Walmart Issues Apology Due to ‘Fat Girl’ Costume Fiasco

Last Monday afternoon Wal-Mart removed a tab from their website labeled “Fat Girl Costumes” and issued an apology to the public. Due to some massive slipup this offensively named section was featured online when browsing Halloween costumes for plus sized women.

Wal-Mart says that this issue is more of an external incident instead of internal. The labels on Walmart.com are computer generated through high engine optimization effort to create labels that can be easily searched and found. The only problem with this is that it slipped completely by Wal-Mart associates for long enough for customers to view this atrocious label and respond to it on social media. Teenage blogger Ally states, “When you’re plus sized, Halloween can be downright scary,” she wrote. “Not the ghost and ghouls, but finding a costume.”

This label is embarrassing to Wal-Mart and a publicity disaster. Not only plus sized women but people everywhere will not respond well to this options of Halloween costumes. I wonder how much this will affect Wal-mart sales and customers in the future. There is nothing that Wal-Mart can say at this point in response except apologies. What do you think about this fiasco? Is it Wal-Mart’s fault or the technical people in charge of making sure the website is running with no labeling mistakes and all. Should people take so much offense to something that was a mistake?

Wal-Mart has taken the blow somewhat elegantly, responding to any and all statements regarding the “fat girl costumes” section. I assume after the backlash it will not be an option that is featured on the website again in the future.

References:

Wilson, M. (2014, October 29). Walmart: ‘Fat Girl’ costume section ‘should have never been on our site’ Retrieved October 29, 2014, from http://www.prdaily.com/socialmedia/Articles/17517.aspx

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5 thoughts on “Walmart Issues Apology Due to ‘Fat Girl’ Costume Fiasco

  1. No matter what system is used to generate the labels on these sections, they should be thoroughly checked before ever being published. This is completely Wal-Mart’s fault.

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  2. It is truly a fiasco. Normally, those sections will be named with words such as “curvy” or “plus-size” so as to be less offensive and to respect individuals with different body shapes. However, this was a careless mistake for Walmart although it might genuinely be an external fault like computer generated SEO or important keywords that the computer insensitively chose. I still think that it was Walmart’s mistake and they should be more meticulous and check on details before launching the website.

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  3. I think that this incident will harm Walmart because the term “fat girl” is typically used as a derogatory term versus the term “plus size” which is generally used for size. I think that Walmart should do more to publicly apologize instead of just simply removing the site.

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  4. I agree with Caitlin. The way Wal-Mart handled the situation, which was entirely their fault, was not satisfactory. In a society where body image is a huge issue, they really should be careful about what terms they use and how they communicate to the public.

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  5. Body size is such a sensitive topic and even the words “plus size” could invoke negative feelings. Not only was this careless of Walmart but I also believe that it was handled poorly even after the problem was identified. This will negatively effect Walmart on top of their poor treatment and unfair pay of their employees.

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