Off Target on Poppy Selling


McCraeTalk about missing the Target! You really have to wonder sometimes what people are thinking. I don’t mean that guy who just cut you off, or cruised through a red light; evidently he wasn’t thinking at all. I’m talking about those folks who are paid big money to think: public relations professionals.

Since the early 1920s the Canadian Legion has been selling commemorative poppies to honour those who were killed in war, starting with the First World War and continuing to the present victims in Afghanistan. The concept comes from the poem In Flanders Fields the opening lines of which refer to the many poppies that were the first flowers to grow in the churned-up earth of soldiers’ graves in Flanders, a region of Europe that overlies parts of Belgium and France. The poem was written by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae on 3 May 1915 after witnessing the death of his friend and fellow soldier the day before.

With this heritage, what in the name of God were the people at Target Canada thinking when they released a statement saying that the sale of poppies, traditionally done on street corners and in larger stores, would be restricted to an area outside their stores (they were kind enough to elaborate and explain they would tolerate the seller standing between the two sets of doors if the weather turned ugly – all heart these folks).

Was the idea to create a small kerfuffle in one part of the country then issue a nation-wide statement and come off as heroes? If so they certainly misread Canadians as I suspect more will remember the original banning of the poppy sales  than the too-little-too-late welcome.

Granted they have now bent over backwards in an attempt to remove the bad taste left in some potential-clients’ mouths and have in fact welcomed the Canadian Legion to set up in any of its stores across Canada and sell poppies. But the question that still boggles my small but fertile mind is who would have thought about banning the sale in the first place.

From a public image standpoint, there is nothing safer than commemorative poppies. They are non-denominational, paying respect to fallen soldiers of all, or no, religious backgrounds, they are not political, and the funds raised go to various veterans’ causes.

So what was it that made someone wake up one day and tell this huge retailer, one that is currently making a major foray into Canada, that banning the sale of poppies was the way to go? Was the idea to create a small kerfuffle in one part of the country then issue a nation-wide statement and come off as heroes? If so they certainly misread Canadians as I suspect more will remember the original banning of the poppy sales than the too-little-too-late welcome.

Today’s Daily Prompt is HONOR; I believe this post fits that category.

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that. a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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8 thoughts on “Off Target on Poppy Selling

  1. Maybe, like Walmart found out during their move into Canada, they’ll quickly realize that Canadians are NOT the same as Americans. (Thankfully.) Or …… maybe they’re trying to get free publicity the Miley Cyrus way. It sure does leave a bad taste in the mouth, though.

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