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Are you still shopping at Target?
Yes 64%  64%  [ 34 ]
No 36%  36%  [ 19 ]
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 Post subject: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:03 pm 
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The Anti-Gay Donations That Target Apologized For? They Never Stopped
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Target's Political Action Committee, helmed by the former right hand of Senator Thune, Matt Zabel, recorded $41,200 in federal election activity. Of that total, $31,200 went to anti-gay rights politicians or PACs supporting those candidates.

Supporters of gay equality did get some money. In September, Target PAC gave $1,000 to Chuck Schumer. It also sent a whole $500 to Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Congressman that anti-gay leader Bradley Dean accuses of supporting LGBT rights as a way to bring Sharia law to America.

But donations such as $1,000 to Kelly Ayotte (reported on September 22), who opposes both gay marriage and same sex adoption, are far more the norm.

That same day, there is a record of a donation by Target PAC to Spencer Bachus, who voted to ban same-sex adoption. Michigan's David Camp, who, in addition to supporting a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage, voted against protecting gays from job discrimination based on sexual orientation, also reported money. Through October, Target PAC thousands of dollars in donations were recorded to Michael Crapo and Dave Reichert, both supporters of anti-gay Constitutional amendments, and Rob Portman, a supporter of banning gays from adopting. Portman's position on other gay rights won't surprise. On October 4, a donation was reported: $2,000 to David Dreier, whose position on gay rights is quite a bit of theatre.

After the Steinhafel statement, Target PAC's money also flowed to other PACs, including $8,500 to Every Republican is Crucial PAC, Freedom and Security PAC and the Majority Committee PAC, all three supporters of both Michele Bachmann and Roy Blunt.

Most surprising though are Target's post-apology donations to John Kline and Erik Paulsen, two vehement anti-gay equality candidates. Part of the July outrage over Target's political giving included these same two candidates.

On September 22, Target PAC recorded a donation to Erik Paulsen. Paulsen, a former Target employee and a favorite of Focus on the Family's James Dobson, recently voted against the Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal. He has also come out against classifying anti-gay attacks as hate crimes. His position on gay marriage is as expected.


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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:10 pm 
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There's no option for I never shopped at target because it's 20 miles away.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:22 pm 
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I don't know the Ins and Outs of PACs other than they need to be funded by employees and can't take contributions from the company itself. I'm assuming that these candidates they support are supported due to other interests they represent. I know it seems to indicate that they would stop supporting anti-gay politicians but they never said that.
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Going forward, we will soon begin a strategic review and analysis of our decision-making process for financial contributions in the public policy arena. And later this fall, Target will take a leadership role in bringing together a group of companies and partner organizations for a dialogue focused on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including GLBT issues.


So have they done that? How 'soon' is soon? dialogue on diversity doesn't mean 'stop giving contributions'.

So yeah I can see someone telling Target 'stuff it, I'm going to Walmart' but really? Obviously there are better sourcing choices than either but unless someone really looks into who they are buying from, then they don't really know what those they are supporting are themselves supporting.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:09 pm 
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Disclosure: I work for Target.

I'm only speaking for myself, but it seems clear to me that these contributions are not based on the fact the politicians are anti-gay rights. They're based on the fact that the other positions held by the politicians overlap with Target's interests. It would be awesome (in my opinion) if Target's interests had more of an overlap with progressives, but that just isn't the case.

In terms of places to work, Target is a huge champion of diversity, including LGBT issues. I recently had an issue with a transitioning TM and it was just so amazing to see the response, especially compared with the major corporation I worked for in the past.

Given that equal rights is a hot button political issue, is it reasonable to expect that a company make no donations to a politician who is against gay marriage or gay adoption? That means they're just not going to be donating in a large number of cases. I don't know if that is reasonable and I say that as somebody who is a huge believer in equality.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:38 am 
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Fee wrote:
There's no option for I never shopped at target because it's not in my province.


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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:54 am 
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I've been a part of the boycott since it started.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:32 am 
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you should boycott it anyways because its just a smaller version of Wal Mart with better PR.

fork Target

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:47 am 
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All major chain stores are smaller versions of Walmart. You can say you can stop shopping at chains altogether and only support small stores but there are things that aren't offered in those types of stores. I guess I don't understand boycotting one over another although I can understand a general tendency to prefer certain types of stores.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:10 am 
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I've been doing the boycott and it's really not a big deal for me. There is nothing at Target that I can't get other places and it keeps my spending down, since I don't go to many other big stores (and no matter why I go into Target I will leave with at least two extra purchases). I won't shop at Walmart and the other chains we have here are much, much smaller companies.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:22 am 
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janejellyroll wrote:
Disclosure: I work for Target.

