Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

Working in retail is hard.

It's especially hard during the holiday season as frenzy rises and tempers fray.

Retailers set enormous goals for the season. For many, it may represent a considerable part of their annual revenues.

This means employees have to be maximally engaged.

For some, though, there are now additional concerns.

At Target, for example, employees are going through sudden, additional training.

It isn't sales training.

It's active-shooter training.

As Business Insider reports, the retailer has expanded its active-shooter drills to most of its employees, where previously it had been confined to some managers and security personnel.

Target tried to make it sound very matter-of-fact: 

We enhanced our emergency preparedness and response training, as we do every year, and expanded active-shooter training this fall to include all of our stores, distribution centers, and headquarters team members.

It isn't mere routine, though, is it?

In so many parts of the world, retail employees would be aghast that they have to prepare for someone walking into their store with an automatic weapon, ready to fire indiscriminately.

I grew up over the water, where there was no thought of guns in daily life.

I know I won't persuade you that it's possible to live in a society where being armed is utterly abnormal.

I know that there are many cultural and political reasons why the U.S. is so embedded in the gun ethos.

I also know how aggressively and callously gun lobby groups try to maintain an atmosphere of fear in order to sell more weapons.

I quite understand, therefore, why Target has taken this painful step.

Please imagine, though, the emotions of Target's employees.

They know that a shooting could happen at any time, anywhere.

They've seen what happened in the El Paso Walmart earlier this year, when a man walked into the store and shot 22 people dead, injuring many more.

Once, though, retail employees were trained to deal with shoplifters, not murderers.

Now, their already difficult jobs are made increasingly precarious by the thought that something truly terrible might happen.

It's not as if Target is alone in offering such training.

It's just that as we come upon what's supposed to be a time of happiness, as these employees are working in a business that has become increasingly volatile, they have yet another worry.

Someone, somewhere might think this isn't right.

Published on: Nov 10, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.