Retail conglomerate Walmart found itself at the center of an unfortunate oversight in October causing a major backlash from consumers. The retailer’s site featured a Halloween costume category, titled “Fat Girl Costumes.”
The “Fat Girl Costume” section featured many of the same outfits as the Women’s plus-size section, which garnered speculation that the web developer created the section as a “joke” and neglected to change it before the page went live.
The unfortunate and offensive error remained on the site for several hours until a customer pointed out the distasteful category title. Jezebel was the first to report the story after they received a tip from a reader who was searching for a festive Halloween costume. Walmart was unaware of the category title until backlash from social media started to gain traction.
Following the social media outrage, Walmart immediately took down the “Fat Girl” category after the page was available for nearly three hours and then started on their numerous apologies.
“We first heard about it this morning — our teams immediately engaged, we’re working to remove it as soon as possible and make sure it never happens again,” Walmart spokesman Ravi Jariwala said.
“This never should have been on our site. It is unacceptable, and we apologize,” Jariwala added. “We are working to remove it as soon as possible and ensure this never happens again.”
Walmart did not only have Jariwala issue a statement, but the company took to social media to try to combat some of the damage. Walmart replied to an abundance of angry consumers on Twitter sending messages like, “This never should have been on our site. It is unacceptable and we apologize.” The company also made sure all the tweets had a signature of the employee tweeting the message to ensure a more personal approach.
This isn’t the first controversial and offensive item that has appeared on Walmart’s website. The site has featured an American Indian parody costume, a fat male Tinkerbell costume and an entire section dedicated to “Gypsy” costumes that created a negative repercussion from consumers.
Walmart has had quite the week trying to apologize and fix the unfortunate “joke” that gained so much negative attention. Do you think Walmart handled the situation correctly? What do you think Walmart should have done differently?