CompaniYeah, you read that right. Fast fashion retail giant Forever 21 came under fire earlier this week for allegedly sending out Atkins snack bars with some of their online orders—many of which were for plus sized clothing. While it’s not uncommon for online retailers to send out promotional products for other brands with their orders, many condemned the company’s decision to promote a culture of dieting along with clothing sales.
Viral Tweets Call Forever 21 Out
It all started with a couple of viral tweets from Forever 21 shoppers. Users revealed that they had received Atkins diet snack bars with their clothing orders. “bought a swimsuit online from forever 21 and they sent me an atkins bar along with it lmaoo thank u for reminding me that i don’t have a beach ready bod,” wrote one user on the social media platform. Many were outraged over the fact that the company sent out the diet bars with plus sized orders. Meanwhile, others pointed out that sending them with any orders at all could be potentially harmful. Especially for customers that suffer from eating disorders.
While not every social media user was angered over the marketing, others pointed out that it sends a negative message to shoppers. “i just bought a bunch of xs/s clothes and got one too, i don’t think its anything personal..” writes a user named @stxrkid about the bars. However, another user responded to the sentiment, pointing out that there is harm in promoting a culture that values dieting. “You might not have taken it offensively but there are young teenage girls in that size that struggle with things like eating disorders that were upset about it, it’s not just women of larger sizes upset,” replied a user named @maddyshort23.
Forever 21 Responds
It isn’t uncommon for consumers to get samples of third-party products in their online orders. Many online companies are known for including freebies and coupons. Most of which are for third-party brands. Where Forever 21 is gaining negative attention, though, is for allowing one of their third-party products to be from a company focused on maintaining a culture of dieting and weight loss. Particularly with fashion retailers, inclusive sizing has become a major subject of controversy in recent years. Victoria’s Secret, for example, has suffered major backlash in the wake of some anti-trans and fat-shaming comments one of its executives made in the fall of 2018.
Forever 21 responded to the criticism quickly, citing that it had no intention of making shoppers feel insecure about their bodies. “From time to time, Forever 21 surprises our customers with free test products from third parties in their e-commerce orders,” said Forever 21 in a statement that was released to press. “The freebie items in question were included in all online orders, across all sizes and categories, for a limited time and have since been removed. This was an oversight on our part and we sincerely apologize for any offense this may have caused to our customers, as this was not our intention in any way.”