Lululemon Tries To Inspire Buffalo Sports Fans, Enrages Them Instead

What does it take to get the attention of an athleticwear company that has offended an entire region? A Twitter campaign, perhaps along with a slow news week. Lululemon installed what they thought was an inspiring mosaic at the entrance to their store in Buffalo, NY. Instead, they learned that dredging up near misses is actually quite upsetting to sports fans.

What does “Wide Right/No Goal” mean, anyway? They’re two separate phrases. “Wide Right” refers to the missed field goal that kept the Buffalo Bills from winning the 1991 Super Bowl. “No goal” refers to the game-winning goal in triple overtime during Game 6 of the 1999 Stanley Cup, which many Buffalo Sabres fans believe was a bad call and shouldn’t have been allowed.

There is more overlap between football and hockey fans and yoga enthusiasts than one might think. Also, there are multiple ways to read both phrases: they could remind athletes to stay focused, even in the face of bad luck or unfairness. The mosaic sat there peacefully until a Bills fan living in North Carolina learned about it. She was not pleased, whipping up a Twitter furor.

This is where it’s worth noting that the Lululemon store at this mall has been open since May 2014, and the mosaic has been there that entire time. In fact, the photo at the top of this post was taken in May. Maybe people no longer shop at malls, or no one found the mosaic noteworthy enough to complain to Lululemon about it. Maybe the chain received a few individual complaints, and it took a Twitter furor for the company to realize that maybe this was not such a good idea for a decoration. Then again, if the complainers weren’t Lululemon customers or didn’t live in Buffalo, do their opinions matter?

The store manager explained to the Buffalo News that the company had actually done two years’ worth of market research on Buffalo before building a store there, and these phrases seemed to be a “rallying cry,” something that athletes might find inspiring. “It was meant to capture our passion and our spirit as a proud, sports-crazy town,” she explained.

The manager also posted a statement on the store’s Facebook page explaining that the mosaic will be removed.

Hello fellow Buffalonians, yogis, athletes and friends,

My name is Pam and I am the store manager for lululemon athletica in the Walden Galleria. I want to speak on behalf of myself, my team and our company by saying we have heard your feedback and we are sorry. We strive to make our stores a welcoming place for the entire community and our goal was and is to represent Buffalo as the proud and passionate sports town that we are. We get that our entrance floor mosaic didn’t land well, and we are going to make it right. We have covered up the mosaic and are having it removed. You continue to inspire us and we look forward to sweating and sharing with you everyday. We are One Buffalo.

with (buffa)love, the lululemon athletica Walden Galleria team

Overreaction? Maybe. If you visit the store today, the offending mosaic is covered with a rug.

Buffalonians cry foul over Lululemon’s ‘wide right, ‘no goal’ mosaic [Buffalo News]