Tone Deaf

10.30.12

American Apparel Exploits Hurricane Sandy

As millions of Americans fell in the path of the hurricane, the inensitive retailer sent out an email blast promoting a “SANDYSALE.”
american-apparel-sandy-sale
American Apparel storefront. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

This might win the award for the most insensitive Hurricane Sandy move yet. As Hurricane Sandy swept across the East Coast, American Apparel sent out an email on Monday night promoting a special “Hurricane Sandy Sale,” 20 percent off for East coast shoppers “in case you’re bored during the storm.” They even included an online discount sale: SANDYSALE.

And, rightfully so, Internet citizens were horrified. “Really @americanapparel?” Tweeted @Mashable. “Sandy Sale email blast? Really? The lowest of low.” But somehow, the company maintained that the e-mail wasn’t meant to be offensive.  “Of course we’d never mean to offend anyone and when we put the email out yesterday it came from a good place,” a spokesperson told Fashionista.

But other stores exploited the Hurricane for promotional reasons as well: Steven Alan offered a free shopping deal with the code “SANDYFREESHIP” for online shoppers. And a beauty boutique in Carroll Garden’s told shoppers to use the code “SANDY” to buy high-end natural beauty products.

It’s all eerily reminiscent of the tone-deaf Twitter fiasco after the Aurora shooting, when a Colorado store called CelebBoutique tweeted: “#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress ;)” with a link to buy the dress. When will people learn?