Walmart Nazi Tshirt Watch: Week 12

12 weeks after t-shirts bearing Nazi insignia were discovered in Walmart, the retailer has yet to remove them from all their stores, despite initial promises to do so within days.

This week, Hayden has a very interesting confrontation in Valdosta, GA. He tells a customer service manager, Rhonda, that the shirts were recalled due to the Nazi symbol. Rhonda takes them off, but then her manager, Tim, tells Rhonda to put them back on the shelf on as he hasn’t received any email about them. Hayden calls corporate to complain, and within minutes Tim receives a letter from the President ordering him to remove the shirts.

…Jonathan takes the totenkuchen with a series of delightful portraits at a Walmart in Marietta, GA.

…and Associate Editor Meghann Marco embarrasses a Walmart store manager in Elgin, IL.

Their stories and pictures, inside…

Rob on 2/04/07 in Hamilton, NJ writes:

When I asked one of the workers about it – she folded up the shirt I had taken down, put it back and the shelf and said “Ok….ok…will look into it…..”

Meghann on 2/05/07 in Elgin, IL writes:

meghannmarco: ok so
meghannmarco: The t-shirts were there
meghannmarco: and one of them was marked “RECALL CANT SELL”
meghannmarco: chris tried to buy it
benpopken: interesting
meghannmarco: the manager looked embarassed and wouldn’t sell it
meghannmarco: she said “It must be something wrong with the material.”
benpopken: certainly is
meghannmarco: And wouldn’t make eye contact
meghannmarco: we have some camera phone pics
meghannmarco: Wal-Mart Store #1814 – 1001 North Randall Road – Elgin, IL 60123 – (847) 468-9600
meghannmarco: I can’t believe they were actually marked recall

Hayden on 2/05/07 in Valdosta, GA writes:

So I went to WalMart tonight, Walmart #899 in Valdosta, GA.

Guess what I spotted in the men’s t-shirt display? You guessed it.

This is how it went down:

I went to Customer Service with one of the lovely shirts in question and asked to speak to a manager. Rhonda, a ‘CSM’ (Customer Service Manager), approached me and I explained that Wal-Mart Corporate had promised to stop selling these t-shirts because they mistakenly used a Nazi symbol in the design, but somehow they remained on the shelves here. I accompanied her to the t-shirt rack where we collected all the shirts. We returned to Customer Service where we met Tim, one of the store Assistant Managers. I explained the situation and asked him to remove the shirts as promised. He disappeared for a few moments into the back office and then returned. He stated he had no email regarding these shirts and that they had not ‘been recalled’. He then directed Rhonda to replace the shirts and asked me to direct any further to the Home Office at 1-800-Wal-Mart.

I immediately called 1-800-Wal-Mart and spoke with a Customer Relations representative (6 minute hold time), I explained the situation and she said she would forward it to upper management for future action and that I could expect a follow-up call in the next couple days. I was not satisfied though. I decided I would try to buy the shirts, knowing full well they would not ring up, and that Rhonda and then Tim would need to be summoned again. But I thought once they saw that they could not be sold, maybe then they would take them off the floor. I felt bad putting the check-out attendant and the people in line behind me in the middle of this, but finally after seeing ‘No Sale Allowed’, Rhonda called Tim, who relented and pulled the shirts off the shelf. About fifteen minutes later, Tim found me in the store and asked for my name and number. Someone at the Home Office at 1-800-Wal-Mart had contacted him and forwarded him a letter from the President of the company regarding the shirts. He apologized and said the shirts would not be put out again and that he needed my information for any follow-up that might be required.

I have included photos of the t-shirts on the shelf, one with me, and one with the CSM Rhonda putting the shirts back on the shelf after Tim, the Assistant Manager, said that the nazi logo shirts had not been ‘recalled’ and that he hadn’t gotten any sort of message about them. Interestingly when Rhonda put them up, she put the paper display in sideways.

