Retail giant Walmart yanked shirts saying “Impeach 45,” which just so happens to be the number President Donald Trump has embroidered on his shirt sleeves, from its online store on Tuesday after getting rolled by spurious threats of a boycott on Twitter.
Per the Washington Post, the incident transpired mostly after Students for Trump chairman Ryan Fournier tweeted out a link to the shirt on Monday, asking “what kind of message are you trying to send?” (Hint: The message is “We like money.”) This was apparently the start of a chain of events that managed to intimidate or at least irritate a company on track to make half a trillion dollars in revnue this year, with Walmart responding by telling the Post, “We’re removing these types of items pending review of our marketplace policies.”
To recap, outrage about shit being supposedly being sold by Walmart online but that actually involved its third-party marketplace has included shirts hinting at lynching journalists, “Arbeit Macht Frei” posters, a mug saying “Got Retard?”, a racist wig, suicide-themed Halloween makeup, “Tranny Granny” costumes, and to be honest, probably at least a dozen or more other things. In other words, Walmart’s website is absolutely atrocious at either quality control, choice of vendor relationships, explaining that it is not responsible for third-party sellers, or all three. It is the T-Shirt Hell of retail chains. At this point, outrage cycles about the Walmart website are approaching developing-arthritis time in dog years.
Despite that, this incident still manages to stand out because what essentially happened was one of the largest retail chains in the US chickened out on a sentiment so milquetoast it is only mildly controversial among congressional Democrats. This is entirely consistent with the apparent values of the Walmart online marketplace: A quick search of the website for “liberals” shows things like shirts saying “Warning: My sense of humor might hurt your liberal feelings,” “Forget dogs & cats: spay & neuter liberals,” and “Annoy a liberal: Use facts and logic.” Conversely, a search for “conservatives” mostly shows up crap like shirts reading “Black Rifles Matter.”
In other words, Walmart’s online marketplace is in the business of allowing thousands of insufferable people to self-identify themselves as someone you should not talk to at a party. This is not a digital space particularly worth fighting over. But hey, if any liberals are still determined to die on the hill of defending the Walmart third-party marketplace against the Keurig-smashing crowd, they’re gonna have to get a little more lowbrow and start buying more #covfefe shirts.