Will Tenley’s Target survive?

Courtesy+of+Ella+Pearlman-Chang

Courtesy of Ella Pearlman-Chang

Chau Nguyen

The District’s newest Target, situated in Tenleytown, held its grand opening on November 10. Sitting directly on top of the Tenleytown Metro Station, Target is the newest addition to the plethora of businesses near Wilson. 

The store has about 135 employees, including a few Wilson students, most of whom began working in October, one month prior to its grand opening. One employee, a Wilson student who wishes to remain anonymous, recalled the time as being nice and uneventful. “It was great. At first, no one [was] in the store other than employees, all of the coworkers getting to know each other; [we have] a great HR lady and overall nice management,” they explained. However, once the sales hit and the system was put under pressure, things started to change. “As soon as the store opened it was a [little] chaotic.” Sales exceeded, and consequently, staff had to work harder to keep up with the huge amount of customers visiting the store. Makeda Lydia, another Wilson student working at Target, sometimes feels her job is “overwhelming,” since she is either assigned with too many tasks or has to do them all at once. 

 I decided to visit the store for the first time and was greeted with a line of customers in droves. My first impression was that the store was well-stocked for Christmas and holiday shopping. It caters to urban parents with a comparatively large selection of kids clothing by Cat and Jack and other Target brands. It also features large beauty essentials and home departments, which appeal equally to families, apartment-dwellers, and students. However, products were a little bit out of place, especially in the home décor and accessories aisle. Luckily, I was assisted by a really helpful and friendly staff member, who was just as clueless as I was, as it took him five minutes to search up the location of a specific product. This is the struggle that the anonymous student mentioned, when “a lot of our favorite managers left right then and there” and thus there was “no manager for the beauty and electronics.” Since no specific explanations were given, most Target employees were left with the uneasy feeling that the disorganization was due largely to the staggering amount of pressure put onto the managers by the supervisors of the store. Though unintentional, weak administration and regulation are obvious obstacles to Target’s survival in the urban setting.

Another potential challenge is the customers themselves. Most students working at Target agreed that students from Wilson and Deal make up a considerable proportion of people visiting the store, though not necessarily to buy products. “As usual, there would be a bad bunch [of kids] who came in just to wreck stuff,” the anonymous student said. The worst was an incident in which a kid was caught stealing. Don’t think middle school kids are in control: wait until you see Deal kids “do their little vlogs” and irresponsibly leave the store after knocking over stocks on shelves. Unfortunately, since the store doesn’t have enough staff to look after all the misbehaving kids, Target managers and employees are posed with the question of whether naughty kids should just be kicked out.