Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I pledge allegience to the flag, of the United States of Corporate America

In my last post I made the flippant remark that Target is the "Devil's Store", referencing the fact that they do not allow the Salvation Army bell ringers at their store fronts any longer.

I have been mulling over this comment, and want to clarify my thoughts on this topic, as it hasn't seemed to lose steam since the decision was announced last year.

I'm not fussed.

I'm not fussed that Target doesn't allow the Salvation Army bell ringers at their store fronts.

I understand that it was a viable business decision, and not a malicious attack against people who carry bells. Considering that Target already heads up their own charitable foundation, there is no need for them to allow other charitable organizations to solicit their shoppers. Target already gives back to the community.

Unfortunately, the majority of Americans think that this is a stinky idea.
And I do think that Target execs did a poor job of explaining their position on why they have disallowed the bell ringers. It didn't actually reach my ears that Target and the Salvation Army have formed a partnership.

(No, the media won't cover that one, because its positive news.)

The fact of the matter is that charitable organizations are just as big a business as any corporate conglomerate in the United States. We just don't like to think about it that way. But realistically, we need to ask ourselves why certain charitable organization executives are raking in a $300,000 (or more) a year salary in the name of giving.

Humanitarian organizations are not exempt from the same "setbacks" that companies such as say...Enron are subject.

Target didn't make this business decision as a thwart against humanitarian efforts, it was a strategic business decision. Anyone who works in cube world for 8-10 hours a day under grueling flourescents can testify that corporate and humanitarian don't usually mix. And what goes on behind those big desks amount to numbers on paper exchaging hands.

But we still need to beat someone up for not giving enough--which is inane because Americans (as a whole) are the most generous people on the planet. Just ask payroll.

Most corporations "offer" (push) thier employees to donate a percentage of their paycheck towards charity. Swoosh, gone. We don't even miss it. Right? That measely 3% adds up. But since we aren't thinking about it, it must not really be happening. I'm sure the accounting department at United Way reports otherwise.

Don't get me wrong, I do think that we should give. I do think that giving generously is important...essential. However, I don't think that Target should be judged on the way that they choose to give.

"But just as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us--see that you also excel in this grace of giving."
II Corinthians 8:7

Right now small businesses comprise 97% of all business in the United States. It's amazing to me that the remaining 3% has such a sway on the thoughts and actions of our country, and our world.

It is my thought that until cities are cashing in on big business by changing their name to suit their corporate benefactors, or changing their names in order to market internet websites, we should just stick with singing the national anthem as is.


Now back to our regularly scheduled program.


At 11:29, Blogger scott said...

If you don't want to be constantly attacked by people you shouldn't name yourself "Target".

That's what I think.

Hello, Kassi.

At 12:52, Blogger Kassi said...

Excellent point!


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