Stationary and craft chain Paperchase have apologised and removed a Christmas card from its stores after the design was criticised for being offensive to those who are or had grown up as children in care.
The design depicted a mother rabbit demanding a refund from an orphanage. She looks at a small child who has spilt milk in their decorated home.
However, the mother gets on the phone in a grim twist, and is shown asking: "Is this the orphanage? Right, I want a f***ing refund."
it has swiftly been condemned both on social media as well as by the high profile poet Lemn Sissay, who has previously written about his own experiences growing up in care.
"This card isn't meant for children in care or adults who have been in care. It's meant for others to pour scorn on them," the official poet of the 2012 London Olympics commented.
"This card is punching down, abusing children in care ... for the butt of a joke. The difference between other 'edgy card jokes' is that this one is laughing at a vulnerable foster child" he added, saying also that he would be boycotting the retailer, which has 130 stores in the UK.
"To customer services, please remove these from sale! You are better than this. You spread a lot of happiness. But this. This is the opposite of what you are about," he concluded.
"This is beneath you."
In a major PR gaffe for Paperchase, the card has also drawn the attention of the general public, with several taking to social media to criticise it.
One tweeted: "The card about spilt milk and the orphanage is crass.
"Won't be going near your sewer again. Will do everything I can to highlight this.
Another commented: "Fortunately I was saved from a life in the care system by parents who would never have asked for a 'refund' even if I didn't always come up to scratch and it's a very tacky line to take at any time of the year, let alone Christmas."
And another summed up the tone of the card rather succinctly by merely pointing out that it was 'just nasty'.
With many retailers desperate for something approaching a normal Christmas sales period to offset the devastation of 2020, they can ill-afford to turn off customers, and Paperchase have issued a statement apologising for causing offence.
A spokesperson said: "We were first made aware of a customer concern about this card Wednesday morning and immediately removed it from sale on our website and all stores.
"We try and provide a wide range of cards, catering to all types of customers with varying senses of humour. Whilst it is never our intention to be insensitive or cause any offence, we appreciate that on this occasion the image and copy has done so, for which we apologise unreservedly.
"We don't always get it right and on the rare occasions that we don't, we appreciate our customers calling it out so that we can respond and react accordingly."
Featured Image Credit: Twitter
Topics: UK News
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