Note: This is a post published originally on Medium.com 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…
- Is this shirt supposed to be funny, Kohl’s? Because it’s really just mean.
- 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.
- 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.
- Do you know this shirt also says “You don’t matter”? It extends the “Whatever!” attitude with an added dose of disdain and egotism.
- 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.
- Could you sell this shirt without the wording? Because it appears to have a nice fit and I like the longer length.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.