When Target, Inc. attempted to spread good will in the San Francisco Bay area—a market it was entering—the department store chain encountered resentment of its efforts to refurbish a public school library—from the librarian.
“I want my son to come home from school telling me what he has learned about whales or poems or the water cycle, not about Target’s mascot Bullseye or where we should shop,” school librarian Rachel Cloues writes in the summer issue of the magazine Rethinking Schools. While many parents might sympathize with this sentiment, it should be noted that it comes only at the end of her article.
The bulk of her piece reflects the type of animosity one might expect when elites encounter more down-to-earth Americans. “On the second day of school that fall, as the Target School Library Makeover began, two famous NASCAR drivers arrived at my school with their Target-sponsored race car, fully covered in red and white bulls-eyes,” Cloues recalled. “A ‘reading assembly’ was held for the entire school on the play yard (a customized kickoff event is one of the options HOA [Heart of America Foundation, which cosponsored the remodeling] offers its corporate partners as part of the makeover program).”
“The NASCAR celebrities read a picture book to the students and then posed for pictures with each class in front of the race car.” If the NASCAR experience took Cloues aback, a much greater culture shock was yet to come—Bullseye.
“The nadir for me came the day of the opening ceremony, when someone arrived dressed up as the Target mascot—a white bull terrier named Bullseye—and sat for the duration of the Target-focused program in my (the teacher-librarian’s) new chair.”