Jonathan on 2/06/07 in Marrieta, GA writes:

A few shots of the shirt found at a Wal-Mart in Marietta, GA. Also, one with a cat, and several of me holding the shirt, displaying the myriad of emotions that only a crazy rollercoaster of a Nazi t-shirt half-assed recall can bring. Enjoy!

Lykan on 2/07/07 in Phoenix, AZ writes:

Yo Ben went to Wal-mart today and while looking thru the shirts found the Nazi shirt. Thought I’d share it with you! This picture was taken 02/07/07. Later.


Recent updates to this story.


Edit Your Comment

  1. amazon says:

    I really can’t get enough of this story.

    (I’m not kidding or sarcastic)

  2. DieBrucke says:

    The sentence,

    This week, Hayden has a very interest confrontation in Valdosta, GA.

    is gibberish. You should change the tense of the verb, “to have,” to the past tense and change “interest” to “interesting.”

  3. FLConsumer says:

    Considering Mal-Wart sells perishable foods in many of their stores, I’m glad this isn’t recalled food we’re talking about here.

  4. ElizabethD says:

    I agree with Amazon… I just love the Totenkopf T-shirt saga.

    DieBrucke: The “Hayden has” construction you object to is actually an accepted convention in journalism and other writing genres. It is referred to as “the historical present.” It lends a sense of immediacy. I almost always used it — except in actual hard-news stories — when I wrote magazine features.

    We’ll assume the “interest” blooper was a simple typo.

  5. Pelagius says:

    “RECALL CAN’T SELL” – Nice of them to take the time to write that on each shirt, rather than take the easy way out and just pull them from the shelf.

  6. phrygian says:

    This might be the best update on this story yet. The “Recall Can’t Sell” photos are priceless and Jonathan’s photos add just the right flair. Count me as one of the few who aren’t tired of this saga.

  7. olegna says:

    OK, guys, I’ve complained about this and I’ll complain again. I recognize the skull and crossbones because my grandfather was in the 45th Infantry Division (one of the first of the Americans to enter Berlin as the Third Reich was being smashed to bits) and has pics of some rather mean looking SS hats with that same icon in silver.

    But, seriously, I think it’s much ado about nothing. It’s a Jolly Rogers. It’s like a biker dude who wears one of those Nazi helmets — the symbolism is re-contextualized from “Jew killer” to “tough dude on a Harley” (Wasn’t one of Snoopy’s alter egos a Kaizer Baron?).

    Besides, all this hype is practically turning these shirts into campy collectors items.

  8. royal72 says:

    dass ist eine nazi conspirazy i tell you, heil hitler!

  9. karmaghost says:

    After seeing one of the previous posts, I went around my local Wal-Mart looking for the shirt. I didn’t find it or a space that could have previously housed it. Oh well.

  10. Myron says:

    Good post. You have to wonder just what kind of motivation it would take for Walmart to remove the shirts from all the stores.

    Ben, you’ve been on national news a few times now (I think). Have you tried feeding them this story?

  11. faust1200 says:

    I’m actually motivated to try to get one of these shirts before they are extinct. Maybe that’s Walmarts tactic! Anyway, I’m Jewish so it’s ok. Heh.

  12. faust1200 says:

    Well some bad, I mean good news. No Nazishirt at my local Walmart. I haven’t felt this deflated since the final day of the OJ trial.

  13. perfectly_cromulent says:

    I agree, amazon, I can’t get enough of this story!
    This has to be the best update yet.
    It’s high time I went and checked my local Wal-Marts…

  14. MarchDancer says:

    Agreed. I figured it would all be over by the time I can get to my local Wal-Mart on Monday (the 12th). Perhaps not at this rate. Think I’ll bring along my digital camera just in case.

    Sorry, Olegna, I do not see those Nazi helmets as anything other than a Nazi helmet, not as a bad dude on a Harley feeling his oats.

  15. HadassahWeinreb says:

    It’s no suprise that in KKK-ville, the belly of the Bible Belt, these shirts are still being sold.