Sometimes businesses make mistakes. When a company puts itself out in public, it’s bound to do something or sell something that offends someone. It’s not possible to please everyone. But one supermarket found itself in hot water when it posted a sign that customers found “offensive” and proceeded to apologize for the message that was placed in the feminine care aisle.
The supermarket with the offensive sign was located at a Tesco store in Kensington, London, UK, and was posted above menstrual products. The store was called for urging customers to report anyone who is caught stealing tampons and other menstrual products because they have become a high-theft item in London.
The sign was simple and read: “Help us build safer communities. Report shoplifting to a member of staff.”
Because the sign was posted near the female products, people felt that the Tesco location was targeting women in its anti-theft campaign. This outraged some people who promptly shared criticisms of it online.
“Shoplifting isn’t the problem. It’s the fact that sanitary products aren’t free and accessible to those who menstruate,” The Angry Two-Spirit wrote on Twitter.
The message came as a response to the first person who ousted Tesco for the sign, sharing a snap of it along with the note: “We really need a genuine conversation as a society about what ‘safety’ means.”
Tesco has since admitted it was “very sorry” for posting the sign near the tampons.
Since the incident, a spokesperson for Tesco reached out to Buzzfeed and issued the following statement, trying to right their wrongs.
“We know that the cost of buying essential sanitary products can be a real struggle for some, which is why we were the first retailer to cover the cost of the ‘tampon tax’ (also known as the ‘pink tax’) to make these items more affordable. We want everyone to feel welcome in our stores and are very sorry for any offense caused.”
Another person countered with the following comment: “If the government can offer free condoms, then they should offer free sanitary products.”
Women who menstruate require sanitary products to get about with their days. However, these items can add a burdensome expense to the lives of women and girls. Men, on the other hand, never have to deal with buying such sanitary products for their own needs. This imbalance makes some feminists question why companies, like the makers of Tampax, are profiting off the menstrual cycle of women who have no choice but to go through the ordeal of their monthly period. Should women really be expected to pay for sanitary products that they require to live a normal and healthy life?
Some women, especially those who are homeless or destitute, struggle to acquire the necessary sanitary products when they go about their days. Fortunately, some good-hearted people donate these products to homeless shelters and other organizations which distribute them to women in need.
What do you think about Tesco’s anti-theft sign near the sanitary products? Do you agree that it was offensive?
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