A Target store in the US will hold an event designed for families on the autism spectrum.
According to this article, the store will dim the lights, turn off the music and reduce the staff – for two-hours. Now I know very little about autism but I do wonder if this a mere publicity stunt or a genuine response to a public need? Either way, it’s a terrific, positive thought. It demonstrates a real response to a consumer condition and should be applauded regardless.
But it lead me to question how responsive Target is to it’s older customers. How ‘Age-Friendly‘ is Target. Here’s what I found on their website (under ‘Corporate Responsibility’);
“As demographics shift and people define their identities in increasingly nuanced ways, we’ll continue to evolve our guest experience to make sure it reflects the changing world. By integrating diversity and inclusion throughout our business and company culture, we’ll be able to offer guests more innovative and relevant experiences, which leads to growth and competitive advantage. Bottom line: It’s good business”.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Even the reference to the ‘demographic shift’ implies the ageing of its customers and employees. Why then does the image (shown) on the same page not ‘include’ an older person?
Furthermore, I can’t see any evidence of what Target actually does to fulfil on this promise around diversity & inclusion for older people. For example, many large-format retailers have responded to the physiological ageing of their shoppers by becoming more Age-Friendly. Here’s a free PDF explaining the 25-effects-of-ageing.
I hope this messaging from Target is not mere lip-service. It’s too big a company and too big an issue to ignore – both for staff and for customers.