Ever since Target announced they were going to enter the Canadian marketplace, Canadians have been worried that it would be a different, diluted experience. We’ve come to expect this when our favourite stores come here from the United States. The product mix is different, the prices are higher and overall most brands just aren’t as good.
The PR machine at Target has been working overtime reassuring Canadians they will get the best experience possible, at the same time setting up the expectation that it won’t be identical. As always, Canadians are complaining about every little aspect of Target before they even experience the place.
They opened three test stores in Ontario a few weeks ago, and all across the web people bitching and complaining about higher prices and out of stock products. The social media team is AMAZING at responding to this ridiculous feedback and I give them super kudos. Here are a few of the questions they keep having to respond to, with the answers I wish they would post:
When are you opening the XXXX store? Store openings will be listed on the website when we have details, like we’ve said on the past 1000 identical questions.
Will XXXX product be available? We can’t tell you exactly what products we have in store because it’s different for each location and honestly a waste of our time. Plus if we told you we had something and it was god forbid out of stock you would bitch and complain even more. Visit the store when we open and explore the aisles to find out what we have.
“How do I get a job there?” We’ve already answered this question 5000 times, and to be honest it’s a little late in the game considering we’ve been hiring for months now. And really, if you don’t know how to find the resources to apply via our website, you’re ignorant and lazy and we don’t want you to work here because we don’t have time for that. Go to McDonald’s.
“Why did you fire all the Zellers staff when you bought them?” First of all, we didn’t fire anyone. We did not buy Zellers, we bought the leases to their stores. Zellers employees got the same chance to apply for positions like everyone else. The fact is the employees of Zellers were lazy and useless and we didn’t need that baggage on our team. We wanted fresh, motivated people who were open to learning how to provide an excellent customer service experience.
“Why aren’t you opening a store in XXXX?” We’re a little busy opening over 122 stores, so we apologize for not opening one in your backyard. Once we establish ourselves, we’ll reassess where we should open new stores. Also, we aren’t opening a store in your town of 15 people because that’s just ridiculous. Zellers tried that and look where they are today (ha ha!). Take the 20 minute drive to our store, it’s worth it. We have Starbucks!
“The lines were too long and the store shelves were empty.” We haven’t even had the damn grand opening yet people! We soft-opened a few stores to work out the kinks. The lines were long because everyone is excited we are here, and it was blasted across the media like the second coming of Christ. Sorry we were busy, how about we start charging cover and making people wait outside in the cold. Does that work?
Let’s get this straight: Target will be a bit different from the US stores. That’s the reality of any company in Canada.The prices will be higher. Deal with it. That’s a fact of life here, and has been covered to death. Many of the people complaining are from Ontario (big surprise). Lucky for you, you can drive to the American Target just across the border if you want the original. Grab some Olive Garden, cheap beer and call it a day.
Secondly, of course they ran out of stock. There are unrealistically high expectations and everyone and their family rushed there the moment they heard about the soft open. Once normal operation begins, I’m sure they will have all your Archer Farms and Mossimo in stock. Calm down!
Anyway, Target is an awesome addition to the retail landscape in Canada. Not only are they creating thousands of jobs but they will invigorate and drive traffic for all retailers in their circumference. They are providing competition to existing retailers ( Canadian Tire, Walmart ect.) to deliver better pricing, selection and retail experiences. These stores have been shaking in their boots because they know Target has such a strong brand.
It makes me laugh that people are complaining that Target isn’t Canadian, and you should shop elsewhere. I challenge you to go into Canadian Tire or any other “Canadian” retailer and find anything made in North America. It doesn’t matter the retailer, it all comes from the same place: China.
So fellow Canadians, embrace this change with open arms. If you don’t want to shop there, don’t. If you don’t like the prices, go somewhere else. But let the damn place fully open first before berating them! As for me, I’d just like to say to Target : “Welcome, I’d love to be your neighbour.”