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If you dislike "little monster" T shirts please read this

(91 Posts)
bobbybob Mon 16-May-05 01:39:55

A shop in New Zealand called The Warehouse supports a Positive Parenting Programme. It also sells "little monster" and "little devil" type T shirts.

I complained that I thought that was a bad fit from a corporate point of view.

They have responded that "it sells well, especially in Auckland and the far North". The buyer also responded that every one else sells them.

I countered that the areas they sell best are also the areas where child abuse is more common, and that not everyone else claims to support Positive Parenting.

She also accused me of having no sense of humour, which I was prepared for, but I think a little outside the remit of a call centre employee.

What do I do next, and does anybody here fancy joining the crusade, even though it's little ol' NZ?

ghosty Mon 16-May-05 02:08:33

Ooooooh, yes ... bobbybob ... let me join!!!

ghosty Mon 16-May-05 02:09:55

Hmmmmph ... @ "especially Auckland and the North ... " taking that personally I am ...

bobbybob Mon 16-May-05 02:18:50

They have a contact us bit on their website. Their phone number is 0800 422 274.

I think that they went straight to the buying team - I think that we need to speak to someone in Marketing, PR or Corporate Responsibility.

I have just seen that they do triple bottom line accounting. So any loses they make from not selling Little Monster could be offset against their positive parenting stance.

ghosty Mon 16-May-05 02:35:25

What do you want me to say? That I think it is inappropriate to sell little monsters t shirts when they have the positive parenting programme? Do I need to ask for the marketing department or anyone specific?
I am afraid you have lost me on the last sentence ...

bobbybob Mon 16-May-05 02:45:46

Triple bottom line accounting is when you take into account, not just what you spend and what you make, but also the impact you have on your "environment", so for a factory it could be how clean you leave your water, or that you give your staff an extra week off to do charity work.

So for The Warehouse the argument that "it sells so we sell it" isn't really good enough. If they remove it because it is a bad corporate fit they could justify it to Shareholders.

My point is the "monster" and "devil" are negative terms. They are promoting positive parenting in other parts of the store. There is nothing positive about these T shirts.

I don't really know who to talk to - I made a bit of a mess myself getting caught up with this lady in customer services rather than asking to be refered to someone higher. I guess asking for the positive parenting person at HO would be a start.

Let me know if you get a name - I'll call too.

hub2dee Mon 16-May-05 06:47:31

Hiya, can you outline why you feel the listing of these products should be dropped by this company ? I can understand an allegation of 'poor taste,' and I can understand the idea that the T shirt self-pepetuates a cycle of accepted 'unacceptable' behaviour, but it seems to me to be an issue of parental / child choice.

Would be happy to be educated into the more subtle disingeniousness of it all, which perhaps I've failed to grasp.


advocateofthedevil Mon 16-May-05 07:53:59

I agree that if the shop is promoting positive parenting these maybe isn't appropriate but not sure you can link it to child abuse; "the areas they sell best are also the areas where child abuse is more common".

bobbybob Mon 16-May-05 08:36:54

hub2dee - I agree that they are in poor taste, but if I say that I just get "but it's fashion and everyone does it" thrown back at me. When a company goes out of it's way to ally itself with being positive as a parent and then sells products which are negative and are designed to be laughed at (because apparently they are funny) then it's a bad fit for the organisation.

I agree that it's a matter of personal choice in every other shop. In this case, it's a little like a doctors surgery deciding to sell cigarettes "because they sell really well, and other people sell them." I don't think it's as serious obviously but for the sake of an example.

