By Jody Reese
A Christmas Carol, penned by Charles Dickens in the 1840s, is often described as timeless. And that seems true, because here in 2004 there’s no shortage of Scrooges.
I’m thinking specifically of the Target Corp., the nation’s second-largest retailer and a hugely successful company by any measure. How does Target go about celebrating the holidays? Like this: By banning local Salvation Army chapters from using its stores for their annual collection drives.
No shiny bells, no red kettles—no nothing, not in Manchester or anywhere else in the nation.
From its far-off corporate headquarters in Minneapolis, Target says the decision is an effort to be fair to all non-profit groups. Great! That’s like saying because we can’t all get into medical school, we should close down all the hospitals.
Actually, what’s going on is as clear as, well, a bell. Target’s marketing geniuses see local fund-raising efforts as a bothersome distraction to the business at hand, which is moving as much merchandise off the shelves as fast as possible.
Maybe bellringers scare the folks in Minneapolis, but not in Manchester. Here, volunteer efforts to make the community a better place are respected and encouraged. Fund-raising is a year-round proposition, and the Salvation Army is a welcome part of the holiday season.
To me, it’s one more reason to patronize businesses that are locally owned and managed. More often than not, they’re willing to support the local groups and activities, including the Salvation Army, that make Manchester a true community, and not merely a lucrative market.
I want to welcome two new staffers to HippoPress Manchester.
Rob Greene recently joined us from a weekly newspaper in Maine where he was an editor. Starting with this issue, Rob is taking over the editing duties from Amy Diaz, Hippo’s film critic, who is turning her attention to the city’s vast food scene as well as music, television and other facets of pop culture. Reach Rob with your story ideas and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach Amy, in between movies, at email@example.com.
Will Stewart hails from Tennessee where he worked at a thrice-a-week newspaper. A staff writer, Will will serve as Hippo’s city hall reporter as well as our general go-to news guy. Reach Will at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2004 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH