28 July 2010


Yesterday, I was reading a story in the Strib about Target Corp. donating $150,000 to an organization called MN Forward. It's a "pro-business group" that happens to be run by former Pawlenty administration staffers and is supporting Tom Emmer, the Republican candidate for governor in our lovely state of Minnesota.

Everything I've read about Emmer makes him seem like a real piece of work. There was the tip credit debacle, he apparently really likes to sue people, he wants to nullify all federal laws in Minnesota and of course, he's anti-gay marriage.

So, reading that Target gave a considerable chunk of corporate money (corporations are people, too, dontcha know!) to an organization that is only supporting Emmer puts a very bad taste in my mouth. Especially when Target is allegedly such a progressive company, especially when it comes to GLBT issues.

Look, I'm not naïve. I know corporations give money to politicians. And Target's practice on the federal level of giving to both sides is what I expect. Getting involved in the state gubernatorial race and backing a candidate who, quite frankly, seems like a bit of a wingnut, is a bit much.

Now I'm contemplating not shopping at Target. This is difficult for me, because I love the fuck out of Target. I use a TON of Target private label products. I do feel shitty sometimes about buying grocery-type things at Super Target, because their workers aren't unionized as workers are at other grocery stores.

This is where I get into feeling inadequate. I like shopping at Super Target because they do have really low prices on lots of things. Their private label products are excellent and quite frankly, I like that I can do the one-stop shopping.

I also like shopping at Rainbow. Their private label products are good, as well. It's what I would consider to be my neighborhood grocery store. They're regional (headquartered in Milwaukee), but not local. They have good prices and do double coupons a couple of times a week. And yet, I kind of feel like an asshole about it when I talk to other people.

Why do I feel like an asshole? I don't shop at the co-op. I don't always buy organic. I don't even really make it any sort of priority to buy organic. I eat processed food. Not all the time, but I don't make every damn thing from scratch. Why not? It's not like I have kids or really any other responsibilities outside work. Why am I not trying harder to be this organic-buying, co-op shopping, locavore?

But I do try. I have my CSA membership. I get my meat from my family farm, for the most part. I go to the Uptown Market. I cook a lot of my own food. I bake. And when I do go to the grocery store, I go to stores whose corporate headquarters is either in Minnesota or Wisconsin, save for Trader Joe's. I'm not perfect and I never will be. I need to stop beating myself up for thinking I'd rather save money on some things by shopping at Rainbow or Super Target so I can spend money at the Uptown Market or be able to afford my CSA membership.

Writing all of this didn't make me feel any better. I wasn't sure it would, but I guess I just have to keep trying to come to terms with my shopping habits. I suck. I wear makeup and perfume. I like makeup and perfume. I use a lot of hair products and spend time working on my hair. I like purses. I don't shop at the co-op or farmers market every week. I am who I am. What can you do about it?


supertoyz said...

I had this whole long thing to tell you about Target and how I feel about the donation and about the GLBT you brought up because I thought I had this huge insider advantage. But as I was writing it I realized I know nothing about either one.

Though I do know a female Target employee who is currently in transition to male and I know he's being treated well.

Jess said...

See, that's the thing -- to give money for Pride and provide domestic partner benefits and all that and then turn around and give a donation to someone who is against ALL of that just fucks with my head.

I have trouble reconciling the socially responsible side of Target with their (indirect, I guess) support of Emmer on the corporate greed side.

And there's the whole jobs in our community thing and employing my friends things ... that's what life is all about, I suppose. All of these sticky situations ...

supertoyz said...

I really think companies should stay out of it all together. If the CEO or other big name within the company wants to give his/her hard earned cash to a politician as their own personal gift, whatever. But as a company where there is no possible way one view can be agreed upon I think it's wrong.

But I do thank you for supporting my Target family. And I don't mean the company family. Me, my wife and brother all work for the place. So keep up the shopping!

Jess said...

You're absolutely right. Just because the Supreme Court made it okay doesn't mean it really is okay. I mean, if you're alienating half (roughly, of course) of your shoppers, plus a good chunk of your employees, it's just a really poor idea.

And I think "socially responsible" isn't the term I wanted to use. "Progressive" fits better in this case.

Reuben said...

If you're inadequate... well, then I'm just a waste of space. I'm pretty sure I've never set foot in a co-op. I think I went to a farmers market once back in 2006.

Jess said...

Yeah, but you bike. So you've got that going for you.