It is not uncommon for retailers to get caught selling items that offend people, but two brands are doing what they can to make their merchandise selection less offensive to customers. Both Vans and Walmart have been taken to task on some of their more questionable wares and both retailers are making steps to correct their blunders.
Vans was taken to task over a T-shirt picturing a First Nations-inspired totem pole…made out of beer cans. One with even a minimal grasp of history knows that such imagery could be construed as perpetuating the stereotype of the drunken Indian. After a Change.org petition by Vancouver’s Chad Girardin called for Vans to remove the shirt, the label agreed to stop selling it and released a statement on its Facebook page. Of course, Vans stressed that it never meant to be offensive and has since removed the shirt from its website.
Walmart is also clearing its own stock of offensive symbolism, as the retailer has announced plans to stop selling Confederate flag memorabilia. The Charleston shootings are the catalyst for this action, as it seems the folks at Walmart have only just realized that the flag represents a shameful time in American history that should not be celebrated or repeated. “We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer,” a spokesperson said. “We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the Confederate flag from our assortment – whether in our stores or on our website.” Sad that it took the high-profile deaths of nine innocent people for Walmart to realize how problematic the imagery is in the first place.