Today we learned that three of the country’s largest online retailers do not effectively screen the products they offer for evidence of Nazism.
On Monday, Digiday reported on the news (first broken by Heeb last week) that Walmart‘s online store offered shoppers a poster featuring an image of the gate at Dachau concentration camp, which was the very first opened by the German government to hold political prisoners in 1933 (and at which tens of thousands of innocent people died). The fact that the saying on the gate reads “work makes you free” is especially perverse.
Further searches revealed that Amazon and Sears also featured the item online. Their excuse? The dreaded “third party vendor.”
Let’s compare their statements.
Here’s what Walmart told Digiday:
“We were horrified to see that this item was on our site. We sincerely apologize, and worked quickly to remove it. The item was sold through a third-party seller on our marketplace. We have shared our disappointment with them and have learned they are removing the publisher of this item entirely from inventory.”
“The item, which was listed by an independent third-party on Sears Marketplace, violates our guidelines and was immediately removed.”
Strangely, one can still see its ghost at the link, along with the description “generic gate with inscription.”
Amazon removed the item but didn’t make a statement, which took us back to the “Keep Calm and Rape a Lot” t-shirt scandal from 2013.
It’s true that much of the e-commerce world is automated and that none of these retailers check each item for approval before it goes on sale. So expect to see more apologies like these in the near future–and for Amazon to continue its “no comment” policy.