Memoir & Narratives

10 Questions for Kohl’s About This Shirt

Note: This is a post published originally on a few years ago. Kohl’s did acknowledge my concerns with a post on Twitter. A subsequent catalog’s cover featured a shirt with a more positive message. Read about that shirt here.

I’m a middle school language arts teacher. When I found this catalog in my mailbox the day before my district’s in-service workshops began, I cringed. Why must a retailer encourage the “attitude” that we as educators are trained to discourage and prevent? Because I couldn’t be a bystander, here goes…

  1. Is this shirt supposed to be funny, Kohl’s? Because it’s really just mean.
  2. Did you know that back-to-school should be a time of building students up, not tearing them down? “Nobody cares” has no place in an environment structured for emotional growth and learning.
  3. Do you realize the clothing you sell affects the social climate? Sure, maybe we don’t read and reflect on messages like the one on this shirt, but I think our minds do absorb its spirit.
  4. Do you know this shirt also says “You don’t matter”? It extends the “Whatever!” attitude with an added dose of disdain and egotism.
  5. Do you know how a message like this can harm someone who’s having a bad day? I’m a middle school teacher. Messages like this are the last thing a middle schooler needs to see.
  6. Could you sell this shirt without the wording? Because it appears to have a nice fit and I like the longer length.
  7. Your buyers searched the markets for new back-to-school fashions, and this is the best they found? And then you put it on the cover of your catalog?
  8. Do you know that the world doesn’t need this shirt? We’ll all get along better if we don’t cover our bodies in snarky comments.
  9. Do you realize that people actually do care about other people? In fact, I contend there is a greater capacity for compassion among humans than there is for scorn.
  10. Do you really want to associate your brand with such disrespect? I didn’t think so. You’re better than that, Kohl’s.

Kohl’s acknowledged this post by tweeting a message that they would take my thoughts into consideration. A subsequent Kohl’s catalog showed a shirt with a kinder message. Here’s a post about that.

Ever see a product that makes you ask, “Why??????” Leave a message on my contact page to let me know I’m not alone.