Last year I wrote about Kevin Westley and his one-(Irish)man campaign against offensive Irish stereotypes in merchandise sold at Walmart in preparation for St. Patrick's Day. After nicely asking Walmart to remove offensive merchandise in 2014 and getting no result he decided to take a more active route. He bought up all the offending merchandise, carefully maintained it all in the bags and then, the day after St. Patrick's day, took it all back for a full refund. Walmart got the message. As Sheila Langan, writing for Irish Central tells us what happened:
This time last year, Kevin Westley had over $400 of t-shirts depicting the Irish as slovenly drunks stored in a column of airtight boxes in his basement. So far this year, much to Kevin’s delight (and his wife’s relief), their home is still devoid of any offensive Irish merchandise. Kevin knew he would have to wait until this year to see if his campaign had any lasting impact. Thus far, it looks as though it has. On trips to the Walmart stores in East Meadow and Uniondale, both on Long Island, where he bought the questionable tees last year, there was no sign of any offensive Irish apparel. Where in the past there were shirts emblazoned with things like “Kiss me, I’m drunk or Irish or whatever,” or “I’m so Irish I sweat alcohol,” or “In dog beers I’ve had one,” this year the shelves are stocked with t-shirts that simply say “Ireland” or “Dublin,” or boasting skulls in top hats for the more hardcore clientele. Kevin was so thrilled about the dearth of offensive t-shirts that he asked to speak to one of the managers and then thanked her for the current, more respectful selection. “When I handed her my card, she read my name and I saw her eyes light up. ‘I know you!’ she said” – an indication Kevin certainly did make an impact at his local stores. While Walmart corporate did not respond to queries about whether this was an intentional move on their part, a look through all 25 pages of St. Patrick’s Day items for sale on Walmart’s website revealed nothing like what was available last year. Instead, there were t-shirts that said things like “Slainte,” “Luck has nothing to do with it,” and the more aggressive “Pinch me and I’ll punch you.” There was also this masterpiece of a suit.Once again, good on you Kevin! Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.