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Pitfalls of Outsourcing

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  • Pitfalls of Outsourcing

    http://www.freep.com/features/living...3_20040213.htm



    AN UN-FUNNY VALENTINE: Greeting card picture evokes race stereotype

    February 13, 2004

    BY JIM SCHAEFER
    FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

    American Greetings Corp. calls it a regrettable printing error.

    Somehow, boxes of SpongeBob SquarePants Valentine's Day cards are popping up in local Wal-Mart stores -- but the popular cartoon character found inside isn't his traditional yellow color.

    He's black. And with his trademark big teeth and wide eyes, this SpongeBob seems similar to offensive images of African Americans portrayed in minstrel shows decades ago.

    American Greetings officials said Thursday they were surprised and puzzled when the Free Press made them aware of a complaint about the product.

    "We absolutely fell out of our chairs when we saw it," said Carol Miller, director of business development for the Cleveland-based company. "We're obviously going to be talking to Wal-Mart as well as Nickelodeon . . . to offer our sincere apologies for this product making it to market."

    Miller said the cards, which were printed and packaged in China, are mistakes, but she and other officials said they were trying to determine how that happened.

    David Blinderman, director of global product development for the company, said the printing facility is one of the company's most reliable.

    "Culturally, the guys on press in China wouldn't have the faintest idea of who a SpongeBob was or who a black SpongeBob was," Blinderman said.

    Jemeka Garcia of Flint Township was skeptical of a mistake, in part because the cards appear to be well made. Garcia and her husband, Scott, complained to the Free Press earlier this week after their 6-year-old daughter discovered the different SpongeBob. The family purchased the cards at a Wal-Mart near their home so the girl could hand them out to her first-grade classmates.

    "I want to know why the person did it," Jemeka Garcia said Thursday. "That's kind of a horrible prank. And what if some kid gets it" as a valentine?

    A Wal-Mart official said customers who want refunds can have them, but there were no plans to take the boxes off shelves. "It was a very popular item, and there aren't very many left out there," said corporate spokeswoman Danette Thompson. She said the company had received no other complaints.

    The cards -- branded as "Nickelodeon 34 Foil Valentines" and selling for $2.74 -- are exclusive to Wal-Mart. Officials said they were widely distributed across the country, but they would not say how many had been produced. The Free Press checked a Wal-Mart in Roseville and found the cards. There are 68 Wal-Mart stores in Michigan.

    SpongeBob stars on the Nickelodeon cable channel. The show chronicles the cluelessly optimistic meanderings of a bright-eyed sponge, who lives in a pineapple in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom.

    Jemeka Garcia said she's already gone out and replaced the offensive SpongeBobs for her daughter.

    "I went and bought her some Scooby-Doos."

  • #2
    But it also means we all saved some money.
    Official Lounge Sponsor of:
    MIGOTS!, TJ Oshie, David Freese, Sponsoring Softball Players, Trout, Bon Jovi, Cold, hard facts, rigidly defined with mathematical precision, The abortion boat, which traveled to Poland in 2003 and Ireland in 2001.

    Former Lounge Sponsor of:
    The Hebrew Hammer, BBZ, Foods that start with the letter 'Q', Paul 'Visor' Mitchell, FBBHOFer Brett "William" Wallace, BBFHOF, THE LALPHABET: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N I Z M N O P Q R S T U V Z T U V X Y X Z, The Return of MarkD.

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    • #3
      Mammy...........Mammy.............
      AKA reddevil
      AKA davel a devil

      [COLOR=red'][/COLOR]

      Comment


      • #4
        So, now we have American Greetings selling the "race card"
        Make America Great For Once.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by The Kev@Mar 4 2004, 04:35 PM
          So, now we have American Greetings selling the "race card"

          Comment


          • #6
            They bitch when Santa Claus and Jesus are portrayed as white.

            Now, they bitch when a great American is portrayed as a black.

            Some people will just never be happy.
            And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

            -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

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            • #7
              John -

              I wouldn't call Spongebob a "great" American.

              han solo

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              • #8
                I've only seen Spongebo(o)b once. I don't get the attraction. Although, depending on the female, I wouldn't mind hanging out in Bikini Bottom.
                Make America Great For Once.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Rajah,

                  Should have included the smiley.
                  And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

                  -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by hansolo@Mar 4 2004, 04:44 PM
                    John -

                    I wouldn't call Spongebob a "great" American.

                    han solo

                    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
                    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
                    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

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                    • #11
                      This is the worst part:

                      "I want to know why the person did it," Jemeka Garcia said Thursday. "That's kind of a horrible prank. And what if some kid gets it" as a valentine?



                      Stupid parents. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
                      When you say to your neighbor, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night if that's alright with you," what you really mean is, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night."

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                      • #12
                        If they can sell pink Cardinals caps, yellow Yankees shirts, and green Cubs caps, why not a black spongeboob. Hell, why not a lavender one?
                        Make America Great For Once.

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