In Walmart’s defense, it was specifically selling the promotion of the University of Maryland’s mascot, not the school itself … where one could presumably learn the basics of U.S. geography.
Until this past Monday (April 4), the retail giant had confusingly sold a Russell Athletic t-shirt depicting an image of a state that was clearly Massachusetts yet with a facsimile of the University of Maryland’s “M” logo and the word “Terps” written within its borders (“Terps” was actually squeezed into the eastern “arm” of the state that is arguably Massachusetts’ most obviously identifying characteristic).
As The Washington Post shares, the nonsensical t-shirt had been available at Walmart stores at least since last summer, when an eagle-eyed (or perhaps, simply, “eyed”) Twitter user made the gaffe public on the social media platform.
Last week, continues the Washington Post story, another consumer tweeted to Walmart a tongue-in-cheek correction of the mixed-up graphic, to which a Walmart employee responded with a couple of tweets offering not exactly coherent defenses for the t-shirt image’s existence and another employee tweeted a turtle pun. Progress was slow, to be sure.
Finally, on Monday, a Walmart spokesperson intervened and offered a mea culpa, writing in an email to The Washington Post: “We are working with Russell Athletic to determine how this happened and, in the meantime, are removing the shirt from our stores. We understand the pride Marylanders feel for the Terps and apologize for the mistake.”
While the offending t-shirts are, at long last, being pulled from Walmart locations, there’s no word yet as to whether the retailer plans to extend a similar apology to Massachusetts residents for jamming a turtle all up in their state, or to the reptiles themselves for the egregious misrepresentation, or to elementary school geography teachers nationwide.