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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Opinion: A letter of protest to Target

Target should not take its best customers for granted

The following e-mail exchanges regard Target’s controversial $150k support for Tom Emmer, a homophobic, xenophobic Republican candidate for governor of Minnestoa. Learn more about the controversy through Minnesota Public Radio. Feel free to contact Target with your own words of protest. Frankly, I’m surprised anyone from Target replied, but I’m not at all happy with the response.

Robin Hartzell’s initial e-mail on July 27:

PLEASE FORWARD TO THE CEO AND CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS: As a longtime, brand-committed Target customer, I cannot underscore enough how disappointed and resentful I am at your company's decision to provide $150k to support Tom Emmer's campaign for Governor of Minnesota. Emmer is a confirmed homophobe and xenophobe. Do you not know your customers?! You just lost one here, and I'm making every effort to inform others online and off. I feel completely disgusted and betrayed. It will take nothing short of a major public apology and condemnation of Emmer's bigotry, along with a withdrawal of financial support for him and similar bigoted politicians, to win me back. Until then, goodbye.

Reply from Target on July 27:

Dear Robin Hartzell,

Target has long believed that engaging in civic activities is an important and necessary element of operating a national retail business. What's more important than any one candidate's stance on a particular issue is how we nurture thoughtful, long-term growth in the state of Minnesota.

Our support of causes and candidates is based strictly on issues that affect our retail and
business objectives. To continue to grow and create jobs and opportunity in our home state, we believe it is imperative to be engaged in public policy and the political process. That is why we are members of organizations like the Minnesota Business Partnership, the Chamber of Commerce and many others. And that is why we decided to contribute to MN Forward.

MN Forward's objective is to elect candidates from both parties who will make job creation and economic growth a
top priority. We operate best when working collaboratively with legislators on both sides of the aisle.  In fact, if you look at our Federal PAC contributions year to date, you will see that they are very balanced between Republicans and Democrats. For more information please visit, and view the Civic Activity page.

has a large stake in Minnesota's future, which is why it is so important to be able to provide jobs, serve guests, support communities and deliver on our commitment to shareholders. As an international business that is proud to call Minnesota home, it is critical that we have a business environment that allows us to be competitive. Our guests, team members, communities and shareholders depend on Target to remain competitive.

Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback.

Jennifer Hanson
Target Executive Offices

Robin Hartzell’s reply to Target on July 28:


A company that puts its own business interests ahead of the human rights of its customers is not a company I want to do business with. I had dinner with several friends last night. All were aware of the contribution, all were highly disappointed, and all have decided to avoid shopping at Target until it makes a sincere effort to rectify this ill-advised contribution to Tom Emmer's campaign.

Robin Hartzell, a former loyal Target customer


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