It’s been 5 days since I posted “Kmart Stigmatizes Children With Mental Illness – Selling Offensive T-shirts.” It was more of my own personal rant because I was shocked at the advertisement in a K-mart flyer. In the published promotion, Juniors’ tees were being sold for $9.89 with what I felt was a stigmatizing message. I took a picture and posted it in the blog post linked above.
On the first shirt it says, “I’M NOT CRAZY! MY IMAGINARY FRIENDS CAN PROVE IT!” And the second T-shirt said: “GONE CRAZY, BACK IN 5 Minutes.”
While my Facebook friends got a little vocal (see quotes below)… My twitter peeps took it even a step further. After receiving an e-mail about my post, Founder, President and Host of The Coffee Klatch* brought the problem right to the source!
Soon, more and more twitter peeps tweeted the image and before long @Kmart responded, “We apologize that you feel that way Marianne, but thank you for the feedback. I will report your comments to Apparel. -J”
That’s when I went to work calling Kmart. Starting with Customer Service then to Retail Customer Care. I talked to someone named Kevin and I pleaded my case and he created a case number. I was then sent over to Sears Holdings Corporation (Sears owns Kmart). Once again, I was passed along to their Social Media Service via e-mail.
No more the 5 minutes later I got an e-mail:
Dear Chato Stewart,
Please be advised your issue has been addressed and case 5890096 has been closed. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us by replying to this email or via phone.
Sears Holdings Retail Customer Care
WHAT?! How could it be closed?! I got back on the phone. This time I got Ellen in Sears Holdings Retail Customer Care who, after 15 minutes or more, admitted she had no idea what to do or who to send me to next.
I couldn’t help thinking I was just being passed around so I would give up.
Ellen did give me one gem though. She said the only way to get in touch with the Social Media department is via Twitter and/or Facebook. Well, my attempts via Facebook were futile. In fact, my request was deleted off their wall. I then sent 3 e-mail replies to Sears Holdings Retail Customer Care department, and went to work on twitter. I tweeted 3 times and even included the case number. I wanted to find out what they were going to do about the offensive t-shirts.
It was almost 24 hours before I get some closure both via e-mail and on twitter.
Dear Chato B Stewart,
Thank you for your recent correspondence. We are always interested in hearing from our customers, and regret it was this type of situation that prompted you to contact us. We apologize for the frustrating experience you encountered at our store regarding these tee shirts.
We strive to provide products that our customers want, and as a result, our customers can currently choose from over 12 million products. We are removing some items and we are reviewing other merchandise to determine which content meet the policies set forth by our marketplace guidelines.
We sincerely appreciate your feedback and want you to know that you have been heard.
And On Twitter:
Yes, through social media, we were able to make the Juggernaut Kmart/Sears go to work on destigmatizing mental health…I checked the site, the image is in their flyer but I could not find it on their website. Chalk one up for the little guy!
K.D. Says: I don’t care for the T shirts either…maybe I don’t have a sense of humor or whatever…I HATE it when mental illness (of any kind) is treated as a joke. It isn’t a joke and should be taken more seriously!
S.A. Says: I agree with you entirely Chato: – people with mental health problems are stigmatised enough as it is, without encouraging children to perpetuate the stigma (and making money from it!). Especially by making fun of experiences that are very distressing for those who have to live with them. What I find frightening – if these derogatory slogans were aimed at ethnic groups there would be an uproar – but somehow when it’s aimed at disabled people, it’s ok. So thanks for pointing this out, and like you I say, no tolerance to this!
Chato B Stewart Says: I asked Kmart via fB to respond to my blog post… I wanted to be fair… they deleted my question… So I guess no answer is an answer.
M.W. Says: That kind of inconsiderateness (deleting your post instead of responding) is one of the reasons Kmart is going down the tubes.
J.T. thank-you Chato. you are right. they did wrong.
Elizabeth Says: I want one of thos shirts (I added her comment to be fair…lol)
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wearemore (February 24, 2012)
chatobstewart (February 24, 2012)
Mindy SchwartzBrown (February 24, 2012)
Kmart Taking Action On Offensive T-shirts – PsychCentral.com (February 24, 2012)
K.Randle, PhD, LCSW (February 24, 2012)
bryon etter (February 24, 2012)
CB Stewart (February 24, 2012)
chatobstewart (February 24, 2012)
TheMadvocates (February 25, 2012)
Stephanie Rexroth (February 26, 2012)
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Psych Central Week in Review Video #5 | World of Psychology (February 27, 2012)
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