Let there be no doubt: There is definitely such thing as bad press. It appears as if someone at Dillard’s might have thought otherwise, although they probably know better now.
A Florida mom was shopping at the Dillard’s in the Mall at Wellington Green last week when she saw a sign in the girls’ department that read:
“Dear Santa, this year please give me a big fat bank account and a slim body. Please don’t mix those two up like you did last year. Thanks.”
According to WPTV.com, the mom then posted the photo to her Facebook page, at which time it went viral. The TV station says Dillard’s “has now directed all stores to completely remove the sign from the sales floor.” Furthermore, “employees from Dillard’s say the sign was never meant to be placed in the girls’ section.”
So, it was meant to be in another section of the store? Because that would make it … better?
It’s difficult to imagine why the sign was produced in the first place. Mad Men‘s Betty Draper is a fictional character circa the 1950s and ’60s, and while the sign seems most appropriate for a grown woman of her era and stature, even she probably would have found it objectionable.
Maybe Dillard’s was trying to create controversy in order to drum up some holiday sales, although it seems unlikely that anyone is going to shop there just to try and catch a glimpse of the sign. No, while there’s a chance Dillard’s strives in some warped way strive to be as offensively buzzy as such retailers as Abercrombie & Fitch (remember their “Do I Make You Look Fat?” T-shirt?) or Urban Outfitters (of the “Eat Less” T-shirt fame), chances are they’re not that dumb and/or desperate for attention. They aren’t a niche retailer; they’re a department store that serves middle-class customers, not Millenials willing to pay upwards of $100 for a kitschy top.
And yet the sign has all the hallmarks of purposefully trying to be youthful and hip. It has a chic, weathered look and is written in a tone most relatable to the under-21 set. Which is not to say no fun can ever be poked at teens and tweens, but throwing fat-shaming and gold-digging barbs at girls is a recipe for disaster. At a time when much movement is being made towards sending healthier messages about achieving financial independence and positive body images, a sign like this is a giant leap backwards. Not to mention it’s really just dumb.
Seeing this sign in the women’s section wouldn’t have been any better (quick — name a grown woman you know who claims to have written a letter to Santa anytime after the age of 10), and no one can possibly believe it was meant to go in the boys’ or men’s section. Given that, it would seem the best place for Dillard’s “Dear Santa” sign would be a trash can.
Screenshot via WPTV.com