It takes a lot to shock us, but this news is pretty appalling. UK mega retailer Tesco is apologizing for selling a "Gay Best Friend" blowup toy following complaints that the item was offensive. Wow, you think? The product has since been removed, but what we don't understand is how this kind of mishap still happens in 2013. Are there not quality control measures in place? Let's take a look at the specs of the offending toy. Keep in mind, this was being sold not at a lame gimmick shop, but at Great Britain's #1 retailer.
"The Inflatable g*y Best Friend" doll [NOTE: The (*) came straight from the product description; we can't make this stuff up!) wearing a pink shirt and shorts and is marketed as an "amusing gift" for 3 to 4 year olds (just wow). The sad product description is filled with outdated stereotypes and middle school-level jokes. "If Sex in the City and Will & Grace taught us anything, it's that g*y best friends are in this season," the trolling text reads, somehow unaware of the decade it exists within. Then there's a series of misguided style comments about "manbags," "big bums," and Jimmy Choos, proving that the product is not only offensive but ineptly marketed. There's nothing clever about it.
Tesco has already apologized for the product's inclusion on their site, but can't explain how it managed to remain on there available for purchase two months after it was ostensibly removed. They blame a third party seller who apparently slipped through the cracks. "We have very clear guidelines for third party sellers who list items on our website, and are very sorry that on this occasion they weren't followed," the retailer's spokesperson said in a statement. Reportedly, you can still buy this doll on Amazon (but we're not going to give it any more free marketing).
The best thing to come out of this merchandising disaster is the spot-on retort from Gay rights charity Stonewall chief Ben Summerskill, who mocked the product's failure as the equivalent of "selling ice to Eskimos."
"We can't imagine why any woman would choose to buy an inflatable gay best friend when there are two million of the real thing already available in modern Britain and most of them are much better looking than Tesco's pale imitation." Amazing.