By: Menalie Hyde
Since when did costume shopping become the most frightening thing about Halloween? This past week, discount retail giant Wal-Mart awoke some of it’s own demons when it imprudently named the women’s plus size costumes section on their website “Fat Girl Costumes.”
Following the release of this offensive category title on it’s website, social media began clicking, tweeting and beating down Wal-Mart for it’s rude insensitivity. The complaints were mainly done through Twitter, and in the height of this public relations crisis Wal-Mart sent out multiple apology tweets saying that it “never should have been on our site. It is unacceptable and we apologize. We worked quickly to remove this.”
Despite some extensive digging, it seems that was the only response Wal-Mart issued. For the offensiveness of this blunder and the already present weight insecurities many girls have, I don’t believe a few apologetic tweets were enough of a response. Moreover, Wal-Mart’s site boasts other notable other offensive outfits that include: the Native American and gypsy costumes, the “Fat Tinkerbell” dress, or the “Pashtun Papa” suit that even includes a long fake beard to meet all your politically incorrect needs. The description reads: “Our Afghan Pashtun Papa Costume features a long-sleeved beige top, matching beige pants, brown vest, Turban to match the vest and long grey beard. Nothing is sacred this Halloween. Shock your friends with this Islamic costume.”
Well, it’s obvious that Wal-Mart shocked someone with its offensive listings (though this was sold by a third party vendor) and apologized yet again via Facebook and Twitter: “We are deeply sorry this costume is on our Website,” a spokesperson commented, “and we are pulling it down as soon as possible.” Again, are a few remorseful posts on social media the most Wal-Mart can do to handle their PR crisis? In my opinion they should’ve held a press conference or at least somehow addressed the mistakes that were made, and what will be done next year to monitor the promotion of appropriate costumes. As a consumer, the apology posts seemed too inhuman and generic to be taken seriously, especially with the sensitive nature of the issue.
At least now Halloween is over; it seems Wal-Mart was more about the tricks than treats this year.
Image Source: Michelle Bryson and http://www.dailymail.co.uk