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Target Misses The Point

08/17/2010

Target, the favorite alternative to Wal-Mart for millions, has gotten itself into a sticky wicket (a situation requiring delicate treatment).

Several weeks ago Target made a $150,000 contribution to a group backing a Republican politician. Corporations typically provide financial support to candidates or standing elected politicians whose views are consistent with the company’s interests. It happens on both sides of the political party divide.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) cried “foul!” The politician Target is backing is, in their view, “anti-gay”. After two weeks of “good-faith discussions and two tentative agreements,” Target decided not to contribute to groups supporting gay-rights candidates in Minnesota, as the HRC sought.

Target, like President Obama, is walking back its support. In Target’s case the position taken with a politician, then attempting to appease an opposing special interest group, then ultimately making no move – looks indecisive and is a sure lose/lose for the company.

The point Target is missing is this: if you choose a position be prepared to defend it. I’d rather see Target take a strong stance on something I didn’t necessarily agree with rather than waffle on every public decision to every special interest group.

Right now Target is getting nothing positive from the HRC debate. It’s time for Target to get back to what it does best – retailing.

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