November 30, 2003
ATTN: Mr. Michael R. Francis, Executive Vice President, Marketing
1000 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Dear Mr. Francis,
The “product line” of the NoGraf Network is substantially different than your 1,100 retail stores. In one word, it is “information.” As a 501(C)3, Nograf links the world’s graffiti-busters, enabling them to share questions and best practices. Our website, which has had almost 3 million visitors, provides one-stop-shop information about graffiti and methods to combat it. Despite our differing product lines, we believe that we ultimately serve the same customers: the collective members of our nation’s communities. I am writing to bring to your attention an area wherein Target Corporation, perhaps unknowingly, is not serving those communities well.
At one of our website pages (“Painting the Image”) we provide information, provided by website visitors, about societal forces which influence the perception of graffiti by members of our communities. Citizens who have not been victimized by graffiti and who are unaware of the estimated $15 to $18 billion per year cost of graffiti vandalism can easily be led to believe that graffiti is as harmless as any other youthful fad; Target may be playing a role in the latter, as indicated by an email we recently received (copy enclosed). We have posted a copy of the email at our “Painting the Image” page, and will be posting a copy of this letter to you. Certainly we want to provide Target’s point of view, and we will post your response.
Amidst many important societal issues, ours is certainly a narrow focus, and we recognize that. Despite that narrow focus, we would not advocate training 3-year-olds to be anti-graffiti. That would be extreme. However, it appears that Target, perhaps unknowingly, is training 3-year-olds to be pro-graffiti. Perhaps you would like to give this matter additional thought.
Thanks for your consideration.
Email from San Jose, November 25, 2003
I picked up some soap crayons at Target the other day for writing graffiti on bathroom walls. They also sell soap paints and colored fizzie balls, all under the name of Bathroom Graffiti. They are for ages 3 and up.......
So, my question is this, what is this company thinking by even having these products available? I'll tell you what they're thinking - PROFITS! And in the process, they're telling kids and parents that writing on the wall is acceptable.
You can check them out at the following site: http://shop.store.yahoo.com/whitneystore/batgrafsoapc.html. The Company is called MM Natural Science Industries, Ltd. and they are out of Hempstead, NY 11552-3942.
Their web address is www.nsitoys.com.
Do you think I'm making too big a deal about this? I just have a problem going to Target and finding anything labeled Graffiti that is made for kids 3 and up. Okay, getting off my Soap Crayon Box now!