Friday, August 20, 2010

To Ana, a Descendant of Hal, at Target

Remember Hal, in Arthur Clarke's extraordinary science fiction novel, Space Odyssey?
by Charlie Leck

Ana, at Target, replied to my recent letter very much in HAL like language and thought process. It was like unsatisfactory sexual intercourse, this letter from Ana, leaving me feeling frustrated and quite empty. HAL, you may remember, stood for "Heuristically programmed Algorithmic computer intelligence." Hal turned out to be a mean son-of-a-bitch and tried to kill all the crew aboard the spacecraft, Discovery.

Ana, it appears, runs targets Guest Relations Department (GURD) much like HAL ran Discovery -- that is, without feeling or sentiment. I had written a completely coherent and intelligent letter, if you don't mind me saying so myself, to Target's CEO about the misuse of my money within his corporation. Ana's reply was cold, sterile and off-point. I had to reply to her and I'll share that letter with you here.

August 20, 2010

Target Guest Relations
1000 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Dear Ana:

Thank you for your reply to my letter, Ana; however, you missed the point I was trying to make in my letter to your Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Greg Steinhaffel. I do feel as if I am probably writing to a computer – you know like Hal, the controlling computer aboard the spacecraft, Discovery One, in Space Odyssey, but you probably are too young to remember any of that, Ana.

My letter to your boss had nothing to do with your company’s civic activity or human and individual rights. I appreciate all your lofty comments about that, but it isn’t what I wrote to you about.

Ana I was talking about my money and your company’s profits. Don’t you understand that they are very much co-mingled? Complex for a computer, I know, but I’ll try to explain how it works in the retail business world. Here’s how it works! I spend money at Target. Target makes profits off of the money I and millions of other people spend at Target. You give a portion of those profits away to political candidates. Ergo, Ana, a portion of what you are giving away is my money.

I don’t want my money to go to political candidates, Ana – especially to political candidates as stupid, arrogant and low-down mean as Tom Emmer. So, Ana, it gets me angry and upset. I want you to get that money back.

I have no intention of spending money in your store as long as you have a policy of making political contributions. Now, Ana, don’t play me for a fool by telling me you actually gave it to an organization that promotes Minnesota’s business development. We are both adults here, Ana, and we can speak frankly. That’s a lot of bull!

I’ll send a copy of this letter along to Mr. Steinhafel, Ana. Perhaps he has a regular, human brain and can figure out the logic here. I’ll try to make him understand what my old man taught me decades ago: Don’t give money to political candidates if you are a retail business.

Thanks, Ana.


Charles H. Leck

cc: Mr. Greg Steinfafel, CEO, Target Corp

Folks, you should be writing your own letters to Target. You may write to Greg Steinhafel, Target's CEO, at the following address:
1000 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403


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