Walmart incurred the wrath of the internet after photos emerged showing a display that appears to market guns as a back-to-school item. A sign that read, “Own the school year like a hero,” was added above a glass case used to display firearms, a move some commenters considered appalling and inappropriate.
As reported by CNN, one user on Twitter asked the retail giant, “What are you suggesting?” Another said simply, “Uhhh @Walmart we need to talk.”
Walmart was quick to apologize after the image emerged, calling the display “horrible” and “truly awful.”
The company also replied to some commenters directly, affirming, “This is definitely NOT okay,” and confirming they were “checking into how this could have happened.”
Charles Crowson, a spokesman for Walmart, reiterated the sentiment, stating the company is “not happy” and continues to work “diligently” to identify where the photo was taken to ensure it was removed.
Other commenters on social media suggested the image was faked. One such comment read, “A random customer picked up a sign and propped it on a gun case for giggles. That’s almost certainly how it happened.”
Some Twitter users also suggested that it was merely an accident, or that someone was “sleep walking through their job,” and not an intentional marketing move on the part of Walmart.
This isn’t the first time Walmart has been under fire for their marketing choices. Last September, a Panama City Beach Walmart drew criticism after creating a Coca-Cola display that resembled the World Trade Center, a creation that was believed to be meant to commemorate 9/11. When the public didn’t respond well to the display, Walmart had it removed and asserted it wasn’t intended to be disrespectful.
As of Wednesday night, Walmart was still working to identify the store in which the photo was taken.