You know, people joke about back-to-school supplies every year. Usually, the joke “back-to-school” item is some sort of alcoholic beverage. (And sometimes it’s not a joke)
But we think that we’ve now seen the absolute worst, most tasteless back-to-school advertisement that the world has to offer.
As if Walmart needed more bad publicity, after one of their online product descriptions included the n-word.
So, a lot of seasonal displays in stores aren’t for holidays.
Back-to-school shopping is huge.
Students need to be prepared for the new school year, and have often already been given lists by teachers on what sorts of materials they’ll need and in what quantities.
Sometimes those lists will include a request for extra supplies for the classroom, like tissue boxes or extra staples.
It’s important because extra supplies can benefit classrooms and teachers in what are often underfunded school districts.
It can be fun for students, because who doesn’t like having a new set of pens and an abundance of fresh notebooks and folders?
One particular Walmart appeared to have a very unorthodox idea of what constitutes “back to school shopping” … and nobody was laughing.
A display advertising guns (which, yes, you can just buy at a Walmart) presented them as back-to-school items.
And it was made even worse by this particular line:
“Own the school year like a hero.”
Needless (we hope) to say, this is horrifying.
Not only are guns banned from most campuses for obvious reasons.
But the mass shooting epidemic here in the US has not left schools untouched.
From Columbine to Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook to, unfortunately, countless other schools, school shootings have ended lives and ruined others.
The image of the Walmart display went viral.
People shared it because it was horrifying.
It is very possible that no one was more horrified than Walmart themselves, who tweeted their shock and condemnation of the display and released a statement disavowing it:
“What’s seen in this photograph would never be acceptable in our stores.”
Remember, the higher-ups at Walmart do very little to manage the day-to-day operations within stores.
But obviously someone at that store exercised almost unimaginably poor judgment.
“We regret this situation and are looking into how it could have happened.”
Walmart’s Charles Crowson told CNN that Walmart is actively trying to locate the store that held this display and ensure that it’s down.
Which means that Walmart cannot currently confirm that the display is no longer up.
We have to imagine, though, that someone at that store scrambled to take it down.
It’s difficult to picture Walmart not firing someone over that.
As a general rule, you never want to be the one who makes the higher ups at your company have to issue apologies.
Walmart is a massive company with approximately one bajillion stores, so the search could take a while.
Especially if the store manager who let this happen feels terrified and feigns ignorance in the hopes that this story will just die down.