Retailers change Hanukkah product descriptions in response to customer complaints about cultural insensitivity
(JTA) — When shopping for Hanukkah-related products from mainstream retailers, it’s only a matter of time before you stumble across a product that misses the mark, like a mug decorated with the words “Deck the halls with matzo balls.”
But this year, major retailers are responding to customer complaints about Hanukkah products they say are culturally inappropriate or misinformed.
It took just one day from when the Instagram account Hanukkah Fails posted about Target’s Hanukkah “Countdown Calendar” before the major retailer changed the product description to “Happy Hanukkah Wall Hanging Menorah.” The Instagram account, which is dedicated to pointing out culturally inappropriate Hanukkah related products or product descriptions, posted about the product Sunday and the product description was altered by Monday.
The description for the product, a wall hanging with slots to hold nine fabric candles, seemed more apt for an advent calendar, which is used to count down the days until Christmas and often contains small gifts.
“Hanukkah countdown calendar is a fun way to count down to the big holiday,” the original description of the product read, despite the fact that all eight days of Hanukkah are the holiday and that the holiday is celebrated by adding an extra candle each night rather than counting down.
Within a matter of hours, the product description and name were updated to remove any reference to counting down.
Bed, Bath and Beyond removed a product altogether after customers pointed out that the product didn’t make any sense. The product, a pillow printed with the words “Why is this night different from all other nights? Happy Hanukkah,” a reference to the four questions asked at the Seder on Passover, a completely different holiday.
After images of the pillow went viral — and after Alma, JTA’s sister site, wrote about the product — Bed, Bath and Beyond removed the product from its website.