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08/15/2015 09:53 am ET Updated Aug 15, 2015

Guy Impersonates Target On Facebook, Hilarious Trolling Ensues

Why hasn't anybody done this before?

Now THIS is how you troll effectively.

When Target announced last week that it would be taking a gender-neutral approach to signage in its stores by no longer designating items as being for "boys" or "girls" in certain departments, like toys and bedding, people -- predictably -- freaked out.

As so often happens when a corporation makes a controversial decision these days, the retailer's Facebook page became a place for people to unleash their anger about the decision. 

Mike Melgaard decided to take matters into his own hands and posed as a customer service rep for Target by making a fake Facebook account called "Ask ForHelp," which featured the company's unmistakable logo. He then used the account to expertly -- and hilariously -- troll the outraged Facebook users freaking out on Target's page.

Courtesy of Mike Melgaard
Courtesy of Mike Melgaard

"I remember how easy it was as a child to be socially influenced by my peers and the adults around me. Kids are little scientists," Melgaard told The Huffington Post. "They hyper-analyze everything in a way that most adults have long forgotten to do. Do you know how detrimental it is to a little child's development if he or she is too afraid to explore other interests all because society says, 'That's a boy subject' or 'That's a girl thing?' Why put that kind of stress on a child?"

Courtesy of Mike Melgaard
Courtesy of Mike Melgaard

HuffPost chatted with Melgaard about his motivations for impersonating Target on its Facebook page, being a "pot-stirrer" and the overwhelming response he has gotten in this new form of digital activism.

What made you decide to troll all of these people on the Target Facebook page?

 I just see opportunities all of the time to say things and jab at controversial topics. It's definitely in my nature to be a "pot-stirrer" and I usually can mix humor in with any situation I encounter. I saw Sunday night on my Facebook account that Target was moving away from gender-based labels in both the toy and children's bedding sections. Immediately, I knew there would be your typical outraged Americans spouting emotional reactions on their Facebook page. After taking a look, I was literally laughing out loud at my computer. A few more minutes in and it struck me how hilarious it would be to portray myself as a parody customer service rep. So, I did just that and the rest was history. Honestly, it was like striking comedy gold.  Every one of these people gave me the ammunition I needed for a great response.

Courtesy of Mike Melgaard
What has the response been like?
The response of this going viral has been nothing but fantastic! I always post material to my Facebook page for friends to laugh and smile at. It just makes my day when my friends and I can share laughter (even if it's over the Internet). But I must say, this is a whole new level. I had one amazing lady who told me she was chronically ill and that my posts have been making her days bearable. When I found out that I was providing genuine betterment to someone's day, that's when I literally said to myself: "I regret none of this." Talk about getting a heavy case of the "feels." 
Courtesy of Mike Melgaard
Do you consider your actions to be a form of activism?

 You know, at first this was just for fun. Something for my friends and I to laugh at. That being said, it seems as if I got really lucky and opened up some kind of gem here. Even when first seeing Target's headline, I assumed that this was maybe a movement for transgender people (which I would've equally supported). Of course, I did my due diligence and found out what this was really about and it had nothing to do with the topic. So, I guess in a way, I used humor to open up awareness over a subject which I wholeheartedly agree with. Am I a digital activist? I don't know, I just think I'm "Mike" and I do what I do. If people want to call me a digital activist, that's cool with me.  *Insert smiley face* 

Courtesy of Mike Melgaard
Is there anything else you want people to know?

I just want to say thank you to everyone for all of this support. Sure, it's just a "15 minutes of fame" kind of thing, but I really hope to make this into something much more. I love the community that spawned out of this one little trolling instance. Sometimes I get a little scared that our world is going to take a turn for the worst. Seeing people react the way they did off of this subject really leaves me with a newfound hope to keep us all on a good path. I would want nothing more than to be a part of that.

Courtesy of Mike Melgaard

Finally, though Melgaard's fake Target account was shut down less than a day after he created it, the company offered this cheeky, not-so-subtly supportive response to his work in a Facebook post of its own on Thursday:

Remember when Trolls were the kings of the world? Woo hoo! They're back and only at Target stores.

Posted by Target on Thursday, August 13, 2015

Want to see more from Melgaard? Follow him on Facebook.

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