When it comes to brand recognition, Target has some of the strongest in the retail industry. The company’s name is reinforced by its red and white logo—a literal target—which can also be seen painted around the eye of its mascot, a Bull Terrier named Bullseye. All things considered, it seems like the giant red concrete spheres in front of the brick-and-mortar stores are just another way for Target to make itself so easily recognizable. But, as Taste of Home explains, they’re actually there for your safety, too.
The balls are called bollards, a word that used to mainly refer to the metal or wooden posts built along the edge of a wharf so that sailors had something they could tie their mooring lines around. These days, bollards is also used to describe similar posts in front of buildings, which help mitigate the risk of distracted drivers rolling right into the doors. While most places install more traditionally shaped bollards, Target isn’t the only business to take advantage of the opportunity to get creative—some baseball stadiums feature spherical bollards that look like baseballs.
Although Target’s bollards are supposed to keep shoppers safe from parking lot car accidents, the bright red spheres can be dangerous in a different way. In May 2016, a New Jersey mother sued Target for $1.6 million after her 5-year-old son fell from one of the bollards and shattered his elbow—an injury that required surgery and threatened long-term damage to his range of motion. The following year, another woman filed a lawsuit after one of the 2-ton bollards broke loose and hit her car.
Wondering what else you didn’t know about Target? Find out 15 surprising facts here.
[h/t Taste of Home]