Thursday, November 18, 2004


There's a Salvation Army/Target controversy brewing in the blogosphere. Flames are being fanned by much of the Northern Alliance and gasoline was recently added to the mix by Hugh Hewitt who is bribing bloggers who weigh in on the subject with a HughLink (not quite an Instalanche but impressive nonetheless) and e-mail protesters with a promise to read their missives on his radio show.

In a nutshell: Target announced a few months ago that it will be enforcing its solicitation ban against the Salvation Army this season. Response: Grinch! Scrooge!

But not Northern Alliance Target-lover James Lileks:
It never stops, in other words. There’s always something to tick you off; the tentacles of business and the non-profits are intimately intertwined. Pick any big shop and you'll find they fund something you like, and something you don't. That said: if I find that Target kicked out the Salvation Army for religious reasons, I’ll be peeved. Doesn’t mean I won’t buy my soap there. But it would chip away at that ephemeral thing called good will, the stuff companies often spend too fast without heed. I love Target, but I’d leave it in a second if someone did it better. So far no one within five miles of my house does it better. I'll be willing to go six if they do it really, really better, and they're near a mall and grocery store and all the other nodes I hit three times a week in my 90-minute chore window.

End result? I wrote out a check to the Salvation Army tonight. Figured out what I put in the kettles, and doubled it. They’re happy; Target’s happy; I don’t have to drive 20 miles to find a frickin’ Wal-Mart.

The Salvation Army red kettle brigade is a Christmas tradition in my book and I'm always sorry to see the chipping away of traditions. However Lileks' approach appeals to me as someone who just last night persuaded a friend not to invest in one of those "ethical" mutual funds. Invest where you're most likely to make money, I counseled. Then send a check off to the charity of your choosing.

Target regularly tops Forbes' list of America's most philanthropic companies. Put your money where your mouth is. Donate to the Salvation Army here.

UPDATE: Frater Elder has a heart of unwashed socks. King recommends Walmart (seems you can pick up both cleaning supplies and chicks there--at least in Germany).


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