Home CommentaryOpinions Missing the mark: Target staff out in the cold

Missing the mark: Target staff out in the cold

by The Concordian January 20, 2015
Missing the mark: Target staff out in the cold

Concordia student and Target employee vents frustration over Best Company Ever™

I was hired at Target in the summer of 2013, a few months before my store would open. In the time until opening, we learned a lot about how important Target’s brand recognition was, as well as having the essence of “team spirit” drilled into us, and just how important the customer would be. I was convinced that we were going to beat Wal-Mart at every turn, in our quest to be the Best Company Ever™. Opening finally came around, and when customer (I mean, “guest”) comments began to pour in, it was a sign that maybe, just maybe, we didn’t get off on the right foot.

“Empty shelves. High prices. Did not have ___ article. Where is your stock?” were the most common issues brought up. Being at the mercy of our distribution centers, there was little we could do but smile and apologize to guests for not having the items they needed.

I can’t say the news of Target’s exit from Canada came as much surprise to me. I did believe, however, that the company would at least try to ride out their building leases first before deciding to pull out of Canada, so their hastiness is a little shocking. Coupling the fact that they’ve lost roughly $1.5 billion since Canadian operations started with that terrible first impression, you’d have to wonder how they could possibly rebuild brand trust in Canada. (Frankly, I’m a firm believer that many of our guests were simply overflow from Wal-Mart after the initial novelty wore off).

An envelope full of documentation pertaining to my end of employment terms came to me in the mail, but I would be lying if I said I understood an ounce of it, as it was sent purely in French legalese (a language understood only by the secret lawyer society hidden deep in Mount Royal). I had to discuss it amongst my coworkers as well as the HR manager to even begin to parse it—I’m very disappointed that they didn’t bother to send bilingual documentation for something this important.

Also, the 16-week compensation plan that was publicized in Target’s press release isn’t nearly as glamorous as first understood—the compensation plan only takes effect if your position or store location is no longer needed and shut down before May 16, the final day for all Target Canada stores to discontinue operations. What that means is the people who are best off in this situation are the ones whose stores close early enough that they can get the remainder of their compensation plan (which is however many weeks are left between store closure and May 16) and take a new job, so they can maximize profit. Those of us who are stuck working until the last day don’t get in on the compensation plan and have no paychecks coming after our last worked day.

Needless to say, many of us who have realized this are praying for early closure and shiny new jobs.

To the people who are finding humour in Target’s premature exit from Canada, I say this: poor planning and understanding of the Canadian market has led to almost 18,000 employees across Canada realizing that they will be out of a job and a paycheck in the next few months. Some of us are students who don’t have to worry about rent or groceries and still live at home. We can bounce back, we’re not worried. But many of them have families to support, rent to pay, diapers to buy, and the reality of this situation is a lot less funny.

So while you’re rushing into our stores trying to take advantage of liquidated bedsheets and fashion dolls, it would do well to remember that before berating your cashier at checkout over a pricing error.

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