Letter to Kohl’s

Holiday Gifts. Photo by Callen Harty.

Holiday Gifts. Photo by Callen Harty.

I received an e-mail this evening from Kohl’s Department Stores announcing Black Friday specials and extended hours starting on Thanksgiving evening at 6:00 p.m.  I sent this e-mail back to them:

Dear Kohl’s

I just received your e-mail notifying me that most Kohl’s locations opened at 6:00 p.m. today. It’s a very colorful e-mail letting me know about price meltdowns and suggesting that the holiday dishes can wait a little while. Please know that although I am a long-time regular customer that I will not be shopping with you this evening or throughout this holiday season.

I am very sorry to see that you and other retailers are too greedy to allow your employees to have the entire Thanksgiving holiday off. As I’m writing this a Shopko ad is playing on the television announcing that they, too, are open this evening. I know that several other retailers are doing the same thing and I understand it is an incredibly competitive business. Nevertheless, I am very disappointed in the decision. I hope that the additional six hours worth of sales is worth irritating long-time customers like myself. Really? Six extra hours? How much more money do you, Wal-Mart, and the others possibly need?

Unfortunately, I’m sure you will attract enough customers and make enough money in the short term that your management will feel that it was successful. Short-term bottom line is all that seems to matter to corporate management these days. My partner refers to that kind of corporate leadership as bottom line feeders. By the way, are your CEO and other upper level management people also working today? Or are they at home with their families enjoying the holiday? If they’re not working along with the front-line employees, they should be. I am sincerely hopeful that you will lose enough in the long-term that you may eventually realize that some things are more important than a few more dollars up front. You may lose more money in the long run from customers who will refuse to spend their dollars with you, employee turnover that will cost you in training, and bad publicity.

My few dollars may not mean that much to you, but I make statements with my shopping dollars, and I am not the only one. My job is in a non-retail business, so I am not asked to work on holidays and greatly appreciate the time off and the time I am able to spend with family on days like Thanksgiving. With that appreciation as a backdrop please understand that even though I buy almost all of my clothes at Kohl’s and much of my usual holiday shopping that I will not do so during the holiday season this year. In fact, I will not do any of my holiday shopping over the next month at any retail establishment that cares so little about their people on the front lines. I will be sharing this decision with everyone I know and encouraging others to boycott retail establishments that have kept their employees away from their families on such an important holiday.

11/28, Update. I did not get a reply from Kohl’s to the letter above. But I did get another e-mail ad with coupons, specials, and a notation that there are only 27 more shopping days until Christmas.
11/29, Update. No response yet from Kohl’s. However, I did get an e-mail this morning headed Extra 15% off + Super Duper Saturday Specials. Also, there are only 26 more shopping days until Christmas.
11/30, Update. Another e-mail ad, but no official response yet. The ad let me know it’s Stellar Sunday and we’re now in Cyber Week and there are only 25 more shopping days until the big holiday. Oh, and newspapers are reporting that because of the uptick of sales on Thanksgiving Day retailers’ Black Friday sales are down. Funny how that works.
12/1, Update. This will probably be my last update (unless I miraculously hear back from Kohl’s about this) as it’s clear that they are just going to continue sending an e-mail every day reminding me how little shopping time I have left before the big holiday. Today was “OMG, it’s here: Cyber Monday + 20% off online shopping pass.” And, of course, only 24 shopping days left until Christmas. I give.

About Callen Harty

Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin Callen Harty is the author of four books and numerous published essays, poems, and articles. His most recent book is The Stronger Pull, a memoir about coming out in a small town in Wisconsin. His first book was My Queer Life, a compilation of over 30 years worth of writing on living life as a queer man. It includes essays, poems, speeches, monologues, and more. Empty Playground: A Survivor's Story, is a memoir about surviving childhood sex abuse. His play, Invisible Boy, is a narrative with poetic elements and is also an autobiographical look as surviving child sex abuse. All are available on Amazon.com (and three of them on Kindle) or can be ordered through local bookstores, He has written almost two dozen plays and 50 monologues that have been produced. Most of them have been produced at Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin where he started as an actor, writer, and director in 1983. He served as the Artistic Director of the theater from 2005-2010. Monologues he wrote for the Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum won him awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society and the American Association of State and Local History. He has also had essays, poems, and articles published in newspapers and magazines around the country and has taken the top prize in several photo contests. His writing has appeared in Out!, James White Review, Scott Stamp Monthly, Wisconsin State Journal, and elsewhere. He has had several essays published online for Forward Seeking, Life After Hate, and The Progressive. Callen has also been a community activist for many years. He was the co-founder of Young People Caring, UW-Madison’s 10% Society, and Proud Theater. He served as the first President of Young People Caring and as the Artistic Director for Proud Theater for its first five years. He is still an adult mentor for the group. In 2003 he won OutReach’s Man of the Year award for his queer community activism. OutReach is Madison, Wisconsin’s lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community center. He also won a Community Shares of Wisconsin Backyard Hero award for his sex abuse survivor activism work. He has been invited to speak before many community groups, at a roundtable on queer community theater in New York City, and has emceed several events. In 2016, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault named him their annual Courage Award winner for his activism, writing, and speaking on sexual assault.
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2 Responses to Letter to Kohl’s

  1. bradsdesk says:

    Nice letter!

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