Target Targets Handicapped, We Target Them

Digg this story.

Let’s just cut straight to the point: Fran, store manager of the Target located at 1245 Bald Hill Rd. in Warwick, Rhode Island? She’s a cunt.

If that seems harsh to you, we can only say we wish there was a word in the English language that was even harsher.

Reader Lexi H. wrote us in with an absolutely appalling tale about how her elderly, handicapped mother was treated by Fran at the local Target. Her mother — a plucky old gal who requires oxygen and a wheelchair — was puttering around the Warwick Target in one of the electric handicapped carts when the battery died.

Lexi and her mother understood: these things suck, but they happen. What shouldn’t happen is for the manager of the store to then rush out to verbally abuse and publicly embarrass an elderly, crippled old woman. Yet that’s just what did happen.

We’re fucking spitting mad over this one. In fact, we’re putting out the call. We want you to read Lexi’s story and then call Target to complain. Don’t be rude, don’t be a jerk, but we want you to call Target, mention Fran by name and register your disgust with a company that would treat any patron — let alone someone’s sweet, wheelchair-bound mother — so completely inhumanely.

The Warwick, Rhode Island telephone number is (401) 821-0121. Corporate HQ seems to be 800-591

3869 (don’t press or say anything to get a human). Mention the store name, address and Fran by name.

And while you’re at it, mention that Peter is a great Target employee, and should get a ribbon, if not Fran’s fucking job.

Read Lexi’s email, after the jump:

I am writing about a truly disturbing experience I had today at the Target store located at 1245 Bald Hill Rd. in Warwick, RI.

My mother uses oxygen and a wheelchair, and it is hard for her to get about and go shopping. Today as a special treat, we decided to go to Target. We arrived at the store at about 12:30 pm, and I dropped her off at the door, and went to park the car. When I got inside the store, she was standing inside looking for a MartCart, one of the electric carts that most big box stores have to make shopping possible for handicapped patrons. There wasn’t one available, so we went and ate lunch in the cafe and waited until one became available. A patron who was using it left, and my mother got in it and we entered the store itself. About 20 feet into the store, the battery on the cart died. I went back to the front of the store where the carts are kept, to see if another MartCart had become available. While I stood there, a friendly and helpful employee named Peter came over to ask if I needed assistance. I must add here that Peter seemed to be mentally disabled, which in no way was a problem or an issue at all- he was delightful and very kind during the horrorshow that our visit became.

I told Peter that the battery in the MartCart had failed, and he walked with me to where my mother was sitting in the dead cart. He looked at the cart, and agreed that the battery had died. He was about to say something else, when from about 25 feet away, another Target employee began yelling “Is there a problem?” Peter walked toward the yelling woman, to explain what had happened. Meanwhile, she began walking towards us. I noted that her nametag said Fran.

As she approached, she continued yelling. Peter was telling her that the battery had died, and she approached my mother and I by yelling (quite literally yelling) “I don’t know what you want me to do, I can’t shop for you.” My mother said quietly that that wasn’t what she wanted at all, but Fran cut her off by yelling again “There’s nothing I can do for you, what do you want?” My mother said “I am not deaf, please stop yelling.” Fran lowered her voice fractionally, and said again “I can’t shop for you.”

At this point, Peter, who as I say was differently abled but with a heart of gold, said that the cart needed to be charged. Fran ignored him and very aggresively and loudly said “I don’t have a wheelchair, what do you want me to do, push you around in that?” pointing at the non-operative cart. My mother looked shaken, and said “It is humiliating enough to need help to shop, please stop talking so loudly.” Fran’s yelling was, in fact, attracting interested stares from other shoppers.

Peter again said that the cart needed to be charged, and I asked him how long that took, hoping to somehow salvage the day. He said it takes 7 or 8 hours to fully charge the carts, adding that it was usually done overnight. I said then, “Well, how long does a full charge last? It’s just past noon, how many people can actually use it if it takes 8 hours to charge and only lasts till noon?” Peter replied that he didn’t know how many trips around the store the cart could make on one full charge, but that it had not been plugged in earlier. At this, Fran began haranguing Peter, saying that the cart had been fully charged and had been plugged in that morning. He started to say again that it had not, and she cut him off yelling (again) that it had been charged, and that she didn’t know what we wanted. He looked very distressed, as I think we all were, and I said to my mother who looked on the verge of tears “Let’s go.” She nodded, and I removed from the cart the few items (from the rack immediately inside the store) that we had chosen. I went to put them on the shelf, and Fran snatched them out of my hand. I said to Peter “Thank you,” and then to Fran “You’ve very unpleasant, and I will be writing to the manager.” She said again, aggresively, “There’s nothing I can do.” She did not, at that point, tell me that she was the store manager. I helped my mother to the door, which thankfully was only about 20 feet away, and ran to fetch the car. My mother and I left the store.

In the 8 years that my mother has been disabled, never have I seen anyone treat her in such a way. Fran’s behavior was so shocking that I am still shaking with disbelief. Not only was she aggressive and abusive, she was mocking and seemed to think that if you have one disability, you probably have another, given that even after my mother pointed out that she was not deaf, Fran kept yelling at her. Fran’s treatment of her employee, Peter, was similarly astonishing. At no point in this ugly experience did Fran apologize for the store’s lack of handicapped accomodation, or make any effort in the least to be pleasant, conciliatory, or even simply humane. She seemed in fact to be angry and aggrieved to have to deal with a customer of different needs. I have never met anyone who seems to get their kicks by abusing the handicapped, and I am more disturbed than words can say. That my mother should be a one time target of Fran’s abuse is horrifying to me, but upon further reflection, that her employees are treated in such a disparaging manner is equally disturbing, especially considering that Target receives public recognition for their diversity of staff.

I took my mother to WalMart, where she had her choice of 4 MartCarts, and we did some shopping. The moment I got home, I called the store, and asked to speak with the manager, as I had a complaint. I was transferred to a woman named Coila, and told her what had happened. She seemed horrified, and sounded aghast. I asked her if I could have Fran’s last name, as I wanted to write to the corporate headquarters as well, and wanted to make sure that no other Fran would be involved. Coila told me that she couldn’t tell me Fran’s last name, and then she told me that Fran was the store manager. I think I stopped breathing for a minute. Coila then gave me the guest services phone number, and I spoke with another helpful employee named Evie, and told her of the distrubing experience.

I cannot adequately express the horror I feel at what happened this afternoon. It was truly one of the most upsetting experiences I have ever had, to stand helplessly by as my wheelchair bound mother and a mentally challenged worker were verbally lambasted by a yelling woman, the public face of a major corporation. I have always enjoyed shopping at Target, as has my mother. As I am sure you understand, going out to Warwick and going to Target is always something of an expedition for us, but it has always been an enjoyable experience. What happened today was so deeply disturbing, and I felt compelled to write this letter to let people know about the situation at the Warwick RI Target store.