I'm only speaking for myself, but it seems clear to me that these contributions are not based on the fact the politicians are anti-gay rights. They're based on the fact that the other positions held by the politicians overlap with Target's interests. It would be awesome (in my opinion) if Target's interests had more of an overlap with progressives, but that just isn't the case.

In terms of places to work, Target is a huge champion of diversity, including LGBT issues. I recently had an issue with a transitioning TM and it was just so amazing to see the response, especially compared with the major corporation I worked for in the past.

Given that equal rights is a hot button political issue, is it reasonable to expect that a company make no donations to a politician who is against gay marriage or gay adoption? That means they're just not going to be donating in a large number of cases. I don't know if that is reasonable and I say that as somebody who is a huge believer in equality.


That's an interesting perspective on the issue. Thanks, JJR!

For me, I go to Target maybe once a year and always spend less than $30. There aren't any Target stores in SF, so usually, I end up going to get pantyhose or something else I've forgotten when I go to visit the in-laws in Palm Springs.

I suppose I feel like they're not really any better or worse than any other big box store, though JJR's account of how they're actively supporting equality within their workforce makes me feel like maybe they are a bit better than Wal Mart, which seems to actively discourage equality.

I guess for me, I'm lucky to live in my little SF bubble, where I walk to the all-vegetarian co-op for my groceries and home goods, and drag most of my furniture off the street, buy it from Goodwill, or craigslist it. I don't really rely on Target or any big box store.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:44 am 
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jordanpattern wrote:
I guess for me, I'm lucky to live in my little SF bubble, where I walk to the all-vegetarian co-op for my groceries and home goods, and drag most of my furniture off the street, buy it from Goodwill, or craigslist it. I don't really rely on Target or any big box store.


It's possible to live like that in most places, but for most people that would mean breaking habits, which is hard. I was raised on garage sales so to me if I want to buy something that I know I can find used, that's where I go first. Weather is also a factor. I could live 90% off of the Farmer's Market and HFS store in the summer, and could also go completely without driving if I didn't need to run errands for work. But right now it's cold and there's snow on the ground, and the Farmer's Market is closed until about May.

If I was still living in Tennessee, I wouldn't even have a tiny health food store and i've mentioned the horrors of trying to ride my bike/walk anywhere, so if I was still in Clarksville i'd be forced to make less-than-ideal choices.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:52 am 
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linanil wrote:
All major chain stores are smaller versions of Walmart. You can say you can stop shopping at chains altogether and only support small stores but there are things that aren't offered in those types of stores. I guess I don't understand boycotting one over another although I can understand a general tendency to prefer certain types of stores.

you're right i probably shouldn't try at all. one person can never make a difference.


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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:00 pm 
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I didn't and still don't understand the point of the boycott. Were there a lot of other chains that were getting the same treatment for their policies/political contributions? Why was Target singled out here? I'd think there are a ton of chain stores that have some policies that I don't agree with. I think Whole Foods is reprehensible, although I suppose they have been boycotted at certain times.
Was Target promoting itself as a gay-friendly space and thus the donations seemed like a slap in the face?

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:14 pm 
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fupapack wrote:
linanil wrote:
All major chain stores are smaller versions of Walmart. You can say you can stop shopping at chains altogether and only support small stores but there are things that aren't offered in those types of stores. I guess I don't understand boycotting one over another although I can understand a general tendency to prefer certain types of stores.

you're right i probably shouldn't try at all. one person can never make a difference.


No, I'm not saying don't try at all. I'm saying basically what pandacookie says below me. Why single out Target? I mean the ideal solution would be to focus on local, smaller stores. I recently needed something pretty specific and the only place I could find it was largish chains. How do I decide which largish chain to go to? If someone doesn't want to shop at Target, I have no issue with that. I just don't know how productive it is to pick a single thing about Target and say I'm not shopping there so I'll shop at <blank> store which may be worse.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:20 pm 
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Best Buy is being boycotted as part of this, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:36 pm 
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So that article was from July, elections were in November and it seems focused in Minnesota. Seems like it was part of political slurry to me. In terms of its not 'oh my god, look what Target does' but 'Let's look at who supports Tom Emmer and see if we can drag them in the mud too'. Again, not saying Target wears a halo or anything.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:38 pm 
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BFH wrote:


Well, I guess I should have done better research. When I was buying a TV I took the boycott into account, so instead of target (or duh, walmart) I went with best buy.

