This Mom’s Open Letter to Target: The Real Reason We’re Boycotting {It’s Not What You Think}

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Dear Target,

From the beginning of your business venture, your CEO’s, executives, marketing teams – everyone down to my local branch manager – have dreamed up and executed a brilliant strategy. You realized that in order to secure yourselves a place next to Walmart you would need to hone in on a very specific consumer, one that, once addicted, would become your most loyal and impulse-purchase-happy customers on the face of the planet: you wanted moms. And you, my dear friend, have succeeded!

From the moment we walk into your store, your meticulously displayed merchandise (very carefully selected to be relevant and needed in our every day lives) draws us in and makes us love you all the more. From the OCD delights we had in our former life before children, to the dreams we never saw completed in our own nursery decor, you have given us the style, creativity, convenience and affordability we have been dreaming of since our last visit to 5th Avenue… ten years ago.

From the cup-holders in the carts to hold the coffee from our favorite barista, to the patio display with the orange and teal pillows…  The low-chemical cleaning products to provide a safer home to our kids,  the endless clearance aisles {oh the clearance aisles!} to provide a much needed extra dollar in our budgets – you worked hard to get our attention and gain our affection, and now we unashamedly have declared from the rooftops that you are our store and WE LOVE YOU! You earned our love and we have given it to you generously (to the dismay of our husbands and our wallets…). We gave it to you because of what you gave to us. We loved you for the experience we knew we were guaranteed to get every time we walked through your big red doors. From yoga pants to diapers, high heels to bagels, we knew you – we loved you, and we used to trust you.

Here’s what changed… it’s not that we blame you for wanting to expand your reach to other demographics – we understand, you’re a business and you want to grow; it’s what you do. And it’s not that we have to agree with the personal moral lifestyle of every customer that you serve: I have no problem shopping at a store with people that I disagree with. But this is more than a difference of opinion… this is a breach in trust. You looked for us – you searched us out as your prime customers and have bent over backwards to make your store our favorite place to be. You shared our common interests and goals and catered to our needs and conveniences to keep us coming to you instead of your competitors. You courted our affection and secured our loyalty based on the commonalities we shared: excellence, convenience, affordability, and integrity. Any store can sell milk and socks. You figured out how to make it an experience, one that would keep us coming back week after week.

So, you can imagine our surprise – no, our dismay – when we saw how different our true values really are. As a mom, there is one thing, one single thing, that takes precedence in our lives over all else: our children. The irony is painful, but it is the very thing that once drove us to you with desperate abandon in a wrinkled t-shirt and messy bun to just walk through your pristine aisles for a few minutes of sanity… that very thing – our children – is the very thing that is now keeping us away.

oltarget1Practically speaking, you leave us no choice. I have not once visited your store with my kiddos that I have not used your bathroom. Accidents, last minute potty trips, dirty diapers – all of the above. When you have children under 5, 10, 18 you use the bathroom wherever you go. But the reason we can’t let this go isn’t just because we could have easily earned the bathroom equivalent of enough frequent flyer miles to go to Sri Lanka and back TWICE, it’s because our jobs as moms is to take care of and train our children. And, although we are quite amazing creatures, we cannot do the impossible, which in this case would be to look at our wide-eyed innocent children and explain why it’s ok that a person of the opposite gender is in the wrong bathroom.

I don’t care what religious, political, or sexual background you come from. In the eyes of a child, everything is black or white: right or wrong. There is no gray. Their entire life up to this point has been filled with absolutes: “The stove is hot.” They touch the stove, realize it is hot and will never doubt again that the stove IS HOT. As they get older they are able to understand less tangible principles, but these principles still carry the same rigidity and are accepted with the same acute realization as touching a hot stove. “Stealing is wrong.” Whether it’s their friend’s toy or the latest Frozen Barbie on your shelf, taking something that does not belong to you IS WRONG. Why do we know it’s wrong? Because we always get caught? No. Because an alarm goes off when you touch it? No. Because your mom said so? No. Because deep in the very fabric of their being their moral compass has understood the difference between right and wrong. We could issue a directive tomorrow from Capital Hill itself that says anyone can steal whatever they want from whoever they want whenever they want. What we would see is a bunch of crazed adults running around taking everything in sight while the bulk of the population under the age of ten would stare on in disbelief. Wrong is wrong, regardless of who says it’s ‘right.’

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That, my dear old friend, is the heart of this issue. You can say it’s right – you can make it legal – you can even say we’re all WRONG for disagreeing, but you can’t change a moral absolute. And that’s why I can’t shop at Target anymore. It’s not because I think I’ll make a difference – although if your drop in sales is any indication, it is making a difference. It’s because I love my kids too much to lie to them, and I am unwilling to put myself in a position where I am socially pressured to endorse a view point as correct by being unable to say it’s not. 

oltarget3I’m sure someday, at the rate our culture is spiraling, my kids will be forced to do the same thing, perhaps on a much more devastating level. I hope by the time they are confronted with an alternative reality being presented as fact they are able to see it for what is is: disillusioned pain. But if that is my hope for them, I need to be the one to make a stand while it’s my turn and say that as long as we have freedom of speech, I will exercise my right to respectfully disagree with my countrymen. I do not expect them to conform their public lives to the standard of my private life, and all I am asking of them is to be granted the same courtesy.  

I miss you, Target, not because I can’t purchase your products anywhere else – because I am… – but because I truly appreciated your innovation and brilliance in custom designing a large portion of your shopping experience to be appreciated by young mothers. It is a talent you have in abundance! But no amount of ‘experience’ can make me compromise my one and only goal as a mom: to teach my kids the difference between right and wrong and give them the strength to stand up for it when it is threatened.

Sincerely and with no hard feelings,

One Disappointed Mom

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6 thoughts on “This Mom’s Open Letter to Target: The Real Reason We’re Boycotting {It’s Not What You Think}

  1. I appreciate that your critique is reasonable and not nasty. But I would offer another view point- whether or not you agree with an individual’s expression of their sexuality, such an encounter would provide you with the opportunity to explain grace and forgiveness to your children. Grace is offered to everyone, regardless of whether or not they behave “correctly” or “incorrectly”. The sooner one’s children can understand that God’s grace is not connected to human actions, the better off they will be.
    Hats off to you for standing up for your principles, but I thought I might be able to offer a slightly different view point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the feedback! I absolutely agree with you and I feel we have those opportunities in abundance walking through our every day lives.

      Unfortunately, there is also the principle of teaching our kids how to define right and wrong. We need love the people but we can’t endorse the sin.

      Thank you for your honest feedback and for being so respectful! It is an honor to have readers who are interested in continuing the conversation even when we don’t necessarily agree on everything. 😉❤️

      Like

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