Target Fired Employees for Buying Pink Stanley Cups. You Should Follow Their Example

During the Cabbage Patch Craze of 1983, I wanted one for Christmas, as did every other little girl. I did not get one, but my cousin “Geraldine” did because her mom was a department store manager. (Even though the statute of limitations on policy-violating toy purchases from 1983 has undoubtedly passed, I figured using a fake name was a good safety precaution).

The story is that my aunt set one aside for her daughter when the shipment came in. As a child, I was just jealous. As an adult, I realized that my aunt was probably risking her job to get her child the popular toy. Apparently, this isn’t something limited to toy runs–Target has reportedly fired employees for improperly purchasing the ridiculously popular pink Stanley Mugs.

While I hate to see people terminated for small mistakes, I have to stand behind Target on this one. Here’s why you should consider a similar policy in your own business.

To keep reading, click here: Target Fired Employees for Buying Pink Stanley Cups. You Should Follow Their Example

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4 thoughts on “Target Fired Employees for Buying Pink Stanley Cups. You Should Follow Their Example

  1. Firing an employee, policy or no policy, for buying a popular sports mug is, at the very least mean-spirited and speaks volumes about retail. These employees work hard, are on their feet all day/night, are abused by some customers, and get little gratification for a job well done. This is a product that no one needs. If they were stashing meds from the public for their own use, I could understand the outrage, but for an overpriced mug?

  2. I don’t agree with the tactic of firing an employee for purchasing a product ( however popular) at the retail price. I would consider some kind of discipline if there was discounting done on the price (employee discount)-certain items should always not be discounted if not damaged. The company is not losing money on the sale and that’s their main goal, period. To discipline employees working in retail settings from buying products sold in the store, merely because the company doesn’t have a high enough supply of a popular product is rather petty. I know for a fact that certain items are brought in to entice the customers to buy other items too, so unless the company is not getting enough profit off selling these products by “encouraging” extra sales, it shouldn’t matter who buys it It appears that Target was reacting to the lost “extra sales” they didn’t get if the customers came in to buy the “special” item. But the customers who “buy” these types of “popular items are not going to buy other items if their goal is that special item. Just looking back at the Cabbage Patch phenomenon, I was one of those parents who went to various stores trying to find and buy a Cabbage Patch doll, which was overpriced to begin with–not everyone has that spare cash to buy other items but the retail stores work on that concept–get the customer into the store and entice them to buy anything and everything. Target fired those employees because their shareholders didn’t get enough profit from the Stanley Cup sales.

    1. The term you’re looking for is “loss leader”. It’s typically something really over-priced but which draws people in. They realize they probably shouldn’t spend the money (seriously, $50 on a travel mug is ridiculous), but they’re already mentally prepared to spend money so they spend it on some other thing. Happens all the time in the art world. For example, someone may make a $5,000 piece of jewelry and put it on their website. No one’s ever going to buy it, but it looks amazing. Those $20 pieces, on the other hand, are much more affordable, so I’ll buy 2 or 3 of those for my friends!

      I agree with the rest of your post. This action was incredibly petty. If the employees were hoarding them in the back, making them unavailable to customers, that’d be one thing. But if you’re firing an employee for simply buying a piece of merchandise that you have for sale, it shows that you have zero respect for your employees. It makes me wonder what other shady business practices they’re engaging in as well.

  3. I can see both sides of it. We once fired someone over a candy bar they didn’t pay for, and that seems petty. But it’s never just *one* candy bar.

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