Fact Check

Is Target Closing 14 Stores in Florida and Alabama for Being 'Virtual Ghost Towns'?

Did they go broke because they went "woke"?

Published Aug 17, 2023

A Target store is pictured near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) (Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A Target store is pictured near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Target Corporation is closing 14 Target stores in Florida and Alabama for being "virtual ghost towns."

On Aug. 17, 2023, The Dunning-Kruger Times website published an article positing that Target Corporation would be closing 14 Target stores located in Florida and Alabama, purportedly for becoming "virtual ghost towns."

The Times' article began as follows:

Target Closing 14 Stores in Florida and Alabama: "They're Virtual Ghost Towns"

Target was already on thin ice with conservatives when some genius in marketing decided to Bud Light the operation completely. Now, in the heart of the American south, Target finds itself with 14 locations that will never turn a profit again.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Target Operations Manager for the Southeastern United States Joe Barron, "There's literally nobody there most days. A straqggler here and there. We've already [laid] off more than 80 percent of the staff."

The apparent implication with the article's later usage of the terms "woke" and "wokeness" was that some customers stopped shopping at the stores after reading news articles about Target's 2023 offering for Pride Month, a subject we previously reported about.

However, this article was not a factual recounting of real-life events. It originated with a website that describes itself as "a subsidiary of the 'America's Last Line of Defense' network of parody, satire, and tomfoolery."

The picture that was included in the article that showed a "store closing" sign on a Target building was captured in Canada in 2015.

In other words, no, Target was not closing 14 stores in Florida and Alabama.

The Times' website uses the term "taters" for people who supposedly believe the untrue stories, including some commenters who apparently believed the news about Target and remarked, "Go woke, go broke." The website describes "taters" as follows:

"Taters" are the conservative fans of America's Last Line of Defense. They are fragile, frightened, mostly older caucasian Americans. They believe nearly anything. While we go out of our way to educate them that not everything they agree with is true, they are still old, typically ignorant, and again — very afraid of everything.

Our mission is to do our best to show them the light, through shame if necessary, and to have a good time doing it, because…old and afraid or not, these people are responsible for the patriarchy we're railing so hard against. They don't understand logic and they couldn't care less about reason. Facts are irrelevant. BUT…they do understand shame.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.


"Flagg Eagleton." "Target Closing 14 Stores in Florida and Alabama: 'They're Virtual Ghost Towns.'" Dunning-Kruger-Times.com, 17 Aug. 2023, https://dunning-kruger-times.com/target-closing-14-stores-in-florida-and-alabama-theyre-virtual-ghost-towns/.

Kasprak, Alex. "Did Target Partner with Designer Whose Work Includes Satanic Imagery?" Snopes, 24 May 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/target-pride-satanism/.

---. "Is Target Offering 'Tuck-Friendly' Bathing Suits for Kids?" Snopes, 23 May 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/target-tuck-friendly-swimsuits-for-kids/.

Mikkelson, David. "Why We Include Humor and Satire in Snopes.com." Snopes, 15 Aug. 2019, https://www.snopes.com/notes/why-we-include-humor-and-satire-in-snopes-com/.

"Soon to Be Closed Target in Nepean, Ottawa. The US Retail Chain..." iStock, 13 Mar. 2015, https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/canadian-target-store-with-closing-sign-gm466370700-60413078.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.