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Friday, February 05, 2010

Target was selling globes without Israel for 'weeks'

On Sunday, I reported that Target had agreed to withdraw globes from its stores that replaced Israel with 'Palestine.' On Wednesday, the story was covered in the New York Post and has been picked up by several blogs and 'activists' (I cannot begin to tell you how many suggestions for posts I get from activists in a given day. Once you have a blog, everyone puts you on their mailing list).

There is apparently more to the story than I would have thought from what I posted on Sunday, so I am posting the New York Post's article about it. It turns out that the globes were not just in Target stores in the New York area, but all over the United States (every state other than Vermont where there are no Target stores). It also turns out that they were sold in Target stores for 'several weeks' and Target apparently ignored complaints from irate consumers. And as usual when this sort of thing happens, there is no one taking responsibility for the decision to purchase these globes, and therefore no one who will make sure that it doesn't happen again.
Bob Kunst learned of the globe's omission when a friend's 12-year-old daughter in Florida asked innocently, "Where's Israel?"

"The very people who deny Israel's existence also deny the Holocaust," he said.

After receiving complaints, Target, which sold the globes for several weeks, finally responded. On Sunday, it began yanking the globes from its 1,744 stores in 49 states (Vermont is Target-free), and destroying them. We hope.

"We didn't want to offend any of our guests," said Amy Reilly of Target customer relations, who initially said the omission of Israel was due to lack of space on the item. (Isn't "Palestine" a longer word?)

Devrian Global Industries of New Jersey, which imported "tens of thousands" of globes from China, apologized. "Obviously, it was a mistake. We obviously offended some people. Now we're pulling them off the shelves," said chief merchandising officer Larry Fine. No estimate on how many were sold.


The globes were made in China by the Ningbo Beilun Beixin Plastic and Hardware Co., and were inspected and approved by the American firm Bureau Veritas. Its officers wouldn't comment, citing "client confidentiality."

None of this explains why so many people missed the flaw. Or did someone willfully look the other way?

Devrian, meanwhile, wants to talk to the Chinese manufacturer, to make certain such a thing doesn't happen again. The company is having trouble doing so. With Chinese New Year approaching, officers said, no one is available to translate.

Israel will have to wait.
For several years now, Target has been a major stop on every trip I take to the US, typically running several hundred dollars each time. It won't be any more unless I'm really sure that something like this won't happen again. Was this deliberate, as Post reporter Andrea Peyser suggests? Target's reaction will tell.

If anyone sees the globes on the shelves, send me an email with all the details and I'll post it.


At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see anything deliberate and they withdrew the product plus apologized.

Maybe we should be thanking Target for the corrective measures?

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I withdrew my business from Target in 2006 after they sent two form letters, signed by two different people, to respond to this:

Robert Ulrich CEO
Target Corporation
1000 Nicolet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Dear Mr. Ulrich:

While searching for a birthday card for a family member at the Target store on N. Goldenrod Road in Winter Park, Florida I ran across at least four political birthday cards mocking President Bush in attempts at humor. When I didn’t find any such birthday cards mocking prominent Democrats it took on an implication beyond just bad taste. The one sidedness made the greeting cards seem even more disrespectful and derogatory, not to mention a not so subtle inference of a political statement. Could it be that all the political birthday cards that poked fun at prominent political figures from the other side were sold out? Possibly this was the case and Target is only guilty of an error in judgement.

A little good natured political humor covering both sides of the aisle is not what I object to. Crossing the line into disrespect, outright contempt and obvious bias contradicts the wonderful values and programs Target touts and promotes corporately, which as you know are numerous. One would expect to find such lack of respect in greeting cards at a car wash, truck stop or a chain novelty store actively cultivating clientele desiring irreverent and vulgar merchandise ... not at Target.

Target is to be admired and commended for rising to its responsibility to use its influence and resources in positive and constructive ways to the benefit of our schools, students and communities. This unwise choice of merchandise sabotages those efforts. By offering these type of greeting cards in your stores, Target is contributing to and encouraging the lack of respect for the office of the Presidency of the United States and every institution of authority below it, including the local police departments that Target relies upon to protect property and arrest vandals and shoplifters.
In essence, Target is undermining itself as well as the very schools, students and communities it seeks to assist and promote. Would it make any sense for Target to knowingly promote gang culture and values by stocking and promoting gang specific merchandise? A more drastic example to be sure, but illustrative of the tone and direction one would think Target would want to take special care to avoid, as well as the appearances thereof.

Perhaps your purchasing department should be reminded of, or reacquainted with, Target’s corporate values and programs, before the line of decency blurs any further. Target needs to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem in our already troubled world, if Target wishes to keep my business.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


cc: Store Manager
3770 N. Goldenrod Rd.
Winter Park, FL 32792

At 2:57 PM, Blogger Broomer said...

Put Target on a "death spiral watch list". Target is going to reassign thousand of workers from full time to part time to save money on health insurance. Many of the skilled workers will find jobs elsewhere. Target probably hired the same executives that worked at Circuit City, and look what happened. I got the info from The Consumerist blog.

At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a target credit card, I am for a fair buksdness and ethics, but Target hasnt done any of this , I am shredding my Target credt card also in retalliation of this bad error,

thank you


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