Posted by: Cindy Downes | May 2, 2009

A $2.17 PR Lesson from Target

I learned a public relations lesson firsthand, today, from the Broken Arrow Target

Target just built a brand new store behind my neighborhood, which opened last month. I normally shop at Reasor’s, which is just down the road. Before the grand opening, everyone in the neighborhood received coupons in the mail for a free fruit smoothie (among other offers) to entice us to come into the new store. So, the first week Target was here, I ventured in to look it over and tried to redeem my coupon for a fruit smoothie. The clerk explained they ran out of smoothies because so many people came in. OK, I understand that. I browsed the store, discovered that the store had an interesting grocery department, and purchased more than $100 worth of groceries. 

I haven’t been back since because my habit is to shop at Reasor’s. However, today, I decided to go to Target for groceries because I still hadn’t redeemed my coupon for the free smoothie. I ordered my smoothie and discovered that my coupon expired two weeks ago. I asked the clerk if there was a rain check since I wasn’t able to get the smoothie the first time I came in. The clerk said no. 

The manager was there so I asked him if a rain check was available. He said no. He explained that he gave out 500 smoothies that first day and he was sorry I missed out. End of story.

I can’t believe he didn’t pull out $2.17 and pay for the smoothie himself! I was obviously not happy and told him so. He just didn’t care. $2.17 cost him an unhappy customer – ME. I paid for my smoothie and left Target without doing my grocery shopping and went to Reasors.

Now let’s see. I spend about $700 per month on groceries. He refused me a $2.17 smoothie and lost a chance to get $700 month in business? That doesn’t sound like a good PR move to me. That much I did learn in PR classes!

And while I’m stewing about not getting a free smoothie, I’m telling all my friends and blogging about how disappointed I am  with the Broken Arrow Target. I wonder if Target’s PR Department would have recommended a different tactic? I think so!


  1. COMMENTS I received on my FB page:

    Amy Coles at 7:03pm May 2
    Awesome! That’s so true! We had a similar problem with Staples one day. People just don’t care about good business anymore. These days, the customer is just an annoyance. Not someone to be served, as we should be.

    Nicki Phillips at 7:12pm May 2
    Haha! Yay! They are opening a super target south of Tulsa close to Bixby, hope they do a better job! I need to order your OK history curriculum this month!
    Have a good day!

    Sharon Boyer at 7:36pm May 2
    Cindy, you were right…people as a whole have forgotten that it is solely because of customers that we even have a job in the first place! As an employee on the front line myself, I totally understand what it means to be all about the consumer! Besides that, I really enjoy the opportunity to serve others…thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Maybe word will get back to this Target and they will reevaluate their policies.

    Kathy Babbitt Mounts at 7:44pm May 2
    That is why Clark Howard calls it “Customer NO Service”. They just don’t care.

    Kim Buesing at 7:44pm May 2
    why don’t you forward this info to their head PR dept & let upper management know about this….I’d be interested in what they have to say….take it further!

    Amanda Broderick Donald at 9:33pm May 2
    The Norman Target did the same thing w/ the smoothies. We never got one either.

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