Advocate - No I'm sure that people don't abuse their children because a shop sells these T shirts, or that all people who abuse their children would put their children in them. But to say they sell well in Auckland is not IMO a sufficient reason to keep selling them. It's also not a particularly good example given the statistics.

lockets Mon 16-May-05 08:50:15

Message withdrawn

fastasleep Mon 16-May-05 08:51:50

I think this whole thread's weird! Calling your child a monster means that you're more likely to abuse them? Since when? You may as well lock me up right now then!!

fastasleep Mon 16-May-05 08:54:15

What about my DS's range of 'little monkey' 'evil monkey' t-shirts... does that mean I'm more likely to put him in a cage and feed him bananas non stop all day?

hub2dee Mon 16-May-05 08:55:47

Hiya bb... OK... We agree they're possibly a bit naff...

... but can you elaborate on the negative connotations / bad implications of being laughed at etc...

Is it because there is a belief that one would be laughing at a kid's misbehaviour which is perhaps the result of indaequate positive parenting, and that the kid's 'acting out' then gets mocked / made a joke of ?

I'm still not quite sure what makes it not simply 'ironic,' IYSWIM... won't all parents at some point say their kids were behaving like monsters etc. ? Isn't this the 'funny' point the T-shirt communicates ?

(Or is there a deeper meaning / implication that I've failed to grasp ?)

Kelly1978 Mon 16-May-05 08:56:28

ds loves being called a monster and thoroughly acts up the role. He would love a monster tshirt and it would encourage his imagination. These t shirts don't necessarily go against positive parenting.

hub2dee Mon 16-May-05 08:58:01

fastasleep... that you admit to feeding your kid bananas all day shocks me immensely. You must be an evil mother. Really.

Perhaps you should wear a T-shirt regarding your parenting skills ? Or a 'Takes after his / her dad' T-shit.

handlemecarefully Mon 16-May-05 08:58:57

Sorry but no. Where's the harm? Truly can't see it...


Educated, articulate, liberal and fairly pc proud mum of 13 month old who nevertheless wears cheeky monkey t-shirt

fastasleep Mon 16-May-05 08:59:56

Just seems so ridiculous!!

hub2dee Mon 16-May-05 09:03:38

woops, of course I didn't mean T-shit.


There was one fab T-shirt I saw in Brighton a very long time ago when I was young, for punky bad 'Silverfish':

(In big letters across the front)





Not quite sure what the band was about, but presume they were right-on female musicians with attitude, and that this poster wasn't a slur / denigration of their sex, IYSWIM, but a pre-spice post-fem proclamation of grrrrrl powa.

flamesparrow Mon 16-May-05 09:03:58

I was a bit lost too, but thought I was just a bad mum... at least I'm not the only one!

FA - does your son have interesting poo being on that many bananas?

The only t-shirts I adamantly refuse to buy is Daddy's Little princess, and that links back to some abuse programme I saw and she was always Daddy's Princess, and it just gives me the shivers now!

flamesparrow Mon 16-May-05 09:04:44

I want that t-shirt (or shit) Hub2dee!!!!

lockets Mon 16-May-05 09:06:16

Message withdrawn

hub2dee Mon 16-May-05 09:09:15

It was great, flamesparrow, and IIRC used to be worn by some hot babe who ran a café near Brighton station... I was too shy to talk to her probably, but at least I didn't sit in there all day being cool like my mate.

... she's probably reading MN as we speak.


flamesparrow Mon 16-May-05 09:21:37

Lol - now waiting for someone to yell "That was me!!!"

bobbybob Mon 16-May-05 09:22:33

I'll have another go at explaining;

I am not saying that people who dress their children in these T shirts are bad parents or child abusers. Many of my friends do, they are still my friends.

I am simply saying that for a company to promote positive parenting and then print negative messages on infant T shirts is inappropriate.

Hub - No I've never called my ds (or anyone else's child) a little monster, devil, horror etc. Though I did laugh when he did a poo which was straight out of the bowels of Satan and dh called him "BealzeBOB". That makes me not without humour right?

handlemecarefully Mon 16-May-05 09:24:43

Thanks for explaining again Bobbybob, but I guess when it comes down it I don't see those t-shirts as negatively defining the child who is wearing them

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