Selling A Swastika Product Turns Out To Be A Branding Problem For Sears

Screen grab of the listing for the swastika ring that was for sale on Sears' website.
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October 14, 2014 12:27 pm
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The people who run the Twitter account for Sears department stores spent most of the past 24 hours trying to explain why one of the company’s websites had been selling rings emblazoned with a swastika.

The stream of tweets mostly included a boilerplate explanation blaming it on a “3rd party merchant,” but occasionally it branched out into the surreal, including an appeal for someone going by the name “unicorn” to renew his or her faith in the Sears brand.

Before the product was removed, Jewish parenting site Kveller was able to get a screenshot of the listing (shown above), which was classified as part of the retailer’s “men’s punk rock style” jewelry collection.

The ring was described as a “gothic jewelry item” made of “.925 Thai silver.” Of the swastika emblazoned on it, the description noted that it was “not for Neo Nazi or any Nazi implication. These jewelry items are going to make you look beautiful at your next dinner date.”

Here’s a sampling from the Sears Twitter stream, but the whole thing is worth a look:

By late Tuesday morning, the company issued a longer statement on its website, including an apology, and began referring people on Twitter to it.

“Like many who have connected with our company, we are outraged that more than one of our independent third-party sellers posted offensive items on Sears Marketplace,” the statement said. “We sincerely apologize that these items were posted to our site and want you to know that the ring was not posted by Sears, but by independent third-party vendors.”

The ring was also being sold on Amazon.com, according to Haaretz, but was listed as unavailable.

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