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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