Picture Equality: A True Target Boycott

Much to do has been made lately about donations to anti-gay politicians by national retail chain Target. At the time, there were nation wide calls for a boycott against Target.

This is surprising to many as Target has always seemed to be a gay friendly company. Human Rights Campaign’s 2011 Buyers Guide lists Target with a workplace equality score of 85. Compare that to Walmart’s score of 40. Many communities don’t have any choice for buying discount retail other than Walmart. In communities that do have a choice, the only other option is usually Target.

So what do you do? Buy from the devil that is notorious for treating their employees like garbage, flooding the United State’s retail markets with cheap goods from China, almost single-handedly destroying small town economies, and probably most culpable for a huge trade deficit with China or do you buy from the company that is taking the money you pay them to endorse politicians to take away your civil rights? It’s a difficult choice when the only choice is those two retailers. Myself, I will continue to shop at Target. Walmart gives me the willies.

Early in February, Lada Gaga and Target partnered to offer an Exclusive Deluxe Edition of her new album, Born this Way, with three exclusive tracks. Billboard magazine quoted Lady Gaga on the negotions with Target:

“That discussion was one of the most intense conversations I’ve ever had in a business meeting,” Gaga told the music publication. “Part of my deal with Target is that they have to start affiliating themselves with LGBT charity groups and begin to reform and make amends for the mistakes they’ve made in the past … our relationship is hinged upon their reform in the company to support the gay community and to redeem the mistakes they’ve made supporting those [antigay] groups.”

Apparently, Target couldn’t live by those conditions. They must have the freedom to support anti-gay politicians and legislation. Lady Gaga and Target parted ways on their “exclusive” deal. Again, there are rumblings for a boycott of Target.

Kodak Funsaver

In this day and age a boycott WILL NOT WORK against a national retail chain. First, you cannot guarantee participation and even if you could how much of an impact do you think it would have on Target’s bottom line. I mean the economy is rebounding in slow motion, but wouldn’t a decrease in spending at Target only show as further signs of a weak economy?

No, what the LGBT people and their allies need is the ability to show that the “gay dollar” has a value. You want to have an immediate and impactful affect on their financial reports. You want Target to see, in one day exactly what the gay dollar is worth and yield to ongoing demands for them to cease funding anti-gay efforts.

I’m surprised no one has thought of this before, but here’s how to do it.

First, we need a date. May 23rd, is to be the release date of Lady Gag’s new album. It’s only fitting that we pick that date to make our statement to honor a celebrity that has stood up for us time and time again. It also gives us quite a bit of time to prepare.

Between now and May 22, 2011, start buying the disposable cameras at the check out lane. They might be the Kodak Funsaver or the FujiColor QuickSnap. Your store may vary in what they offer. They range between $5-7 from my experience. On May 23rd, everyone take off to your local Target store and return the disposable camera. It’s as simple as that! This won’t be a boycott, it will be a…hmmmm…a returncott!

If they cost $5 each and 1000 people do this, Target’s financial report will show $5000 in returns on that day for that one item. If 100,000 participate, they will see $500,000. Hey people, that’s half a million dollars! The more that participate, the more impact this statement will have.

FujiColor QuickSnap

Here are some important things to remember though:

  • Target allows returns up to 90 days
  • There is a restock fee on digital cameras, but my local store assures me this does not apply to the disposable camera
  • DO NOT USE CASH OR CHECK! (and who uses checks these days?)
  • Use a debit or credit card. Each transaction costs Target money through their merchant services as a processing and transaction fee.
  • DO NOT USE THE CAMERA! (don’t be dumb)
  • Save your receipt (again, don’t be dumb). The return policy is usually on the back.
  • When you return the item, tell the clerk why you are returning it

Remember, this can only have an impact if there is a lot of participation. You are showing Target that you have money to spend, but you have chosen not to let them keep it. You will probably throw off their inventory and reordering: “Damn! This little cameras are popular lately. Order another 200 for the store.” Of course, after May 23rd, there may be a big sale on disposable cameras.

Share this plan on facebook, tweet it (use hashtag #returncott), email it. It is easy and in the long run it will only cost you a little it of time. However, wouldn’t it be cool to stand in a long line at the return desk on May 23rd watching everyone return a cheap disposable camera?

I’ll leave you with this cute parody: