Walmart Apologizes for Sign Advertising Guns as Back-to-School Item – New York Times

By MATT STEVENSAugust 10, 2017

Walmart officials are apologizing after a photograph surfaced online of a company sign that appeared to promote guns as essential back-to-school purchases.

The image, which came to the retailer’s attention on social media on Wednesday morning, shows the sign placed directly above a glass case filled with firearms; it urges customers to “own the school year like a hero.”

Many who saw it quickly took to Twitter to attack the company’s messaging and taste. In response, members of Walmart’s social media team took pains to respond to its many critics, saying they were “very sorry” and calling the situation “truly horrible.”

“What’s seen in this photograph would never be acceptable in our stores,” Walmart said in a statement on Thursday. “We regret this situation and are looking into how it could have happened.”

In a telephone interview on Thursday evening, a Walmart spokesman said officials were still trying to figure out which store the sign may have been placed in and had not ruled out the possibility that the image itself had been “digitally enhanced.”

“We’re looking into every possible scenario,” the spokesman, Charles Crowson, said. Among them: that the sign had been placed above the gun display by a customer as a prank, that a store associate made a mistake in placing the sign near the gun display and that the photo was fake.

Mr. Crowson confirmed that the image depicted a Walmart store and that the sign in the photo was consistent with the back-to-school themes and advertising campaigns the company rolled out for the season.

He said that the photograph that has been circulating on social media was the only one he was aware of showing the sign in such an inappropriate place, and added that he was not aware of any other similar incidents.

Mr. Crowson would not comment further about the

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