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7876Re: "Target" Bans Salvation Army

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  • Matt Hohmeister
    Dec 13, 2004
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      I wanted to post to this group about this; seems someone beat me to the punch. I'd like to
      start by saying that I am a proponent of property rights. I feel that you should have the
      right to do as you wish with your property, as long as it falls within your locality's
      reasonable restrictions on things like building height, safety features, and, for non-
      residential buildings, disability access.

      While this sounds like something from right-wing conservative heaven, think about
      municipalities that force property owners to provide parking, ban charging for parking,
      and other such regressive intrusions on property rights. I've even heard of roof pitch
      regulations--which, IMHO, make little sense--especially here in Florida, which doesn't
      exactly have snow problems.

      That having been said, a store's property should be theirs to allow and deny access as they
      wish. On the other hand, in a carfree city (or even a walking city like NYC), the store's
      property IS RIGHT AGAINST A PUBLIC SIDEWALK. Thus, someone who wants to collect
      donations or hand out pamphlets can stand on the sidewalk and get more action!

      The sad part here is that there seems to be a trend that Americans actually don't want this
      "real" public environment. We abandon downtown in favor of malls, which are free
      to trespass anyone not contributing to the mall's goal of making money. We WANT the city
      to tell property owners that they're required to provide free parking for customers. We
      WANT the city to intervene and tell our new neighbor that they can't build a house with a
      flat roof.

      I feel that Americans are becoming a very sad people, who are not willing to accept
      anything that's not "perfect" or otherwise seems tailored to them--and are losing any
      sense of civics or public areas. This reflects in many people who won't buy a house unless
      it was custom built for them.

      --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "emccaughrin" <emccaughrin@y...> wrote:
      >
      > [It seems to me that the Supreme Court ruled many years ago
      > that retailers could not ban groups like the Salvation Army
      > from its property??? In any case, here is another crazy example
      > of the how public spaces are no longer public.]
      >
      > 12-02) 14:01 PST TAMPA, Fla. (AP) --
      >
      > When Florida was reeling from one hurricane after another during the
      > summer, the Salvation Army was a welcome sight for thousands of
      > storm victims. But with the holidays here, the charity's bell-
      > ringers and red kettles have been barred from Target stores.
      >
      > Target decided earlier this year it could not permit Salvation Army
      > bell ringers at any of its stores because doing so would be unfair
      > to other charities wanting to solicit shoppers.
      >
      > Now some shoppers are fuming that the nation's second-largest
      > retailer would turn away a charity whose bell-ringers have long been
      > a symbol of the holiday season.
      >
      > "Target is this year's Ebenezer Scrooge," said Randy Sharp of the
      > American Family Association, a Christian group which sent an e-mail
      > this week to 2.3 million people urging them to shop elsewhere in
      > protest of Target's policy. "They are the Grinch that stole
      > Christmas for a lot of needy children."
      >
      > Carolyn Brookter, a spokeswoman for Target, said the chain always
      > had a "no solicitation" policy at its stores but made an exception
      > for the Salvation Army. But Brookter said more and more groups have
      > been asking for permission to collect money at Target, forcing the
      > company to re-examine its relationship with the Salvation Army.
      >
      > "The best way we thought to deal with this situation is to have a
      > consistent policy," she said. "It absolutely was a difficult
      > decision, it was not done lightly."
      >
      > The Minneapolis-based chain had been the Salvation Army's second-
      > most profitable collection point, accounting for nearly $9 million
      > of the $93.8 million bell ringers raised nationwide in the 2003
      > holiday season. Wal-Mart, whose stores are the Salvation Army's most
      > lucrative collection point, continues to allow the red-kettle
      > collections along with Kmart.
      >
      > The Salvation Army said Thursday it understands Target's position
      > and knew in January about the new policy.
      >
      > The retailer's decision is part of trend of shopping centers
      > deciding against allowing the bell ringers because of requests for
      > similar access by other groups, said Salvation Army spokeswoman
      > Theresa Whitfield.
      >
      > Other major retailers such as Toys "R" Us, Kohl's department stores
      > and Barnes & Noble also don't allow bell ringers because of blanket
      > no-solicitation policies.
      >
      > "Anytime we lose a red kettle location we are disappointed,"
      > Whitfield said. "That includes not just Target, but other retailers.
      > But it's also a privilege to raise funds, we don't lose sight of
      > that."
      >
      > Whitfield said that while the loss of Target is a concern, it likely
      > wouldn't hurt the bell ringers' bottom-line. Contributions in the
      > red kettles have been steadily increasing over recent years, and
      > Whitfield said the furor over Target is actually prompting shoppers
      > to be more generous when they do encounter a bell ringer, she said.
      >
      > Target also has tried to make it up to the Salvation Army by
      > offering to find other ways to help the charity, along with
      > contributions it already makes through an online shopping program
      > run by the charity.
      >
      > At a Super Target in Miramar, Fla., Marina Hardin said Target is her
      > favorite store, but she called a customer service number to protest
      > its decision. Her brother in Texas, whose family is awaiting the
      > birth of a child, have asked other family members not to buy gifts
      > from a Target registry.
      >
      > "I believe that the Salvation Army really helps people in need and
      > it's always been a part of Christmas," said Hardin, a 45-year-old
      > hotel worker.
      >
      > But another shopper, Paulo Ramirez, said he was glad to see the bell
      > ringers gone from the store.
      >
      > "It's very bothersome to see them out front of the store," said the
      > 65-year-old retiree. "It makes people feel that they have to give.
      > There are other ways of donating."
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