Archive for the Customer Service Category

A Target without a Gun

Posted in Customer Service with tags , , , on October 22, 2008 by moamcm

Guns are bad.  Specifically toy guns are bad.  And me, I’m a bad, bad, bad father for thinking about getting my little girl a toy gun to go with her Halloween costume.  At least, that’s the impression I got from a Target employee the other day.  I visited Target thinking to complete my daughter’s cowgirl costume.  Now being someone born west of the Mississippi River, I don’t tend to think of guns as a bad thing.  I mean I’m not a member of the NRA or anything; it’s just that guns are not evil where I come from.  My father, like many others in the region, taught me something apparently lacking in today’s society: responsibility with a loaded weapon that has the potential to kill.  That’s what I was taught and that’s what all my friends were taught.  Guns just were not that big of a deal because everyone had one (or three, or five..) and we were all taught how to properly handle and use them.

So I didn’t think much about asking where the toy guns were.  After all, cowboys and the American West were cool for me growing up.  Hell, I still love a good Western and that idealized portrait of the West will draw me in every time.  Boy was I wrong to think that was alright though.  The smirking employee with a clear hint of disdain replied something along the lines of “you won’t find toy guns at Target.”  The tone and facial expression however said a whole lot more than the words.  Now I had just walked through the toy section and I really didn’t like the attitude I was receiving.  So I pointed out that Target seems to have no problem carrying an assortment of war toys such as GI Joe, various other action toys, and even Hulk’s “smashing fists” or something like that.  In fact, I could even buy a toy knife if I felt like it.  So what’s the difference I asked?  The answer, “well, it’s a fine line.” 

Give me a break.  That’s a pretty serious fine line I would say.  Ok kids, it’s not ok to play with toy guns, but it’s perfectly fine to play at war, knife your friends, and maybe pummel them with giant green fists.  No fake shooting little Johnny in a showdown, but you can really shoot little Johnny with a foam bow and arrow if you want to.   Even better why don’t you blast little Johnny with a paintball gun from the sports section!  Hypocrisy, in the true sense of the word.  Perhaps the folks at Target who made this obviously politically correct decision need to look up that definition and try to understand what it means.

And then to make it all one step more annoying, I find this on Target.com.  How amusing is that?  We won’t sell you a toy gun in the store, but you can have it shipped to your door!  Awesome.  Too bad I won’t be buying any toys at target for a while. 

Oh, I’ll be back.  One crappy employee isn’t enough to keep me away forever and overall the local store I go to is not too bad – average apathetic service as usual as retail environments go – I’ve seen worse.  But for now, I’m still a bit irked and that will take a while to rub off. Until then, I’ll be dropping my cash at Walmart, Kmart, or any other discount store that comes to mind when I have a need for that kind of shopping place – even if I have to drive out of my way to get there.

You could say I feel a bit vindictive about this with posting the experience online and not shopping at Target for a while.  I personally see it as choosing to spend my money at a place where the employees understand that their personal beliefs are of no interest to me as the customer and where store policies are not riddled with obvious social commentary.  I guess you could say, “It’s a fine line.”