Target vs. Dillard’s

By | July 2, 2008

Several years ago, a Target store opened near us in Watertown, Massachusetts.  Having grown up in Minneapolis, I had fond memories of Target and hoped that this meant we would finally have a tolerable department store near us.

To say that I’ve been disappointed by our local Target would be a monumental understatement.

  • The store is crowded, with not enough room to pass between many of the racks, crowded aisles with innumerable pillars blocking the way, and boxes of unshelved inventory, pallet movers and various other large objects blocking movement all over the store.
  • The selection of merchandise is abysmal.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gone to our local Target to buy something seemingly common and straightforward, only to discover that they don’t have it.
  • The “team members,” as they call them, are consistently unknowledgeable and unhelpful.

Nevertheless, I clung to my fond memories of Target, choosing to believe that surely the Target stores in the Midwest would live up to my childhood memories.  Alas, I was in for a rude awakening.

On a recent trip to Cleveland to visit the in-laws, I found myself in need of some clothes and other miscellaneous items, so I decided to take a trip to the local Target to see if it would live up to my memories.  Here’s what happened:

  • Shoes for my eight-year-old daughter?  Nope.  The shoes in the shoe department were organized neither by style nor by size, thus making it necessary to look at every single pair of shoes on every single shelf ot find out if any of them would do the job.  This we did, wasting a considerable amount of time doing it, and we found not a single pair of shoes worth considering.
  • Solid-colored T-shirts for my four-year-old daughter?  Nope, not a single one in the entire store.
  • Levi’s Jeans for me with a 34-inch waste and a 30-inch inseam?  Nope, not a single pair in the entire store.
  • Infant feeding spoons?  Nope, not a one in sight.

There were other items I needed, but at this point I threw up my hands and went home.  By the way, not a single “team member” approached me to ask if they could help while I was searching for these items.

That evening, I visited the local Dillard’s.  Incidentally, Dillard’s has 326 stores and a market cap of $782 million.  Target, on the other hand, has 1,613 stores and a market cap of $36 billion.

Now, I confess that I didn’t look for the shoes or the spoons at Dillard’s.  But they had a great selection of Jeans, including the ones I wanted, a great selection of 4T clothes, including the shirts that I wanted, and all of the other items I needed, all at reasonable prices.  The place was swarming with salespeople, and the several that I dealt with were all friendly, helpful and competent.

I wish I could say that I’m never going to Target again, but the reality is that it’s all there is near us.  That sucks, just like Target sucks.  What I will be doing is canceling our Target Visa card and mailing them the cut-up cards along with a copy of this blog entry.

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