Target's cheesy employee training script (and Amazon fears) leaked to Gawker

Categories: Target
Flickr Creative Commons | kevin dooley
UPDATE: Just a year later, Target came under fire for its training materials yet again -- this time getting sued for its racist training documents.

Right now our local big box chain looks like this: Its reds are vivid, its sky is blue. The only shadow in sight comes from its own logo. But Target's corporate higher-ups are worried, apparently, that the rise of online retailing -- specifically, Amazon -- could turn their empire into this:

See also:
- Target is actually cheaper than Wal-Mart, according to Bloomberg study
- Target coupons inform father of daughter's pregnancy
- Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel is overpaid

Just another boarded-up concrete box with an empty parking lot.
Flickr Creative Commons | imprint777
(This isn't really the apocalypse/future, just an east coast store boarding up for Hurricane Irene last summer).
The solution? Make the IRL (er, in real life) shopping experience "AMAZING." No, really. According to internal materials leaked to Gawker, Target has branded its employee training program "Welcome to Amazing," complete with a script just as innovative as the title would suggest.

Here's a taste of the cheese, from just the first two lines: "Good morning everyone, and welcome to our kickoff event for 'Five Weeks of Amazing.' Amazing guest service, that is." Emphasis theirs.

The package continues with a similar level of enthusiasm, but it seems to be a thinly-veiled front for some serious anxiety over the never-named online giant. Like here: "Even better, service can give our guests a unique shopping experience, one that's nearly impossible for our competitors to copy." Wal-Mart could probably copy the standard customer service lines. But for Amazon, of course, face-to-face greetings and assistance are less effective.

The threat gets more explicit on the next page: "You've got to wonder. In a world where it's so easy for guests to shop online whenever and wherever they want, is service really enough to keep guests coming to our stores?"

Target's answer to that rhetorical -- "Sure it is" -- seems even more hollow than the rest of the script.

Changing retail landscape aside, the training package is packed with similarly stilted presentation, from lines like, "it all begins with something called the service vibe," to a series explaining the difference between "A moment" and "Amazing."

Which... those don't exactly seem to be mutually exclusive? Can't something be a moment and also be amazing? Example: "A moment is when we stop, smile, and ask 'Can I Help You Find Something?' Amazing is how the whole family feels when we sincerely offer help."

By the end of Gawker's excerpt, the speaker is cued to ask, "You ready to get started?" and then reminded: "Wait for the audience's 'Yeah!'"

We're sure that, by this stage in the training, that 'Yeah!' is amazing. Or everyone is sleeping.

Gawker's commenters point out that this kind of routine is a standard intro for low-level corporate employees, but it's still painful to see the act all typed out. As one of the commenters writes, "I don't know which is the more depressing job: The minimum wage employees who have to sit through this drivel, or the schlocky copywriter who thought she was gonna be a novelist."

Click over to page two for the full scans of the script, and judge for yourself.

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My Voice Nation Help

As a 5 year employee in their warehouse that worked with no benefits and sometimes just enough hours to keep me from getting unemployment  (10 hours per week) I was fired for hurting my arm at their softball tournament. After being told to go to the doctor and do what he said, the fired me upon punching in after being encouraged to return to work to just "try it" after being out for over a month.  They screwed me out of being vested in their stock by 2 weeks costing me $10,000 and called it being permanently layed  off as opposed to fired  They deny anything to do with telling you to go to the doctor. seeing it is illegal to fire people for being injured. Of course they are self insured having fleets of high priced attorneys ready to screw any low wage employee that dares to become injured and see a doc. Notorious  company,






Oscar Quella
Oscar Quella

Christ, that reminds me of when I managed a blockbuster. Remember blockbusters?

Dan Gleason
Dan Gleason

I currently work for Target (don't like it there at all) and this is so bullshit! Basically all this says is that no matter what the customer says, we have to do what ever humanly possible to make that customer happy, even if it means doing something that we shouldn't do. It's total BS!

Ryan Schmidt
Ryan Schmidt

at least they stopped the anti-union training video.. and you know if Target wants employees to help customers they need to worry more helping them then zoning.

Yankee Doodle Pablo
Yankee Doodle Pablo

When I worked for Target 20 years ago, I got employee of the month 8 out of 12 months one year. (decided by a popular vote of my co-workers) After that, they let the managers pick the winner. I was just too damn amazing for my own good.

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