The Charger Account

No To Target

Photo credit: Tamar Cohen

By Tamar Cohen, Staff Writer

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It is nothing personal–it’s societal. Our obsession with having everything we need (or want), all in one place, is exemplified by corporate giants like Target. But we lose something valuable when we are able to find everything in one sterile, standardized department store. We lose the interaction and community bonding of local shops and markets.

There are hundreds of small businesses in Santa Barbara and Goleta. So many, in fact, that our resident big chains, such as Kmart and Sears, typically take a backseat for most of our town’s residents. Therefore, it seems odd to me that so many people are so adamant about our town’s need for a Target.

“But Tami, Target has everything! Even groceries!”

Yes, but a Goleta resident can also get groceries at the farmer’s market across the street from Kmart every Sunday, where at least 24 farms set up booths year-round.

What’s more, right next to the stands full of produce is a line of locally-owned bakeries, restaurants, and retail shops. Goleta residents love these local businesses, but the convenience of corporate department stores like Target threatens community support.

Furthermore, the Goleta I know takes pride in caring about the environment. Large corporations are not environmentally sound for a lot of reasons, chiefly due to the amount of transportation needed to get the same products to stores around the country.

Local businesses, meanwhile, are more likely to use seasonal, organic, locally-sourced produce for food, according to Sustainable Connections, a community-based environmental education organization. Small businesses are also more likely to feature local designers and artists whereas corporate giants often outsource manufacturing to developing countries (Target corporate claims to source responsibly, but clearly states that their products are manufactured all over the world for mass transport).

“But Tami, nationwide department stores let us buy the same products as everyone…everywhere!”

Yes, but why do we need to? Local products make our town unique and interesting, both qualities which we love.

Besides, we already have one corporate department store in town. I concede to arguments that Kmart is lower quality than Target, but I don’t think that we truly need either–certainly not both. Goleta and Santa Barbara are both small towns; there’s never too far to go to get to a store that sells a different product.

I have nothing personal against anyone who shops at Target. Nothing personal, only corporate.

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