***Update (9/13/12): I’m pleased to report that Nordstrom has removed the ‘Boys Stink’ sign from their Scottsdale store. Thank you to those of you who voiced your concerns, and thank you Nordstrom for listening! ***
Over the weekend I was passing through the Nordstrom Children’s Department, and I saw this:
I was recently shopping in the children’s department at your Scottsdale, Arizona location, and I was surprised and upset to see a sign hanging in the girls’ section that read: Boys Stink. I asked the sales clerk if anyone had complained about it yet. She told me, “no,” and added that it was just meant to be cute. When I asked her if there was an equally negative sentiment about girls hanging in the boys’ section, she told me, “no.” She did share that she had overheard some young (male) shoppers complain to their parents that it wasn’t fair that a ‘Girls Stink’ sign wasn’t hanging on the boys’ side.
By no means am I writing to suggest that you make it “fair” by creating balanced slanderous signage. I am writing to point out that a sign that says “Boys Stink” is really not cute at all. It’s mean. And as a mother of two daughters, I’m just grateful that they are too young to read. As a retail store I realize you are not in the business of creating social change, but I do believe you are in the business of making customers feel good about themselves. Having a sign that tells half the population that they stink seems to me to be counterproductive.
I know some adults think that there is really no harm in pitting boys and girls against each other, but many of us see it in a different way. Many of us hope to see our kids (boys and girls) developing kind, caring relationships with one another. Many of us would like for our kids to grow-up without negative feelings about the other gender. Many of us would like for our kids to not be exposed to such antiquated gender attitudes, stereotypes and biases. But above all, I think most of us would like for our kids to be nice. Telling boys that they stink is not nice – any child over the age of 2 could tell you that.
I realize that some people may feel that I am overreacting, but I don’t think I’m off base expecting your company to treat all of your customers with respect. After all, Nordstrom is known for outstanding customer service. I’m quite certain your company would never authorize a sign reading ‘Women Suck’ to hang in the men’s department. So it seems logical for Nordstrom to use the same consideration for their youngest customers as well. Don’t you agree?
Hillary L. Manaster M.Ed.
Sanford Harmony Program
School of Social and Family Dynamics
Arizona State University
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. Our customers’ opinions are very important to Nordstrom and greatly assist us with our continued efforts to provide the best merchandise and service to our customers.
I think you have made a very good point in showing how to set a good example for all our customers. Please know that I will share your experience and feedback, so that we learn and improve. If you need anything else, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Customer Service Specialist
I’d like to give Nordstrom the benefit of the doubt, and I’m hopeful that this concern is getting passed along the proper channels. I’ll be sure to post any updates, but in the meantime, if anyone else would like to contact customer service to let them know what you think about this sign, it would be good for them to hear from you. email@example.com