February 1, 2011

UNCOMPENSATED FTLOG

Here is something I find exasperating. As you may know, bloggers are required by some sort of law to tell you whenever they're talking about something they've been paid (in cash or in product) to talk about. That's not the part I find exasperating, though I DO find it irritating that, for example, businesses are not held to the same requirements and can put "1 cup Brandname sugar" on their recipes all day long without disclosing their relationship to Brandname, and magazines can talk about how extremely awesome a product is without disclosing that they were given it for free, and so on. It's not that I mind the rule (I DEFINITELY want to know if a blogger has been paid to tell me about how awesome something is), it's that I mind the unfair/uneven application of it.

ANYWAY. Moving on to my point. There are MANY RULES for this disclosure stuff, and they are CONFUSING AND ALSO STRICT, but the gist is that if I've been given ANYTHING or benefited in ANY WAY from writing about something, I have to TELL YOU SO.

So! In theory, this should work great for things I'm NOT being compensated to talk about: I write about it, I don't mention compensation, and you know that no compensation has occurred. HOWEVER: because of the blogging rules, the general blogging public is being extra-careful and doing the "disclose when there IS NOTHING to disclose" policy: i.e., saying "I wasn't compensated in any way and I bought my own stuff with my own money" when such is the case---which means that THAT has become the default, and that NOT saying that specifically seems to imply that the reader needs to wonder about compensation.

SIGH. This clutters the place UP. And it makes it seem sleazy, too, like a salesperson saying, "Hey, I would sell this product FOR FREE, just because this product is SO AWESOME I feel an almost RELIGIOUS FERVOR for spreading the news of its existence!"


All this is to say that I am about to talk about something AWESOME, and I have not been compensated IN ANY WAY---which you SHOULD have known by the fact that I wasn't saying I'd been compensated, but instead you get THIS crap.

*cleansing breaths*

SO. I recently got a Target RedCard (LINKED FOR HELPFULNESS NOT FOR COMPENSATION) (SIGH!!), which means everything I buy at Target is automatically 5% off. I'd wondered how that would WORK, since I don't slide the card until AFTER it rings up a total so how does it know to take 5% off? And this is how: the clerk says, "That's $100," and I slide my card, and the total changes to $95 automatically and then charges THAT amount. Awesome. It was also easy to apply: it asked me a few questions (SS#, address, income) on that little screen you have to sign on, and then I was done. My mom told me afterward that what she did was apply at Customer Service, so she wouldn't hold up the line.

But I've had that card for a couple of weeks, and this NEXT part is what made me rush to Inform The Internet: they sent me a thingie that says I can have 1% of what I spend sent automatically to any school I choose (er, of participating schools) (duh). And I thought, "Hey, why not? Free money. For schools." So I went to http://www.target.com/tcoe, I chose one of my kids' schools, I entered my name and card number, and DONE.

The unexpectedly cool part is that you can see how many other cardholders are having THEIR 1% sent to each school you're considering, AND how much money has gone to the school, AND how much has accumulated since their last payment. So in our case, in which our children are spread over three schools, I could look at each of the three and choose the one with the fewest cardholders already donating money to it.

...I'm not succeeding in making this sound as fun/cool as it actually was, which is probably why I am NOT being compensated to talk it up. There were even daycares and preschools on the list! And this COSTS ME NOTHING. And yet I am giving money to SCHOOLS! Automatically! So I never have to think about it again, unless I want to change schools, and yet money will continue going to the school!

This is one of those things that gives me this huge IMAGINE WHAT COULD BE DONE feeling: imagine if everyone with a RedCard signed up---whether they had kids in school or not. It's not as if it costs the cardholder anything except that couple of minutes it takes to choose a school and type in a name. And 1% isn't much, even if you shop at Target the way I shop at Target, but it ADDS UP, and there's NO REASON NOT TO, and it BENEFITS THE COMMUNITY, and *pant pant*

I'm feeling especially passionate on this issue because our school system has been asked to cut their budget this year by a huge amount of money, the kind of amount that's causing them to wonder if they should choose MUSIC to cut or ART, or maybe THREE teachers should be laid off, and OMG PEOPLE JUST SIGN UP SO TARGET WILL GIVE A SCHOOL THE 1%!! It doesn't even have to be a LOCAL school: if you have a niece in school in another state, you can have the money go THERE. Or if you want to give to your old hometown elementary school, or WHATEVER.


In other news:

(UNCOMPENSATED) reviews to begin soon!

20 comments:

Fran said...

Target is full of the awesome in many ways! As the wife of a Target employee (distribution, not stores) I would like to thank you for shopping there. It pays my bills :)

Stimey said...

I was not compensated to say that I love Swistle.

