Sunday, January 25, 2009

Businesses Should Stick to Business

I walked into Office Max today which was right next to the now bankrupt Circuit City, and when I walked in I immediately noticed that it was like one of those independent gas stations that are purchased by foreign immigrants who do not have the training in maximizing their space for inventory and thus the isles are sparse, spread apart, inefficiently organized and more or less being underutilized.

It led me to believe like it's neighbor Office Max may be going through a bit of a difficult time during this recession and may not be too far behind in terms of bankruptcy. But as I was at the check out lane, I noticed something that was about to become as irrelevant as global warming;

Office Max's "community responsibility statement."

It was some gobbledygook about serving the community and working with non-profit charitable partners to blah blah blah and it reminded me of a rule I learned from one of the few experienced professors I had in college;

"Business should stick to business."

Understand that as an economic entity, like labor, like government, businesses have a purpose. Their purpose is to make a provide a service or good to the population at the cheapest price possible, all the while attempting to make a profit. Their purpose, despite the brainwashing 20 something business majors are told, is not to be everything to every one. It's not to be a charity. It's not to be a non-profit. It's not to be a savior. It's not to be a vehicle used for employment. It is to be an entity that makes it possible for humans to consume the services and products they need necessary for the sustainability and enhancement of their lives. It's based more or less on the simple economic concept of the division of labor. And now that Office Max has been mismanaged or perhaps tried to deviate from its sole purpose of being a business, this branch not only looks like it will be shut down, but will also now be unable to continue its "community service."

Sadly, and to the dismay of leftists who don't understand basic economics, the shutting down of this branch will have more costs than just the loss of charitable contributions to the "community." The closing of the branch now has resulted in the loss of jobs and now has given me and customers in the area and added inconvenience of having to drive further to find the same products.

Another company does this and even prides itself on the "community service" it does and that is Target. Target donates (I recall) 3% of its pretax profits to whatever charities, schools and other community causes in the local community its at

I stopped shopping at Target because I know they do this as a marketing ploy, tugging at the heart strings naive people who want to think they are doing "something for the community" while shopping at Target.

The sad truth is that as this recession clamps down and pressures margins, Target is going to have to rethink this faux-altruistic marketing ploy. Wal-Mart is not even immune to the effects of this economy and given people are going to have to cut back on spending, Target will have to make its goods and services cheap as possible, not only to remain competitive, but to survive.

Of course this will come at hoots and hollers as people who were loyal to Target because of this charity will complain they are no longer helping the community, but one should ask themselves whether Target serves the community more by all the jobs it provides and the products it sells and being a BUSINESS or by being a cute little faux charity.


Ian said...

"pre-tax profits"

So Target donates 3%, then deducts this from taxable income? In other words, diverts tax money from the will of the majority to the tyranny of the minority?

Their other 'feelgood' anti Christmas crap crossed them off my list years ago.

Anonymous said...

Great piece, Captain.

I believe starting and operating a business, providing goods and services to customers, and jobs to employees is one of the highest callings a person have.

ngthagg said...

Mark Perry just posted something about Target, making the same point:

Target: Why Not Just Lower Prices or Raise Wages?

Anonymous said...

By coincidence,I received this via email today.
I should surprise here!

Dick Forrey of the Vietnam Veterans Associa tion wrote :
"Recently we asked the local TARGET store to be a proud sponsor of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall during our
spring recognition event.

We received the following reply from the local TARGET management:
" Veterans do not meet our area of giving. We only donate to the arts, social action groups, gay & lesbian causes, and education."

So I'm thinking, if the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and veterans in general, do not meet their donation criteria, then something is really wrong at this TARGET store. We were not asking for thousands of dollars, not even hundreds, just a small sponsorship for a memorial remembrance.

As a follow-up, I E-mailed the TARGET U.S. Corporate Headquarters and their response was the same.
That's their national policy.

Then I looked into the company further.
They will not allow the Marines to collect for 'Toys for Tots' at any of their stores. And during the recent Iraq deployment, they would not allow families of employees who were called up for active duty to continue their insurance coverage while they were on military service. Then as I dig further ;
TARGET is a French-owned corporation.

Now, I'm thinking again. If TARGET cannot support American Veterans, then why should my family and I support their stores by spending our hard earned American dollars! And, have their profits sent to France without the American Vets, where would France be today?

"They, most likely would be speaking German and trading in Deutsch Marks"
Dick Forrey
Veterans Helping Veterans

Hot Sam said...

This is what happens when MBA programs become infected with the leftist notion of "Corporate Social Responsibility."

Take a look at the crap B school students are learning. One look at the woman who runs the program is enough to know who she voted for and what her position is on every issue from abortion to zero-emission vehicles.

Anonymous said...

Here is Target's Community page:

Among their education programs, they donate to the VFW Scholarship Fund. Under their diversity program, they support the UNCF, Black and Hispanic MBA programs, but I don't see anything at all on GLBT. I'm not disputing the letter the gentleman received, but there's no mention of GLBT at all, unless someone sees something I don't.

They specifically state that they do not give money for ANY memorials.

I'm not defending their policies and I agree 100% with the Captain. But Target answers to its stockholders. We're certainly entitled to our opinion on what they do with their money, but it's their money to do as they please, don't you think?

If we don't wish to shop there, that's our business. I challenge you though to find a company that doesn't engage in this nonsense. Political pandering to leftists is all part of the business plan.

Andrew L said...

Holy crap! You mean in this day and age, in the year 2009, after the internet has been in public use for well over a decade, there are still people out there who believe every piece of garbage that winds up in their email inbox? Flash, have you ever heard of snopes? You should really check it out. Especially, for instance, this article.