2002 -- 9:25:20 am
That site doesn't seem to be nearly as angry as other anti-whatever sites... even the mission statement is pretty tame:

FROM: veidra2002
DATE: Monday September 15, 2003 -- 2:52:45 am
I to shop at target, the only problem I have had with target is that you should check the barcode number on the item you purchase. Because the price you see is not always the price that will ring up at the register. This has happened at least three times. But I still like Target merchandise

FROM: GreenFish
DATE: Monday September 15, 2003 -- 2:25:24 pm
I have to say that I agree with the response above. I am personally a huge fan of Target. It is my major discount retailer of choice, and I live in a town with a plethora of them. (Yes, a plethora!)

I went shopping at our local mall for some clothes - and in the end, found myself at Target, where I got 2 pairs of pants at regular price for the same as 1 pair I was looking at on sale at one of the stores there (the Gap, I think)

Not to say that I'd want to make my own living out of working there, but compared to Wal-Mart, it's a much more pleasant place to be (shopping and working). I had two friends that worked there, made their way up to department, and store manager, respectively, and didn't have a whole lot to complain about.

Plus, they carry quality items at good prices.

Wal-Mart's good for refill items (i.e., toothpaste, junk food, etc.), but I tend to avoid it as much as possible. Crowded, under-managed, messy, and yes, the people who shop there are often scary individuals... and, Wal-Mart's food stores (i.e., in Super Wal-Marts) are really gross.

Haven't yet been to a Super Target. They just built one in my old hometown, but I have yet to check it out. Anyone who's seen a Super Target yet?

FROM: WalkingCorpse
DATE: Sunday October 19, 2003 -- 1:36:48 am
Hmm... try working at one. Getting locked in till all hours of the morning after your shift has ended pretty much shattered any illusions I had of Target as a good company.

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday October 19, 2003 -- 9:49:23 am
That sounds strangely like that 1991 movie, "Career Opportunities"..kid gets locked in Target all night, as a part of his job, and gets locked up with Jennifer Connelly....(don't get your hopes up, Jennifer is extremely hot in the picture, but it's PG-13)

Maximum Comedy at Minimum Wage.

FROM: jk aka retail guru
DATE: Sunday October 19, 2003 -- 1:18:07 pm
I have heard that their managers work really insane hours...upwards of 70 or 80 hours per week. I have one of the most demanding retail jobs out there, but we rarely work more than 46 or 50 hours.

I have noticed that Costco is always so neat and clean, and I thought "Hmm, would that be a nice place to work?" but I learned that they too run overnights. No thank you.

FROM: Target Team Member
DATE: Monday February 23, 2004 -- 11:15:31 pm
Our managers would never even be allowed to work that many hours. That's ridiculous.

FROM: Cheryl
DATE: Wednesday May 26, 2004 -- 9:42:18 am
I agree they have good prices on household items, toiletries, etc. - but I'm sorry, their clothes suck! The fabrics are chintzy, the colors dull and they seem to appeal more to the teenage - young adult age group. I have yet to find an article of clothing I really like.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Wednesday May 26, 2004 -- 1:18:41 pm
Yes, I too love the store that fed us the great advertising line a la Fran Dresher, "My schizzle's gone ka-zizzle."

Food's cheap, prices low, aisles clean. But it's not just the low prices. The merchandise is really nice looking and different from what you can get elsewhere. I think they must go to the manufacturers and tell them that they won't buy the schlock they sell to other discount places unless they make it look presentable. I really appreciate that at Target the people who choose the items Target sells really care about how the items look and function. It's not like going to Wal-Mart where you are confronted with tons of items in boxes that people will buy just because of low prices and who cares what it looks like.
Target doesn't punish me for wanting to pay a reasonable price for a household item by making it ugly. Target proves that good taste can be had at a good price. I think that's why people like Target.

That's not the whole story either, because often, Target is the only place that has something that really looks contemporary and fun. Target is hipper than all the other stores and they know it. The low prices are really just a bonus.

If only the optometrist would take note. I would buy more glasses if I didn't have to pay $500 to get frames that didn't look like they came off of some person who died fifty years ago (and bought cheap glasses).

I guess I'm saying that I can't figure out if it's the low prices or the great stuff at Target that draws me in.

On the other hand, the Michael Graves kitchen stuff is way overdone and must go. This overdesign has culminated in a flabbergasting situation on my last visit to Target. We were shopping for a new apartment and needed a toilet brush. The only one Target had (for obvious reasons, as the others were sold out) was some overdesigned model with a sculpted fleshy feeling handle, some super attached holder, and other features. It was available for $10. I'm hoping that the overdone $10 toilet brush is not a sign of things to come from Target. Target, please practice some restraint.

Overall, I am overwhelmingly in favor of Target. But for the two documented flaws in merchandise, Target is clearly the best. The super added plus is that you aren't going to pay for your thriftiness by being forced to sit in a line an hour long. It's just not worth it to go to Wal-Mart anymore.