That's what I get for waiting til I hear though instead of keeping up with stuff.

But I did hear the same stuff that Janejellyroll has said about employees being treated well- I've known some people who worked there too.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:14 pm 
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I hadn't heard about Best Buy being a part of it either.
I am all for the boycotting of big box stores, I just wish there was some sort of large national effort to expose all companies for both the good and bad they do.
I know Monsanto is regularly rated as a grand ol' place to work for queer folk but I will still loathe them.

Edit-That would go for online retailers too. I also loathe amazon. I have a lot of loathing to go around.
Edit again- I've also heard that Starbucks is not a bad employer but I also refuse to go to Starbucks.

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Last edited by pandacookie on Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:20 pm 
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on the flip side of the coin, i used to work at target and do not think they (at least my particular store, but also a lot of their corporate policies) treat their employees (or customers) particularly well.


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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:21 pm 
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If I were going to boycott Target, I'd be more likely to do so because of what they do to small brown hands.

But I'm de facto boycotting everything, because I never buy anything. Cheapness and laziness yield political dividends.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:25 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
I hadn't heard about Best Buy being a part of it either.
I am all for the boycotting of big box stores, I just wish there was some sort of large national effort to expose all companies for both the good and bad they do.
I know Monsanto is regularly rated as a grand ol' place to work for queer folk but I will still loathe them.

Edit-That would go for online retailers too. I also loathe amazon. I have a lot of loathing to go around.


It seems like these boycotts only come around due to competitors inciting them or in this case, political opponents. I think it would be nice if there was a 'scorecard' of sorts, somewhat similar to what you can find for charities. Again, I think Target and Best Buy probably funded their political candidates for what they thought was their own benefit financially not due to other factors.

It was interesting, there is a thread in the Kitchen about supermarkets which I think is a fairly easy thing to support local markets/food for many people, especially where a lot of options exist. Jojo mentioned Aldi which I didn't know much about but I know people seem to go crazy for Aldi. I went to Aldi and I was 'meh' about it. She said it was one of the worst supermarkets ethically in the UK (paraphrase).

Of course stores like Target, Walmart and BestBuy support a high level of consumerism. Stuff for stuffs sake. I'm not immune but I try to focus and think about my purchases. It may take me a few weeks or months to buy something I want just because I have to think about it for a while and make sure I really want it and it isn't an impulse purchase.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:34 pm 
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I think the boycotts come about for various reasons. I remember a Whole Foods one was about some dumb remarks the CEO made. The remarks got spread around on the internet and started a debate.
I'd also be interested in some way to track the effectiveness. I remember when the Target one was a hot topic but then as soon as it fades from the news it seems to fade from practice as well. I'd say the same for all of them. BP was being boycotted this year because of the gulf oil spill. Who is keeping up with that? Either in boycott or in the news about the effects of the spill?

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:36 pm 
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heh. I now have a subnick from this thread. excellent.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:41 pm 
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And of course there is Shell and their horrible practices. And true, there are boycotts for other reasons as well but to what end? People can boycott Walmart but Walmart will still keep growing. Target does have excellent PR. And BestBuy? It seems like a religion for some people.

Although there is a shopping center near me that has Best Buy, Target and Walmart. I forgot where we went (Home Depot maybe) but we were driving through the shopping center a few days before Christmas and I was surprised as the traffic didn't seem bad, Best Buy didn't seem crowded, Target didn't seem crowded and Walmart looked like a normal busy day. Normally, we don't go to the store (other than grocery stores) in November or December due to crowds so I was a bit surprised at the lack of crowds. I think the economy has obviously affected them as well and maybe just people naturally shopping less, maybe.

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 Post subject: Re: Target boycott (contributions to homophobic candidates)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:40 pm 
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This is actually a really interesting discussion to read -- it is cool to see so many different takes on it.

I think if you're against big box stores, consumerism, etc, boycotting Target (along with other retailers) is a good way to deal with that. I absolutely believe that we should try to make our purchases consistent with what we believe (I mean, yeah, I'm vegan).

If the idea is that Target is somehow worse than other major retailers -- that's the part that I don't see. Major corporations use political donations to further their interests. Target is a major corporation. What follows is just pure logic.

If one dislikes that system, it makes sense that you wouldn't shop at Target. But boycotting Target and supporting "alternate big box store x" is just responding to the fact that what happened at Target got press coverage because people thought Target was somehow different.

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