Yesterday, we brought you the distressing story of Sears and Amazon trying to serve the niche (and morose) market of Goths and Emos.
Why? Who knows, but there it is — a business plan to reach the supercilious and splenetic kids down the hall…swallowing razor blades and considering hematolagnia.
In short, they were selling Swastika rings not because of the whole Nazi thing but because it’s trendy. In less than 12 hours, Sears proved that it is still a retailer for the common man while Amazon proves it is…not. One communicated directly with the media, while the other chose to ignore headlines (and customer complaints).
By understanding its own crisis communications plan, Sears proved that it really does have everything.
So, here’s the picture that Sears was sorry for us to see (Amazon, not so much):
Hats off to Sears for managing a small but alarming crisis: They responded to our editor, Patrick Coffee, PRNewser, and yours truly with their apology and explanation. Good for them.
— Sears (@Sears) October 15, 2014
The first rule of crisis communications is tell everyone about crisis communications. Sears did. Here is the apology and explanation in full. Enjoy shopping for the Craftsman in your life during the holidays.
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. 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.
When we became aware of the existence of these offensive items, we immediately prevented the items from being purchased on the site and then proceeded to remove them from the site yesterday (October 13, 2014). We are also in the process of removing related, offensive items from our site.
All Marketplace Sellers must accept our seller agreement terms in order to sell their items on sears.com, that allow us to remove anything offensive. We promptly contacted the Sellers to strongly voice our concern over their incredible lack of judgment.
We take this issue very seriously and are taking the appropriate steps, as we communicated to the Anti-Defamation League. A representative from the ADL applauded Sears for taking swift action, telling media outlets: “They took the situation very seriously. They took immediate steps to remove the items from their website,” Joshua Cohen said. “ADL feels that Sears did the right thing,” he said. “Such is the nature of the Internet that anything goes. We’re glad that Sears took this situation seriously and took immediate steps to remove these items from their site.”
We also want you to know that we are working to improve our systems to prevent such items from being listed by independent third-party sellers.