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A Tale of Two Retailers February 28, 2017

Posted by geoff in News.
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Walmart vs. Target. One of these retailers made a bold announcement back in April 2016, saying that it was going to allow anybody into any restroom, depending on how they felt on that particular occasion. It prompted a nationwide boycott, and 4 months later they said they’d spend $20 million constructing private bathrooms for the otherly-gendered.

Can you tell which one it was?

walmartvstarget

Now, it’s clear that Target has other problems, since its sales growth was already dropping by the time of their announcement (they have a weird fiscal year, so the announcement came at the end of 1Q16). But I think it’s also clear that their announcement didn’t do them any favors, sales-wise.

It’s interesting as well that Target’s online sales actually grew significantly, meaning that the sales in their brick-and-mortar stores are even lower.

I think Target executives truly thought that people would appreciate their progressive sentiments, boosting sales in the young-and-hipstery demographic. They completely forgot about the don’t-screw-around-with-my-lifelong-bathroom-paradigm segment.

In Western culture restroom visits are personal and private, so over time society has developed codes of conduct in the shared environs of the public restroom. For example, there was a raft of comedy routines a few decades ago about men’s rules for using urinals – funny, but funny because it was true.

Turning all of that upside down because you believe that people should be allowed to redefine their gender whenever the whim strikes them, is offending 99.7% of the population to accommodate a supposed injustice to 0.3% of the population.

Run those demographics through your sales projections, Target.

Comments»

1. geoff - February 28, 2017

Shorter version: I already hate public restrooms, so don’t screw with ’em.

2. OBF - February 28, 2017

Anyone do any studies on how many non-employees even use public restrooms at these places? I think I visited the head at a Costco one time in the last 5 to 6 years…somewhat of an emergency as I recall. Otherwise I can usually plan a little better than relying on a facility where I have no control on who has been there before me.

3. Mark in NJ - February 28, 2017

I find it hard to believe any dedicated American consumer would actually make a buying decision based on bathrooms (have you ever used a bathroom in a Walmart or Target? – I haven’t – that’s an emergencies-only option IMO)

Like most of these culture war type deals, I don’t think it’s about bathrooms or cakes or florists – it’s about a majority of people who find an unfamiliar lifestyle or orientation weird, uncomfortable, icky etc.

And they’re right — it is weird, uncomfortable, icky etc.

But for me the clarity came (as usual) when I actually met people in these circumstances. In my case it’s a family in my liberal NJ town, great folks (in fact, was talking to the dad a few wks ago at a super bowl party) whose son/daughter is one of these transgender identifiers.

There’s no “whim” involved. No one’s “choosing” something to express cool freak-flag weirdness or obtain special privileges. Their lives (all of them – the kid, parents, siblings) are made much more difficult and painful by the unasked-for circumstances they’ve found themselves in.

In fact, if there was a choice, they’d ALL choose “normal” in a second.

4. geoff - February 28, 2017

I find it hard to believe any dedicated American consumer would actually make a buying decision based on bathrooms (have you ever used a bathroom in a Walmart or Target? – I haven’t – that’s an emergencies-only option IMO)

I did. And yes, I have.

There’s no “whim” involved. No one’s “choosing” something to express cool freak-flag weirdness or obtain special privileges.

You have missed the point while lecturing from your oh-so-high horse. The question is not whether some people are legitimately transgender. The question is whether our system of accommodating them provides adequate consideration and protections for the rest of the population. Target’s policy certainly did not, allowing anyone to go anywhere at any time simply based on their claim that they “felt” that way.

This is typical – creating a strawman of bigotry and wasting a lot of words on its behalf. You’re not the only one who knows transgender people, nor the only one who cares about their welfare.

5. Mark in NJ - February 28, 2017

hmm- maybe it was your oh-so-low “whenever the whim strikes them” that got me on my horse.

You’re an intelligent, well-read, cosmopolitan person and I believe YOUR point is “whether our system of accommodating…” and adequate protection

But when i listen to, say, Hannity on 710AM in the afternoons, his listeners aren’t cutting it that fine.

6. lauraw - February 28, 2017

I think this overall has been a good discussion for America, because it will lead to fewer stall-style bathrooms (which are actually kind of a barbaric throwback, really) and more public shitters with walls that meet the ceiling and floor.

Booyah! Progress!

7. Mark in NJ - February 28, 2017

Laura we finally find common ground — the fake-privacy of the stall is an abomination. I used to go to Brussels regularly and the bathrooms there were true rooms and it was categorically better.

8. geoff - February 28, 2017

…and more public shitters with walls that meet the ceiling and floor.

Which, of course, have their own set of problems.

9. lauraw - February 28, 2017

Yeah…

10. retiredgeezer - March 1, 2017

…and more public shitters with walls that meet the ceiling and floor.

Which, of course, have their own set of problems.

Some people in Ideeho have wide stances.

11. OBF - March 1, 2017

Not sure if things have changed since the decades back when I used a public restroom in Europe (Italy). Then it was a hole in the floor. We called them bomb sights. Challenging for sure. But when in Rome…

12. retiredgeezer - March 1, 2017

(have you ever used a bathroom in a Walmart or Target? – I haven’t – that’s an emergencies-only option IMO)

I haven’t been in a Target in years but if I couldn’t use the bathroom in Wal*Mart, I would have to buy depends in bulk (Indian curry rated).


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