Big Fat Screw Up

(Image courtesy of flickr.com)

Walmart. Always a target. Always.

Walmart is no stranger to controversy whether it is from their employment practices, their paid wages, where their stuff is made, or any other reason you can think of. Recently their online site has come under criticism for something posted that may, or may not, have been intentional. Either way, everyone can agree that the newest flub is quite a big fat screw-up.

According to an article from ABCnews.com’s Joanna Prisco, Walmart’s “plus-size” section for women’s costumes aggregated the category and labeled it as “Fat Girl Costumes” (Prisco, 2014). The labeling seems to have been quite the oversight for the company that specializes in offering products in one place for affordable prices.

(Image courtesy of buisnessinsider.com)

October 21 was the date of the original offense. Walmart’s Twitter responded within the hour saying, “Your comments and suggestions are important to us and help make Walmart even better. Thank you. –Nao” (Prisco, 2014). Walmart apparently took care of the mistake at that time.

An employee either must have it out for the company or is extremely bored because the label appeared again six days later on October 27 (Prisco, 2014). Since it happened again, various media have reported on it making it national news. Walmart removed later that day.

According to another article on BusinessInsider.com, Walmart replied, “This should never have been on our site. It is unacceptable, and we apologize. We are working to remove it as soon as possible and ensure this never happens again” (Peterson, 2014).

Regardless of Walmart’s removal, reactions on social media site, Twitter, are still negative:

Walmart’s handling of the situation seems to be more of a Band-Aid than a real solution. A real solution might involve making one category for the costume and allowing the consumer to purchase regular sizes and plus sizes from a single page that way there isn’t a category that leaves itself open to mistakes like this.

Thankfully, Walmart is not alone in their online faux pas. Target also had a recent mishap. Hayley Peterson (2014) from BusinessInsider.com writes, “The company’s website listed a dress in the color ‘manatee grey’ for plus sizes and in ‘dark heather grey’ for standard sizes.” Target then removed the dress once a customer complained over Twitter (Peterson, 2014).

There are countless other examples of other companies bungling products online as well if one searches for it. The question is whether or not someone at Walmart intentionally did this as a joke or if it was an honest mistake. It’s hard to make a case for someone just posting “fat girls” as a mistake in these modern times of political correctness and sensitivity, but it’s certainly possible.

What do the readers of this blog think?  Was it a joke or mistake?

References

Peterson, H. (2014, October 27). People Are Furious About Wal-Mart’s ‘Fat Girl Costumes’ Retrieved October 27, 2014, from http://www.businessinsider.com/wal-mart-sells-fat-girl-costumes-2014-10#comments

Prisco, J. (2014, October 27). Are ‘Fat Girl Costumes’ on Walmart Site a Halloween Trick? Retrieved October 27, 2014, from http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/fat-girl-costumes-walmart-site-halloween-trick/story?id=26485549

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5 thoughts on “Big Fat Screw Up

  1. I would say that this shocks me, but it does not. Walmart is just “that type” of company. They have no sense of empathy, sympathy, or any other “real” emotion that any other human being would have expressed. On top of that, I am more shocked with Walmart’s PR, marketing, and advertising team. I mean come on, who misses this. And then to address the matter is such a lazy unprofessional way. Wow Walmart…wow…

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  2. This is horrible. Even looking past the fact that someone actually created a section of the site and labeled it “Fat Girl Costumes,” Walmart is a large enough organization that somebody else should have spotted it and removed it before more than a handful of public users ever laid eyes on it. Also, apologizing and changing the section back to “plus size” is obviously not going to be enough, and I’m surprised that Walmart hasn’t done anything further to try to repair its image.

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  3. I too agree. Walmart needs to be sensitive to the esteems of its clientele. Calling the section “fat girl costumes” is not classy and is in really poor taste. Walmart caters to a wide demographic, yes, but that does not mean the company should be so crass as to call out its consumers and make them feel worse about themselves.

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  4. In this day and age, it seems like most companies would be hyper-sensitive to every demographic of its clientele, since our society is becoming increasingly politically correct and observant. This seems like a huge and extremely obvious mistake to make. Aside from changing the category to “Plus Size,” Walmart should take some action to both make sure this type of mistake never happens again, and to also offer some sympathy to those that were offended by the post.

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  5. This may not have been a joke, but a huge over-look, how does a corporation make the mistake of posting that online. Not even that, but how did they hire someone that labels merchandise on their company website as ‘fat girls’. This is bad PR for Walmart, but bad PR is not knew to the company. Even though this is a huge mistake, I do not think it will effect the company sales or whether customers choose to shop there or not. I think people will shop at Walmart no matter what.

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