Fast-fashion retailer Forever 21 is best known for packing their stores to the gills with dirt-cheap party clothes, public relations gaffes, and quietly settling copyright infringement lawsuits left and right. And amid rumblings of financial trouble for the retail giant, they’re in the news for yet another blunder: according to Jezebel, online customers who order plus-sized clothes received diet bars along with their Forever 21 orders.
According to recent complaints on social media, the company has “started sending sample Atkins lemon bars, which proudly advertise three grams of carbs, along with online orders” in addition to a coupon to purchase more at a discounted price. The lion’s share of complaints came from people who have ordered plus-sized clothing.
This is not the first time the retailer has been in the news for Twitter-unfriendly business practices. They frequently rip off independent designers and instead of commenting on the accusations, they quietly settle the matter outside of court. But this particularly blunder seems especially cringe-y.
Forever 21 called the diet bars an “oversight” in a statement to Inside Edition.
“From time to time,” they wrote, “Forever 21 surprises our customers with free test products from third parties in their e-commerce orders,” Forever 21 said. “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.”
Forever 21’s target audience is, in a sense, everyone, with a frenetic, cover-all-the-bases approach to aesthetics. There are wedding-appropriate dresses and flannel shirts in equal measure on their site. Graphic t-shirts and work slacks. Men’s clothing, too. There’s something for everyone. But one thing is certain: the core demographics they target (young women and gender non-conforming individuals) are by and large extremely vulnerable to body-shaming and dieting language.
With close to 30 million Americans of all ages and genders suffering from eating disorders, the oversight seems like one that the company should put a policy in place to protect against ASAP.