What served as inspiration for this post? A snack bar in an online order package.
Now I want you to take a moment and think why that would be a problem. The topic serves as a clue. Whom did it offend and why?
Did you come up with some ideas/ reasons?
Do you think the negative reaction was caused by:
- the size of the bar (too small)?
- the patriotic packaging (red, white and blue)?
- the faces on the packaging (lack of diverse representation)?
- none of the above?
I cannot know for sure, but I think that I would not come up with the real reason for the outrage had I not read the actual article.
Keep reading. The answer will be revealed shortly.
This time around Forever 21, a fashion outlet, is under rapid fire. All because of an innocent gift sent with online orders. If you ordered some clothes from this company last week, you might be one of the lucky ones who received a snack bar alongside their order. Please do let me know if you got one. I would love to know what your reaction was.
Apparently, one customer saw this as offensive because she wears plus size clothes and thought the bar said: “Go on a diet. You are too fat.” No, the packaging did not say anything remotely like that. She just assumed that was supposed to be the message behind a promotional snack bar attached to her order. She felt targeted as someone who is overweight and could not contain her emotions, so she went on Twitter to express her negative feelings towards Forever 21. Even though she asked if those bars were attached to orders with
regular smaller sizes, she assumed that they have not. It sounded like a rhetorical question to me.
Of course, like anything not worth a second look nowadays, her tweet went viral and she is now giving interviews, etc. She will probably become an activist from now on and quit her current job like so many other viral celebrities. However, I have to admit that I am grateful for her outburst, because it gave me the chance to write this piece.
When I first read the article, I thought I would see a picture of a snack bar with the word “DIET” in big, bold letter. To my surprise, the packaging did not contain that word or any other suggestive wording. “What am I missing?” – I asked myself. And so I went directly to the source (the tweet that started it all) and saw a bunch of people complaining about the DIET bar. “What makes them say that?” – I kept wondering and scrolling, looking for an answer that seemed to be so obvious to everyone but me.
A Google search for “Atkins bars” shows “Protein & Meal Replacement Bars for a Low Carb Diet”. Truth be told, I did not read past the word “bars”, because protein bars are everywhere. They all promise something we supposedly want, like a large dose of protein, or a low dose of sugar. That search goes on to say that the bars make for perfect snacks or meals, and do not contain preservatives or artificial coloring or flavoring. Sounds good to me.
As I kept scrolling through those Twitter replies, I finally found my answer. Apparently, Atkins is a company everyone associates with a diet. I took a moment to think about why I eat snack bars every now and again. I do so because they are tasty, because they are convenient, because they have the nutrients/ ingredients I desire (protein, nuts, etc.). Never have I eaten one for weight – loss purposes. A lot of those bars are actually packed full with fats, so simply eating them will not help you shed some pounds. In could actually cause you to put on some extra pounds.
Back to Google I went. A quick search for “Atkins” fully answered my question. “Atkins low carb diet program uses a powerful life-time approach to successful weight loss. Sign up today for our weight loss plan & start a healthy future.” On my right-hand side, I saw an excerpt from Wikipedia: “The Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate fad diet devised by Robert Atkins.”, as well as books on the topic of dieting.
People on Twitter were divided into two groups (like always). One group was defending the company and the bars, while the other was ripping the clothing store to pieces. Somehow the add-on turned from offensive to dangerous. How? Well, people claim that sending a snack bar to a person with an eating disorder or body dysmorphia could be triggering. What does not do that?
I have to admit that I felt privileged (because that is what everyone says when you work hard for something or are lucky) to not know why the company was associated with so much evil.
Naturally, it turned out that – YES – the snack bar was included with EVERY online order placed last week. What does that mean? It means that Forever 21 was not targeting overweight people. It was not a ploy to get them to go on a diet. It was a simple promotion partnership. Sometimes companies do that.
To close this post, I wanted to share a line from a song entitled “The Price Worth Fighting For” for you to ponder.
“When (…) every choice is an act of war…”
Why do we think that every action and word is meant against us?
Why do we always expect an affront?
How would you react if you received a promotional product on top of your order?
How would you feel if you got a protein bar with your order?
What would you do if that add-on product did not fit your lifestyle/ preference?
Did you enjoy reading this post? Hit LIKE.
Have some thoughts on the topic? Share in the COMMENTS.
Do you regularly enjoy my blog? Be sure to FOLLOW.
Are my posts getting lost in your busy Reader? Try SUBSCRIBING.