Restaurants near Target's Minneapolis HQ demand it bring workers back to the office

Target is among the Fortune 100 firms still happy with its Covid-era remote working arrangements, but its Minneapolis HQ drove so much traffic to local businesses that they are demanding it force its staff back to the cubicles. It is now Target workers' moral responsibility to collectively subsidize the restauranteurs of Minneapolis.

Target's downtown workforce was estimated at 7,100 in 2022 — that's down from 8,500 in 2021, but still enough to make it the neighborhood's biggest employer — on paper. But how many actually work downtown regularly? Target won't share the data, though it claims more of its workers are choosing to return to headquarters.

Observers say the gap is obvious.

"That's a lot of lunches and cups of coffee and rides on the light rail and the bus, and that is hurting us, badly," said commercial real estate broker Tom Tracy, who specializes in Minneapolis office leasing at Cushman & Wakefield.

The usual "return to office" motive amounts to the sunk cost fallacy: to justify long-term leases on corporate premises, to justify the positions of middle managers with nothing to do, to justify decades of investment in cultish office productivity doctrines. Articles popping up about how "return to the office" is needed to get people to eat at McCormick & Shmick's Seafood and Steakhouse is a more contemporary flavor of dystopia: superficial, narcissistic, indistinguishable from parody. Unserious yet unnervingly desperate, the last lies before the liar gives up talking and just makes you do whatever it is they want you to do.