Also Target. If I could be trusted to have a Target credit card, I would do this in a heartbeat.

Tess said...

I must be EPICALLY SKIMMING when I'm offered the Target card, because the 5% thing (and the 1% thing) were completely off my radar!

I wonder if you can apply online because I have an irrational fear of being DENIED right there in the store. I'm not sure WHY, because I've never BEEN denied, but you know.

Tess said...

Update: you CAN apply online(ish), but you have to print out the application and mail it in. Still, minimizes feelings of rejection, if any.

Magic27 said...

The way so many people talk about Target makes me want to visit the US just so I can finally go there myself (because of course there are none here in France, or anywhere in Europe I suspect)...
*sighs with poorly disguised jealousy*
At least we have IKEA...

lifeofadoctorswife said...

I am sold. I will go look into the Target red card immediately.

(They SHOULD compensate you for this!)

Also, I agree completely with the exasperation re: the compensation stuff. Especially because it seems so very murky. And because it's irritating to not be able to simply describe one's experience with a product/service without waving one's arms wildly at the FTC or whomever and saying "not compensated!!!!" Blargh.

-R- said...

We've had a Target card for 5 or 6 years now and love it. We donate the 1% to our nieces' and nephew's school since our kid isn't in school yet (and he didn't exist when we signed up 5/6 years ago). FYI, the interest rate is pretty high, but that is irrelevant if you pay it off every month.

-R- said...

Oh, I forgot to add that I have been craving chocolates the last few days thanks to you!

St said...

How awesome would it be if See's DID compensate you? I'm going to go drool over the mix I created some more and hem and haw about hitting the order button.

Mama Bub said...

We live in a huge cuts to education state, so I sign up for everything I can that gives back to schools. Even though my contribution would probably equal a pack of glue sticks or something, STILL. And 5% doesn't sound like a lot, but it definitely adds up, particularly in this mass diaper purchasing phase of life.

Tara said...

I got the RedCard mainly because they would donate money to my son's school (free money!), which I only found out about because my son's school PTA handed out information about the RedCard at a meeting. Then, when I went to apply for the card and found out about the automatic 5% off purchases, I was all--wait, *I* get something free out of this too??? BONUS! As someone else said, you wouldn't want this card unless you pay it off each month--otherwise you'll more than make up in interest what you're getting in freebies. Otherwise, though, GREAT value.

Suzanne said...

This post just reminded me that a) I HAVE a Target Card, but it expired and I never phoned in to confirm I got the new one so I should find out how to get a NEW new one and get my 5% off and b) The school my 1% was going to is some random middle school in South Carolina - I let the lady who signed me up put down her kid's schools and I lived in SC at the time.

The 5% off your purchases thing is a new program. It used to be for every $1000 you spent you got a coupon for 10% off a full day of shopping. But what would happen to me is I would get the coupon and then "hold on to it" until I knew I would be making a big Target purchase. Then I would totally forget about it and it would expire and I'd never get my 10% off at all. That's why I let my old card expire - I wasn't getting anything out of it.

Should I add a disclaimer that says I USED to work for Target but don't now but my mom does so I love them an extra amount more than most people but no one is compensating me for saying that?

d e v a n said...

shopping list:
Chocolate
Target card

Barb @ getupandplay said...

Target is doing the big box store thing right. They really do give a lot of money to charity. Unlike another company that I don't care to mention.

ixBeths said...

i had a target red card a few years ago, and the big deal was giving money to the school. i don't think they gave you 5% off each time back then! i must investigate!

JeannetteLS said...

I'm uncompensated for anything, ever. ANyway, I think it's a terrific thing that Target is doing--maybe we should start talking it up to OTHER stores, too. Though I will not enter one box store that shall not be named. I had no clue that people were being compensated for giving shout outs to products/companies. What a pain in the butt to have to keep letting people know when you aren't. Now I have yet ANOTHER blog I have to follow. Ain't life hard? Signed, clueless in the blogosphere.

Sam said...

I am supremely jealous because I can't shop at Target any more, damn giving money to anti-gay politician company. I MISS MY TARGET. A LOT. If I shop there I get the SAD EYES from my poor homo teenager. Damn kids these days!

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

That Target card sounds awesome!

suddensilence said...

I love my Target RedCard!! Thanks SO MUCH for posting this...I just signed up for my daughter's school. I always see the signs around the checkout area, but never could figure out HOW to sign up...I kept expecting a little screen to pop up on the card swiper thing, asking me to pick a school. LOL

Kelsey said...

I love that Target does that. Our local grocery stores have similar programs when you use their store cards - you can have your account set so the store donates to a non-profit of your choosing. LOVE that!