Yesterday afternoon, I had to run some errands with the family. For me, that means packing six of the seven children (all those not currently away at college) into our ginormous van and hitting the road. Lots of buckling seatbelts, complaining about headaches, and various and sundry forms of bickering later, we were on our way.
And then Jude, awesome little guy that he is, pipes up to reiterate a complaint I had glossed over earlier:
“My pants are really wet.”
“Why are they wet?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Because Sophie gave them to me that way.”
“Why are they wet, Sophie? Where did you get them?” I ask, making a right turn with all the finesse of a beached aircraft carrier.
“From the washer.” She said, matter-of-factly. Not the dryer. Oh no. The washer. Which was why they were still wet.
I didn’t have time to drive back home, so before long, I was pulling into a big shopping center parking lot so I could get the boy some dry pants. As I pulled up in front of Target, I wheeled around, finally locating a space big enough to accommodate the Catholic Assault Wagon. I threw it in park…and then it hit me.
Target? You’re going to go into Target? The same Target that just created an open season policy on your wife and three daughters by announcing that men are welcome to use their restrooms?
You have to understand how much I hate boycotts. I’ve never believed they work. They mostly just inconvenience me. I’m there to buy what they’re selling, not their philosophy of life.
But this is different. You may be aware of the story, but have you read what Target actually announced on April 19?
We believe that everyone—every team member, every guest, and every community—deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally. Consistent with this belief, Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination.
In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.
We regularly assess issues and consider many factors such as impact to our business, guests and team members. Given the specific questions these legislative proposals raised about how we manage our fitting rooms and restrooms, we felt it was important to state our position.
Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.
This isn’t just a little disagreement with a dumb company policy. This isn’t even about corporate donations going to an immoral organization, or the offensive comments of an activist CEO. Let’s face it — most big companies support immoral causes with their money, and many have executives on the far left of the political spectrum.
But this goes much further.
This is a policy that actually endangers the young girls and women in my life whom I hold most dear. Whom it is my job as a husband and father to protect.
It is a policy that puts them in harm’s way by allowing any pervert who wants to announce that he identifies as a female to saunter into the ladies’ room for a free peepshow — and who knows what else — and there’s little I can do to protect them other than following them in myself, which turns me into an invader.
This isn’t about gender identity or fairness or equality or decency or any of it. This is about reckless, stupid, dangerous political correctness. And I will not support it with my hard-earned money. As I sat there looking at the store I had entered so many times, I felt a sudden revulsion. I couldn’t justify going in, even though I was pressed for time, even so I could help the poor kid who just needed some dry pants. I picked up my phone and texted my wife, whom I was planning to meet after picking up groceries:
Now, I have no idea if Ross is a company with stupid policies of their own. Maybe they are. But I know that Target is. Target, where my wife and I have spent untold thousands of dollars over the years we’ve had this big family. Money spent on clothes, shoes, bedding, towels, dishes, storage containers, small appliances, toys, games, art supplies, diapers, groceries, soap, shampoo, medicine…even scented flipping candles. We have shopped at Target so many more times than I can possibly count. So many that I can tell you off the top of my head that Archer Farms is their in-store food brand and Mossimo, once a clothing label in its own right, became a Target exclusive years ago. These are things guys shouldn’t even know, but I do. Because Target has been our go-to department store for as long as I can remember.
But not anymore.
Yesterday, I kept driving. Yesterday, I pulled into a Ross instead, and I paid $14 for a pair of tiny designer Nautica jeans because they were the ONLY pair of size 4T pants in that entire, mixed up, dingy store. I guarantee I would have paid less at Target. I know I wouldn’t have had to search through a thousand racks of little girl clothes in the hopes of finding the one pair of pants they had for my boy.
But you know what? It was worth it. And it will be again. And again. It’s worth it not just to me, but to countless American families like mine who actually spend a lot of their money at Target for the simple reason that they provide decent quality goods at relatively affordable prices in a store that is clean and inviting.
When I told my wife “I want them to hurt financially,” I meant it. I know that on my own, I’m not enough to make a dent in their bottom line, even if a big chunk of my bottom line won’t be going to Target anymore. Still, I bet that if you add my spending to that of a million other Americans and their families, that might get some attention. Because this isn’t just the occasional cup of coffee you don’t buy at Starbucks because they support gay “marriage” or that thing you no longer purchase once in a blue moon from Company X with some other policy you can’t stand. Nope. Those kinds of things are far easier to pass up, and the loss of your spending there is probably mostly unnoticeable.
But I’d guess that on the low end, I spend $1,000 per year at Target. It might even be double that on a year when the kids need new clothes, shoes, backpacks, etc. So let’s say my family is pretty normal, and other families spend — on average — $1,000 – $2,000 a year at Target stores. How about we split the difference at $1,500?
According to the petition I linked above, 1,004,616 people have signed the American Family Association boycott pledge. So let’s multiply that by $1,500. That’s…$1,506,924,000.
I think a billion and a half dollars in lost revenue might send a message, don’t you?
Trust me, the last thing I want to do is add one more inconvenience to my already hectic life. To be forced to go shop somewhere I don’t even like when it means passing over a place that I do.
But this is too much. They’ve pushed things too far. And they’ve done it for 0.3% of the population – fewer people than have already signed the boycott petition. Even with marriage falling apart, the number of Americans who are married is over 40%. And again, even with a steep drop-off, the number of women between the ages of 15 and 44 who have had children is over 50%. So is the number of women in America, period. And every one of those three categories is threatened by this decision.
What about all of them? If Target is so intent on the idea that “everyone deserves to feel like they belong”, if they want us to know that we’ll “always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target”, then why don’t they accept and respect those of us who don’t want men in the women’s restrooms or fitting rooms?
Target has made it clear that they don’t want any more of my money. Please help them in their mission to slash profits by not giving them any more of yours, either.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.