Urban Outfitters' drug-themed line draws fire
The edgy accessories are sparking more controversy for the envelope-pushing retailer. Will that help or hurt its sales?
What could go wrong with prescription-pill shot glasses and syringe shot shooters (pictured) that are targeted at 18- to 24-year-olds?
As Urban Outfitters (URBN) is finding out, just plenty. While the retailer has maintained its hold on youth culture by pushing the envelope, its latest line of accessories has drawn condemnation from critics, including the Partnership at Drugfree.org.
The retailer -- which is selling a line of glassware that includes pint glasses, flasks and shot glasses that resemble prescription medicine containers -- is putting "more teens at risk" by marketing the products, Drugfree.org charges. The group is asking consumers to email, write a letter or sign a Facebook petition to urge the retailer to pull the items.
The glasses are clearly meant to be tongue-in-cheek products, with Urban Outfitters telling shoppers to "fill that liquid poison prescription" with the "boozemin flask," for example. But Drugfree.org says the company's lighthearted approach is part of the problem because it makes fun of prescription drug misuse and abuse.
"Medicine abuse has increased 33 percent over the past five years, with one in four teens having misused or abused a prescription drug in their lifetime," Drugfree.org notes. Throwing alcohol into the mix doesn't help, it adds.
But given that the flask is on backorder until June 13, it appears the fake drug bottles have appealed to a portion of Urban Outfitter's demographic.
Courting controversy is in Urban Outfitters' genes (and T-shirts). Last year, the chain offended Mothers Against Drunk Driving with a line of shirts that bore slogans such as "I Vote for Vodka" and "USA Drinking Team."
That's just one example in a long line of questionable inventory, as noted in this list by The Week magazine. (One misstep included an "Obama/Black" T-shirt in 2010, which prompted an apology from the retailer.)
Urban Outfitters, which also owns the Anthropologie and Free People chains, certainly isn't hurting from all the controversy, given that its stock has surged 58% during the past 12 months. And with net income that climbed 28% during its last fiscal year, the retailer may be laughing all the way to the bank.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
Everyone wants to be offended. What a bunch of pussies. I own a shot glass that says The More I Drink, The Prettier You Look. Does that make me go F fat ugly chicks? Nope. Its just funny. I also own a few that have WSU and the old Seattle Supersonic logos on them. Does that mean I think go to college or play professional basketball? Nope. I have one from The Hard Rock in Maui. I've never been to Maui. It was a gift. Have I broken any laws?? Now I'm scared of who this will offend.
Take off that new pair of I'm A Whiney B (tm) Goggles and try seeing things from a level-headed place. Oh, wait, that won't further your lame-**** causes...
Ever notice how that bottle of ABSOLUT vodka looks exactly like an IV supply container?
We have seen products similar to these in novelty stores and tourist gift shops for years. So what?
I have in front of me right now three glasses labeled "muddled wisdom". These were a gift from my adult children. They have sayings on them like "Thirst things first", You're younger than you drink", and "Work is the curse of the drinking class." I'm not offended, I offer my guests cocktails in them, and they get the humor. Duh!!!! And no, they have not been cut out of my will.
What we are approaching here is what the Beatles referred to as "MIND CONTROL" in their lyrics.
I'm 74 years old and was a career military officer in the 60's and 70's. I didn't like the sexual revolution,
the "question authority movement", the SLA. the SDS, Joan Baez or any of the other micro revolutionaries of the time. But, when I read stories like this, I beleive I'm starting to think that they had a valid point.
I do not here them protesting all the wacky stuff in spencers, oh wait they stoped doing that twenty years ago when they figured out it added two there popularity.
im pretty sure the parents are "putting teens at risk" if people are worried about a pill case shot glass, go do some meth outreach to make your conscience feel better.
outfitters is not putting anybody at risk, especially since it has less 1% of the novelty market.
this is so dumb.
go to a soup kitchen and feed the drug addicted and see if there life was irreparably harmed by a t-shirt, shot glass... or both.
Why would any1 wanna use those glasses or shot glasses?? you'd look like the complete tool of the group and would only end up being the videogame nerds who thought it was funny, that or a complete immature retard who only laughs at Pen15 jokes.
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