How Target brainwashes its employees, part two: Training videos

TargetSexualHarass.JPG
Target training video
Target wants you to know that reminding Bill he "liked it" before he was married is sexual harassment.
As we learned yesterday, Target's business plan to beat Amazon centers on "AMAZING" customer service, helpfully outlined in a cheesy, childish "Welcome to Amazing" training script.

Today, you can dive even deeper into our hometown corporate giant's brainwashing methods: with video. In a series of training clips leaked to Gawker, Target teaches its employees about "culturally relevant messages" for "ethnic customers," how to lock their cars in a parking lot, what sexual harassment is, and how to say "Can I help you find something?" at all times, even without saying it.

The first two are weird. But the second two are funnier.

What is sexual harassment to Target? Well, Bill walks by Beth's office door. Her eyes follow him longingly. Then she turns to the keyboard. "Good morning, good looking!" she writes in an email."You are looking very good today. Those pants are quite something. I'm thinking if they were a little smaller it would show off your great buns much better. Thinking of you... all the time. Beth."

Bill shakes his head and writes back angrily, "I don't like that you're checking me out." But Beth persists. "Oh Bill, you liked it before you were married. Since when did you become such a prude? I'm just appreciating a good ass-et when I see one. Wink-wink. Beth."

This rings as even more forced than the standard sexual harassment awareness scenario. Maybe the writer was the same person in charge of the "Welcome to Amazing" script?

About that script: The main training video reinforces some of its "Amazing" customer service ideas. But here, we learn even more about the art of Helping You Find Something. As one employee describes it, the question marks a whole new culture.

40 seconds into the video, you see how much choice Target employees have with this directive. First there's a montage of Target employees of all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, repeating the mantra, "Hi! Can I help you find something?" Then, we return to the young white guy who's our customer service guide, to learn about the options in the script.

"Now," he begins, "you might start with, 'Hi,' or 'Hello,' or even, 'Good afternoon.'" An overwhelming bounty of greetings. "But as long as it ends with, 'Can I help you find something?'"

To their credit, Target realizes that not all "guests" are aimless, clueless, new to the store, or looking to small talk. So the next scene in the video demonstrates how an employee (or "team member") can communicate "Can I help you find something?" with just a smile, a wave, and some eye contact, while never breaking his flow arranging bananas.



To view the other three clips -- the first on how "Target reviews shopping patterns to ensure we're providing the merchandise our ethnic guests want," the second on how employees should use a buddy system in store parking lots, and the third, the full Bill-and-Beth "ass-ets" email exchange (the dialogue alone can't capture her lustful looks), head on over to Gawker.

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15 comments
Lori Lynn Christiansen
Lori Lynn Christiansen

I think all of this is just normal training for a customer service based company. Sorry, not brain washing, just reminding people how to treat a customer.

Branden Strot
Branden Strot

just keep saying it back to them. that would be amazingly hilarious. .

paigetastic
paigetastic

This is too funny....I get annoyed when people come and ask me if I need help finding something.....it's not IKEA.....I can manage to find the dish soap and diapers on my own.......

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

Retail customer service is a dreadful line of work, which is one of the reasons it's so hard to find decent service that isn't smothering or obnoxious.  It's not a natural or easy thing for people to do.  As for sexual harassment training, it always sounds dopey.  I've seen some real, on the job sexual harassment, and I couldn't repeat the words used without smirking, because it sounds so dopey, but the reality for the victim was intimidating and frightening in the extreme.  Context is everything.  The thing that's really concerning is that in 2012, a major employer finds it needs to tell people that sexual harassment is wrong, and they need to provide detailed, specific examples so people can tell what is and is not wrong.  That's not Target's fault.

 

And yes, their training videos are cringe-inducing.  I've seen a goodly number of them.

Ray Anderson
Ray Anderson

I'd rather shop online any day then walk into Target. 3 things Target can't compete with. 1. better prices 2.no parking lots. 3. the hassle

Heckadecimal
Heckadecimal

@citypages Is that so strange? I worked at a co-op for 9 years and we had all that and more. HR is big business.

srsly
srsly

Large corporations have cheesy training videos. This is news?

Jeff Evenmo
Jeff Evenmo

I hate when people ask me questions while I shop. The only time I want an employee to come up to me is if I am standing in front of a locked case that I can reach into myself.

Kevin Richards
Kevin Richards

Yes Where Can I find the Cute Guys What Isle Are they in Today ?

lodgefather
lodgefather

@citypages When I was there they had us watch anti-union videos. Those videos depicted union reps as evil people.

Lisa Cooney Weimar
Lisa Cooney Weimar

slow news day, huh City Pages? This is not news, and no one cares.

lee_osp
lee_osp

@lodgefather that's crazy. Like McCarthy era propaganda crazy.

lodgefather
lodgefather

@lee_osp Best part of the video was how sad the manager was when he couldn't help the employee lift the bag of dog food bc of the union.

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