Monday, January 18, 2010

Costco's Lil Monkey

Costco may have a long history of litigation, but one problem the company prevented from turning into a lawsuit involved a dark brown baby doll it was selling last summer. The doll came with a monkey and wore a hat that said “Lil Monkey.” Costco hurriedly junked the doll after receiving complaints from customers who branded it racially offensive. Fox 8 in High Point, North Carolina broke the story and has posted video.

Examine the picture of the doll above. The baby and the monkey came with bibs, bottles, a banana and a diaper which could be worn by either one. The baby’s hat and bib clearly say, “Lil Monkey.”

What does it say about Costco management that they allowed such a product to make it through their supply chain and onto their shelves? Is this the kind of culturally sensitive company that will fit into an ethnically diverse community like Wheaton? What reaction would Wheaton have had if Costco had sold a doll like this there?

And what would that reaction have been if the people of Wheaton knew they were paying for that doll with a $4 million subsidy?