I have always been a big fan of Target, or Tar-jay as it is commonly pronounced. The gleaming aisles, the clean displays, the Isaac Mizrahi line I can afford. But lately the taste I have for the department store has soured.
Target is a big company and many of their loss prevention executives are big names in the industry. Take Brad Brekke, for example. He testified before Congress to push legislators to develop tougher penalties for online auction sites that sell fenced goods and those criminals that call organized retail crime their profession. What a great supporter to the industry.
That is why Target's unwillingness to work with our editorial staff here infuriates me so much. Whether we are working on a story about Target's Safe City program or if I am looking for a comment on a LP issue that has been covered in the mainstream press, the communications department always informs me that Target does not speak to the business-to-business, or trade, press. They say it is not their core market.
So imagine my surprise when I opened up the latest issue of Loss Prevention Magazine to see an article that outlines all Target has done to reduce return fraud at its stores. Eagerly, I contacted the author of the article (who, of course, happened to be a member of their communications department) and asked her if the "no trade press" policy had changed.
I got an e-mail from her this afternoon and she informed me that the company "still (has) a no-trade publication policy in place and the article that was produced for Loss Prevention Magazine was a rare occurrence."
(To clarify, I mean absolutely no disservice to Loss Prevention Magazine here. It is one of my favorite LP focused publications and they obviously succeeded where I failed.)
I think Target is missing the boat here. So many of their executives in security and loss prevention are doing fantastic things and some I have spoke with want to talk about their initiatives, but can't. Or they can only talk to a select group of media.
Robert Brown, system architect with Target, was set to serve as the closing speaker for our TechSec Solutions event last year and one week before the conference, the company informed us that he was not allowed to present. How great would it have been for our attendees to hear how Target had used IP technology to network security at its hundreds of stores?
So from now on, Target is a distant shopping memory for me (we did have some fun, didn't we?) And that's too bad because I had a lot of money to spend this holiday season.