No ugly junk, no long lines, low prices. It just doesn't get any better than Target.

FROM: Target Cashier
DATE: Thursday August 12, 2004 -- 6:13:02 am
"Hmm... try working at one. Getting locked in till all hours of the morning after your shift has ended pretty much shattered any illusions I had of Target as a good company."

It is silly to judge an entire company just by one store. Target has nearly 1300 stores. With such a high number, there are bound to be at least a few that have problems. If you had called Team Member Services and told them about your experiences, I am sure they would immediately do some research at that Target. I know my store isn't like that at all. Most of the time, we actually get out before 10:30, and that is the time we are all scheduled to; closing is expected to take thirty minutes.

But, yeah, Target is awesome. I work as a full time cashier there, and I have never had a more fun job. I look forward to going to work every day. My Team Members are all great people, and so are most of my Guests. And Target has the coolest point of sale software. It is very advanced. It shows the cashier their score after every transaction, their scores for the last ten transactions, the number of transactions since logging in to the register, and their percentage score for how many good/bad transactions they have done that session. Also, if something is out of stock, rain checks can be issued directly from any register, or if you have the product's UPC or 9 digit Target DPCI (printed on some products and on the shelf labels; i.e. 008 02 0776), you can ask a team member to do a merchandise locate on their register. Merchandise locate will show similar items to the one scanned/entered, where these items are in the store, how many the store had as of opening, back stockroom locations for the product, and which stores also reflect inventory of the product as of store open. Also, directly through the system, Team Members can access store reports and readings, enter in and process Target Credit Card applications, check giftcard balances, print gift receipts on any non-expired receipts, give refunds for coupons you forgot to give the cashier (as long as you come back to the same store on the same day), and even more to come!

And then there is the Guest Service Desk, too. We handle all defective returned merchandise and sales floor damaged items on the computers there. We just tell the computer the item is defective in return mode, or we go into defective mode, scan the product, it tells us what level of defective the product is, and we scan that label to assign an ID to the product. You can even make a payment on your Guest Card or Target VISA account at any time at the service desk. All we do is swipe the card or scan the barcode on your statement, and then you give us however much you want to pay in cash or check. And if you forget or lose your receipt, and you paid with giftcard, check, credit card, debit card, or you have a product that required a serial number to be scanned at check out (such as a video game system), we can look up your receipt from that data.

And then for the sales floor. As you all have noticed, I am sure, there are price scanners conveniently placed about the floor, and in some stores, these scanners even tell you what aisle(s) the product should be in, and if more of the product is in the back stockroom. Some of the newest scanners even have number buttons, so you can punch in the Target DPCI of the product manually. And all sales floor team members have two way radios, so they can communicate with each other without having to page overhead and disturb the guests. Unlike Wal-Mart, where they say something overhead every two minutes. Some team members even have PDT devices, with which they can do a number of things with, including scanning a product or shelf location to immediately find out if the product is in the back stockroom. And the most ingenious sales floor feature of them all, a feature that only Target uses; the red phones/press for service buttons. With these, you can either page a Team Member to meet you at the phone within 60 seconds, or you can talk to a Team Member over the phone.

Awesome stuff at Target, and it just keeps getting better. I will always enjoy shopping and working there. And I can't wait to see what the future holds.

FROM: tired all the time
DATE: Monday August 15, 2005 -- 8:41:54 pm
If you think its a good place wait untill you get hurt there and its there fault you loose hours wages and its your fault acording to there attoneys even if you had not a thing to do with it and they are at fault employes are just tools and guests are even less needed unless they are applying for cridit then your scum after that.

FROM: Trizzay
DATE: Tuesday August 16, 2005 -- 4:29:07 am
Target is the Stepford Retailer.

FROM: Target Team Member
DATE: Tuesday September 13, 2005 -- 4:06:03 pm
Actually LODs (managers) have to work as much as 60 hours a week at 40hrs pay, its true I know trust me. Also does anyone know what DPCI stands for? Its crazy but I dont know.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Tuesday September 13, 2005 -- 5:32:28 pm
Managers have to work 60 hours for 40 hours pay? Does Target pay managers by the hour or by salary? Managers, as far as I know, are usually paid salary and benefits. It sounds like a good deal, but then salaried employees working anywhere find out that they end up working long hours. When they do the math in the end and find out how much they get paid an hour, the crying begins.

But, hey, if Target managers do sixty hours of work on salary and get paid the same amount they would have had they stayed a clerk working forty hours--that's not bad, really. There are plenty of places where salaried employees get paid much worse if you divide weekly salary by forty hours.

I know plenty of people who put in eighty hours a week or more as salaried employees and don't make any more money than they would have had they only put in forty hours. The more time you put in, the less per hour you make. That's the salary game. You think all that job security and those benefits that come along with a salary are given away freely? Keep dreaming.

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