June 9, 2006

Target Attitude T-shirts

In our local target, and I guessing many Target's throughout the country there is a new line of t-shirts for very young children (18months to 4T) - here is a sample of the slogans on these t-shirts.

Chick Magnet
It's My Brother's Fault
I've decided to put myself in charge
It seemed like a good idea at the time
My grandparents don't spoil me they are just very accomodating

This is a long one all on one shirt:
Toddle Laws of Property
If I like it its mine
If Its in my hand its mine
If I had it a little while ago it is mine
If it looks like mine its mine
If I think it is mine it is mine.

Then these three jumped out from the little girls section (4-12)

Girls Only Want Boyfriends who have great skills
Heck Yes (Napolean Dynamite)
A for Attitude Warning May Answer Back (with a halo over an A with wings)

I have seen many of these and worse tshirts in the adult and teen section for a long time and while I never liked them never really bugged me either. However, for small children that is another story. What 2 year old shouldn't wear a shirt that says Chick Magnet and what four year old girl should be without a tshirt about boyfriends? What child of the ages 2-6 should be without tshirts against parents and siblings?

I understand I do not need to buy it and I did not. However, I also know that I don't need to just accept that this is the way things are now everywhere I go. I am a customer as much as the next person and my opinion should count too.

So I spoke with a store manager, who was very accomodating and helpful and understanding. I explained that I understood it was a corporate issue and not their fault but that I would like to complain to the person that I should. He found the information I needed and also assured me that the store would send a letter on my behalf as well documenting my concerns with specefic item numbers. The softline purchaser was also in town today and would be showed the items I objected to.

I applaud the customer service I received in the store. I came home and called corporate. My experience was fine, though I do feel a bit dismissed by them and wondering if anyone will do anything. I will also follow up with a written letter. I encourage anyone else who feels these tshirts go to far to contact your local store managers (if they are in your store) and call and/or write Target about these items.

The customer service number is 1-800-440-0680, follow the prompts about store merchandise and ask to speak with a supervisor when you call - I eventually got transferred to one. List specefic items and the reasons you are unhappy with them. The shirts I listed above, many were from the Now and Zen line of clothing (though not all) so I mentioned them specefically and gave the lines from the shirts I objected to.

Perhaps nothing will be done, but perhaps something will. By sitting quiet I just acquise and accept it. By standing up and speaking out in a respectful and positive way I may eventually affect change or at least let them know that some of us do not just accept and love these changes. And we still spend money and they want to keep us as customers.

Just my .02,


  1. Well, I'll admit that one of my sons bought his brother the "It's My Brother's Fault" t-shirt for Christmas, with my approval. We thought it was funny. It's my 9 yo who wears it.

    The "Girls Only Want Boyfriends Who Have Great Skills" one is also a quote from Napolean Dynamite, just FYI. I'm not sure how many 4-12 year olds would know that, though. My 6, 9, and 12 yo kids would because we have watched that movie a lot.

    I personally don't like t-shirts that talk about boyfriends/girlfriends for pre-teens or younger. Not really for any age, but especially not pre-teen and younger. The other ones on your list don't really bother me.

    I changed the Toddler Laws (the one I have is even longer than that) to "Emmadala's Laws" and sent it out by email to some family and friends back when she was a toddler. I thought that was funny, too. She did act that way at times, although we certainly worked at changing that attitude. I think it's pretty universal for toddlers, which is what makes it funny. They haven't learned yet about sharing and generosity.

    I guess I just have a different sense of humor. :)

  2. I guess that's what makes us all different. Personally seeing all the tshirts all together said to me they were promoting, condoning and encouraging that sort of attitude for young kids. I think some of them if I had seen stand alone might not have affected me the way the combination of them on the display did.

    I guess maybe I lack a sense of humor about certain things. I saw a Hooters tshirt on a 10-12 year old boy that said "I wear this shirt to annoy you" and it did annoy me so I guess he accomplished his goal :)

    I don't find humor in little boy and girl clothing encouraging boyfriend/girlfriend stuff. The disrespect tshirts and blame shift ones bother me not because I don't think they are realistic at times but because I think it promotes the behavior or atleast says it is okay because it is funny.

    Maybe I spent too much time as a communication scholar and see meaning and power in words everywhere :) I think a lot about the messages words communicate. I just think together all these shirts sent a message that personally I did not like to see in a children's line of clothing.

    Of course you can call or mail Target and tell them you enjoy the ones you find humorous to counter me :) The power of the free market prevails.


  3. lmoore10:35 PM

    I'm with you on the comments on kid's t-shirts. The "isn't that cute" attitude toward the primadonna actions of a two year old will only reap a whirlwind of remorse when teenage rebellion strikes. However, what I find worse yet are the words emblazoned on the backsides of short shorts, skirts and swimsuits. Just why would any parent want to direct the attention of people to that particular region of a child's anatomy is beyond me.

  4. My son came home from a shopping trip with my mom a few weeks ago. She'd bought him some shirts and some tennis shoes. One shirt says "You must have mistaken me for a kid who cares." I do not like the shirt. I also feel that it displays a bad attitude. Ds12 didn't pick it out - he picked out one with a jet on it. My MOTHER picked out this shirt, thought it was cute, and bought it for him. She never let me wear shirts like that when I was younger.