Walmart Nazi Shirts In Chicago Tribune, Thanks To Our Readers

Walmart’s Nazi Tshirts are in the Chicago Tribune, and drawing the ire of members of Congress, thanks to the dogged flow sightings and pictures by Consumerist readers published on this site.

In a letter to Wal-Mart Chief Executive H. Lee Scott Jr., Schakowsky (D-Ill.) asked company officials to tell Congress what steps they are taking to remove the remaining shirts that display the Nazi Totenkopf–the “death head” emblem worn by soldiers in Adolf Hitler’s personal guard–from store shelves. Twenty-one other lawmakers from both parties also signed the letter.

“Everyone agreed that these shirts have to go, including Wal-Mart; it’s just that they didn’t do anything about it,” Schakowsky said. “Either at the time they really weren’t serious, or their capacity to do that is limited, which makes one wonder about recalls of potentially dangerous products.”

…Despite the corporate order, it appears the shirts were never removed from at least three dozen of Wal-Mart’s 3,300 U.S. stores, according to Consumerist.com, which has been tracking discoveries of the shirts….

…Yet as recently as Thursday, bloggers at Consumerist.com were fielding reports from readers who said they had successfully purchased the shirts from Wal-Marts.

“The average blue-vest employee just isn’t aware of it,” said Consumerist.com editor Ben Popken, who explained that when bar codes failed, readers…”


… easily persuaded employees to scan similarly priced items, or did so themselves at self-checkout counters.

Popken says he also blames unconscientious fashion designers, who likely saw the emblem of death as just another in-vogue skull-and-crossbones design, with the added bonus of being a copyright-free image. “The skull-and-crossbones is popular,” he said, “but designers need to be aware of the history of the iconography that they’re appropriating ad hoc.”

Consumerist readers, for the win. A great example of the power of blogs to make a difference. With our low overhead, we’re able to stick with a story and follow it through to the bitter end, even after the AP and CNN wrote it off as a done deal. We collected reports from readers across the country, slowly compiling evidence of Walmart’s unwillingness and/or inability to properly conduct a product recall. A hill source tells us that Walmart Watch, who reads The Consumerist, were the ones that tipped off Schakowsky’s office.

Presumably after the issue reached a peak (we think mention of the issue in our recent article in the New York Times probably was the catalyst), they were able to point to our mountain of evidence and get Schakowsky, and the members of Congress who joined her, involved.

Way to go peoples. Looking forward to seeing how we can apply what we learned from this campaign to the next one. — BEN POPKEN

Wal-Mart under fire again for T-shirts with Nazi logo [Chicago Tribune]

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Backstory.

Comments

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  1. branwellington says:

    It’s horrible for Walmart to sell these shirts. They are offensive and extremely distasteful. As consumers, we should (and did) notify them that we won’t put up with this level of insensitivity. But do we really want Congress weighing in on what clothing we can and can’t sell (and, by extension, wear)?

    We’re all patting ourselves on the back right now because it’s Walmart (boo hiss!) and it’s Nazis (boo hiss!). But this is a slippery slope.

  2. “Either at the time they really weren’t serious, or their capacity to do that is limited, which makes one wonder about recalls of potentially dangerous products.” emphasis mine

    Particularly since there were shirts on shelves after that New Mexico Paper ran the story. I would have thought that once there was mainstream press back on this story they would have yanked the shirts.

  3. GenXCub says:

    Does that make us, as commenters… action news?? Résumé time!

  4. Chris says:

    Molehill conquered.

  5. bigswingdaddy says:

    That’s it.

    All Store managers who haven’t pulled these need to be lined up against the wall and shot.

    /sarcasm

  6. Myron says:

    branwellington,

    Apparently your complaint to Walmart did not result in Walmart removing the shirts. Perhaps when Congress issues the request, Walmart will take it more seriously.

    I don’t want Congress to forbid the selling of a tshirt. That’s not what is happening. Instead, members of Congress are either expressing their personal outrage or giving a voice to the concerns of their constituents. Either way, that’s ok by me.

  7. Commenters, I think, would qualify as Scout Reporters.

  8. AcidReign says:

    …..There are some cool T-shirts at my local Walmart, but they pulled the Nazi one as soon as the story broke. My son is ticked that evidently, they’re not selling the “Where my Peeps at?” shirt, anymore, either. What’s up with that?

  9. weave says:

    I was surprised it took the press so long to catch on though. Perhaps Consumerist should start issuing press releases. Reporters love when they can just copy/paste from a press release.

  10. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    “But of course we’ll pull these from the shelves as soon as well sell the $3,000,000 worth of them that we still have in our warehouse.”

  11. fortheprofit says:

    Why does it matter? This country supports free speech. We should let the free market reign in situations likes this.

    The point you should be making, I suppose, is that it makes Wal-Mart look bad to its customers.

  12. no.no.notorious says:

    freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of criticism

    or freedom from loosing support