Target Stores Have Given the Boot to the Salvation Army-Truth! But There is an Update!


Summary of eRumor:


The eRumor calls for a boycott of Target stores because the Salvation Army will no longer be given permission to have holiday bell-ringers with kettles collecting contributions in front of Targets.

The Truth:


This story is true.

Target stores informed the Salvation Army that for the first time, the Salvation Army solicitors will not be allowed in front of Target stores during the 2004 holiday season.
Salvation Army bell ringers, the “Sharing is Caring” message, and the familiar red kettles for taking contributions have been a tradition in front of retail stores for a century.

In a news release, Target said the decision was to avoid showing favoritism in the face of solicitation or donation requests from a large number of organizations.
The Salvation Army says it’s a blow to them because Target locations produced $9 million in donations the previous year.

Update!  In late 2005 it was announced on the Salvation Army website that Target and the Salvation Army were partnering together on the “Target/Salvation Army Wish List” an online site to provide items for those affected by the hurricanes and other people in need.

The Boston Globe looked into the 2004 red kettle campaign and found that there is a bit of a schism between retailers.
Some of them, including Target and BestBuy, are banning the bell ringers both because of competing requests and because of customers who don’t like them.
But others, such as Wal-Mart, Big Lots, Autozone and Books-A-Million, are welcoming the Salvation Army and the civic-minded reputation they feel accompanies it.

The Salvation Army was founded in England by William Booth who felt a calling to serve the totality of those in need…spiritual, physical, and material.
The Salvation Army is an international relief ministry that provides personal help, housing, family services, and disaster services in numerous parts of the world.

The red kettle tradition for the Salvation Army got started in 1891 in San Francisco.
The local Salvation Army captain, Joseph McFee,  had promised himself to provide a free Christmas dinner for the poor.
To help pay for it, he hearkened to his memories as a sailor in England where there was what was called a “Simpson’s Pot” at a stage landing into which passersby tossed coins to support charitable causes.
He got permission to put a kettle at the Oakland ferry landing…and the tradition spread from there to around the world.

Updated 11/23/04

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:


Target has announced that they will not be allowing the Salvation Army
bell ringers outside of its stores this holiday season. In the past
Target has been the number 2 source of revenue for the Salvation Army,
behind Wal-Mart, bringing the charity $9 Million in donations during
the holiday season.

Target claims to have made this decision based on its long standing
company policy against allowing solicitation in front of the store.
Target says that not allowing other groups to collect while at the
same time having bell ringers in front of the store every year was
causing some issues with perceived unfairness. Target also claims that
since it allows in store donations to some charities that it is
fulfilling its duty toward charitable giving.

All people should boycott Target over this decision, but especially
political conservatives. We support lower taxes and one argument that
we rely on when making the case for tax cuts is that charitable giving
increases as the tax burden decreases, so private sources fill the
void left when the government has to cut programs due to decreased tax
income. For this argument to work then we need to support all
charitable programs and work to ensure that giving is as easy as
possible for as many people as may want to give.

When a company such as Target, one which purchases a great many of its
products from overseas and thus increasing the level of need in
America; it is unconscionable that they would attempt to limit
charitable donations that go to some extent to support the people in
this country who once worked in textiles but no longer have that
opportunity due to companies like Target passing up on American
suppliers. Further, it stands to reason that Target employees are
likely to be some of the recipients of assistance, based on the amount
that the multi-billion dollar corporation pays its employees. It is
Target’s option to decide where it sources its products and how much
it pays its employees, but Target should certainly not limit the
public’s ability to give to charities which help to offset the
shortfalls created by Target’s business model.

The suggestion that I offer is this: If you would typically spend $200
at Target this Christmas season, give that amount directly to the
Salvation Army instead. If you cannot afford to both redirect that
$200 and to still get gifts for everyone you intended to, then simply
redirect the money and explain what was done to whoever does not get a
gift. The meaning of the Christmas season is such that it is much more
important that we take care of our fellow man, especially if they are
on hard times, than that we support Target by purchasing gifts that
likely will not have lasting meaning for the recipient anyway. Target
is not known for selling heirloom quality gifts anyway, so if you make
a $200 donation to the Salvation Army in your gift recipient’s name,
then you have given them a greater gift than you could have purchased
at Target anyway.

You make your choice as to how you should address this, the most
important thing is not to spend a dime at Target until they realize
their mistake and correct it.