Readers Write: (May 16): Target, Veterans Affairs, parklets

  • Updated: May 15, 2014 - 7:02 PM

Better service ahead? Or was this just a momentary lapse of corporate obduracy?


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Here are a few more painful corporate truths

Thanks for the May 15 front-page article “Target criticism prompts exec to post: ‘Truth hurts.’ ”

As a recent Target “guest,” I could not find what I wanted to purchase: an address book for my 81-year-old father-in law.

The conscientious floor clerk said, “Everything has gone digital now.”

I asked, “May I request you order an address book for me?”

He replied, “I’m sorry, Corporate makes all decisions about what we stock in our stores. You need to go to Guest Services and fill out a request form if you want an address book. If Corporate approves your request, we might stock what you want.”

I wonder whatever happened to old-fashioned storekeeping — when a store manager had the authority to respond to a customer’s needs.

Perhaps Target’s corporate headquarters might consider an “innovative idea” for its next multimillion-dollar CEO: Give store managers authority to give “guests” what they request.

Paul Johnson, Columbia Heights

• • •

The predictable fawning over the LinkedIn posting by Jeff Jones responding to an alleged anonymous Gawker rant would be laughable if it weren’t so serious. The usual slick, content-free “communication” we have come to expect from Target and other companies in the grip of PR experts is emblematic of the deeply rooted denial in the face of realities so common in the corporate workplace. Having witnessed many similar encounters during my time in the corporate bubble, I predict that Mr. Jones will soon be working as a “consultant” and that hopeful spectators will be left wondering what happened.

A new CEO may well bring a more open and aggressive style to leadership, but he (not she) will be up against interlocking institutional impassivity where passive noncompliance rules the roost. The company is actually filled with the type of personality described in the Gawker post, and unless new leadership is prepared to conduct mass layoffs, these empty-headed cheerleaders will remain, optimistically driving the creative, hardworking innovators out of their minds. Infallible leadership is a prerequisite for effective top-down control, so investors have a lot riding on the search committee. As stated in the Target tagline, we “expect more” but paradoxically we also want to “pay less.” Go figure.

George Hutchinson, Minneapolis



My experiences have been really quite good

As a Vietnam vet, I find the Minneapolis VA to be as professional, caring, thorough and punctual as I could hope for. That good. I have friends more familiar with the VA than I am who also appreciate the great quality.

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