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#STINGDAILY: On Target

July 12, 2013

Jon Cooper, Sting Daily –

It’s one of the great mysteries of modern economics: How does the average consumer walk into a Target needing, say, a $3 bottle of shampoo and leave with several bags containing everything under the sun – often sans that bottle of shampoo – with a bill ranging closer to $100.

Quinn Evans can’t necessarily put her thumb on why either, although she has theories, and actually would prefer not to look that gift horse in the mouth.

The senior middle blocker on the Georgia Tech Volleyball team is helping the store continue to thrive as part of her 10-week, 40-hours-per-week summer internship at the Target in Fayetteville. In short, she’s learning the culture of Target and as a “logistics intern,” there has been lots to learn.

“I show up every day in my red and khaki and I am right now learning the process of logistics,” Evans  said. “So that means anything from a truck coming in, unloading the truck, pushing the stuff out to the floor, back-stocking it, anything like that. I’m learning how it’s done and then, eventually, my position at Target would be managing all those people that do it. So you’ve got to learn how to do it before you can manage it. So that’s kind of where I am. It’s been a great experience.

“Every day there’s something. It’s things you don’t think about,” she added. “But now that you see how the process works, everything kind of falls into place, everything makes sense as far as merchandising, getting things on the floor, when you mark stuff down and this, that and the other. How this bottle of shampoo actually got on the shelf or why the aisles look the way that they do. Now I see everything. I find myself walking through random stores and kind of straightening out their aisles. It’s definitely changed the way I shop. I will never grab something and then put it on a random shelf again in my life.”

The internship is a lot more than she bargained for considering she found the opportunity while surfing the web.

“I pretty much stumbled upon it on the Internet,” said the San Antonio native. “I was looking for internships because I knew I wanted to get one this summer. I felt like I needed some kind of career experience under my belt before I went out into the big world.”

Evans first interviewed by phone in November, then did an in-person interview in Smyrna during Finals Week — actually doing the interview the morning of a final. The final interview came via phone at her home during Christmas Break. About a week later, she was offered a position.

If it sounds like a whirlwind, that’s exactly how it seems to her. But it was worth it and was really an easy decision to make.

“I didn’t think it could work like this and I could already have my summer set up before the Spring Semester even started,” she said. “I just knew that I had loved everybody that I had interviewed with. I was falling in love with the Target culture. I’ve been on a team my whole life. I know how important it is to get along with the people that you are with constantly and working with. It was just too good an opportunity to pass up and I’m so happy with my decision.”

As Evans prepares for her final season of volleyball on The Flats she knows that there’s only one major decision left down the road. That is where she wants to work after graduation.

“The way this internship works is I get a job offer by the end of it,” she said. “I went through a pretty intense interviewing process to get where I am now. It was like interviewing for a real job. So they figure out where they want to place you and by the end of the internship you kind of get placed or they give you a title and you get a job after graduation. So it’s nice to have that security going into my senior year.

“I’m really open to anything,” she continued. “I would want to stay here and I would want to go back to Texas. Home is always home. Another great thing about working for Target is they’re literally located in every city. If one day I wake up and think, ‘You know, I want to work in Idaho for a year,’ that’s a possibility and that’s something that’s so cool to me about the possibilities of working for Target. I kind of have a say in where I go. They are so good about working with you for that.”

With her future set, Evans is working harder than ever on volleyball and is looking for a great final season as she shares the middle-blocker spot with youngsters Channell Clark-Bibbs and Ashtaan Horton.

“I just want to be a consistent player,” said Evans, who had career bests in hitting percentage (.310) and kills per game (1.62) last season. “I want to be someone my teammates can depend on and have confidence in and know that with all my years behind me that they can count on me when they need to.”

Unfortunately there’s no counting on her to crack the mystery of budget-busing ability of Target.

“We love customers like that, obviously,” she said, with a laugh. “The Target brand is what we’re huge on because that’s what separates us from our competitors. If you walk into a Target it’s always clean, the shelves are always stocked, and everybody is super-friendly. That’s something they pick up on when you’re interviewing. I think that helps people’s shopping experience. I know if I’m walking down an aisle and it looks messy I’m not even going to turn down it but if it looks clean I might go check it out. Then we’ve got our sales tags and clearance stuff and it kind of draws people that way.

“We want everybody to be a satisfied guest and have a good experience,” she added. “If you’re having a good experience and people are helpful, I guess you want to stop by Starbucks and get a little pick-me-up I think that definitely helps. Anybody who walks into a store and has a bad experience is going to walk in grab it and leave but if you’re experience is good then you kind of come and hang out a little bit longer. I think that’s how people end up walking in with a short list and leave with a buggy-full.”

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