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.

Most private medical groups don’t match the VA’s quality and service, in my experience. Where else are you pleasantly greeted and escorted to your appointment (should you need or request) by volunteers who are eager to help?

As for the May 15 editorial cartoon, the 20 or so appointments I’ve had over the past five years only once or twice have run late, and never more than 15 minutes, with efficient communication, explanation and apology. Up-to-date records and notes are all together there, with very few informational gaps. No need to duplicate tests or scans. All doctors in fields of specialty medicine know my overall history up to the present moment. Two doctors of different experience levels attend to my presence with every appointment. They discuss the situation with me and come to an agreed plan of action.

Hugh Newman, St. Louis Park



Plenty of parks here; let streets be streets

Summer sproutups sound cute as all get-out (“3 portable parks set for Minneapolis,” May 14). A park at 36th Street and Bryant Avenue S.? Yeah, we need a park in the midst of 36th Street and Bryant like we need more potholes. In the street? Really? How do the folks at Our Kitchen feel about this? A couple fewer spots for their customers. Two blocks to the south, Lyndale Farmstead Park; two blocks to the north, Painter Park. Wow, not really a dearth of parks in the ’hood over here. Not to mention the cost of what, $25,000? Can we not find better ways to use our resources and not inconvenience the people in the neighborhood?

Kris Froemming, Minneapolis