It's been another weird week in retail. Every retailer in the galaxy tried to make Han Solo puns pay off, CEOs from Sainsbury and Amazon made waves on Twitter and Hobby Lobby's Iraqi smuggling stint has thrown the retailer back into the hot seat.
This, and more, in this week's retail therapy.
The force is strong in these products
In a galaxy far, far away, May 4th is a day like any other, where customers go about their daily business without a single thought dedicated to stormtroopers, Jedi or George Lucas. They live in blissful ignorance of a galaxy slightly closer to home, in which retailers stumble over their poorly-constructed marketing tactics to try and prove that their product has anything to do with the Star Wars franchise.
As a general rule of thumb: if a customer has to think about what a Wookie has to do with the toilet paper they're picking up, it's probably because it doesn't.
To the surprise of no one, that hasn't held retailers back from doing cheesy Star Wars-based promotions likely punctuated all too frequently by insisting store associates bid every customer farewell with a hearty "May the 4th be with you" upon exit.
Promotions range from the slightly-related (think Lego Star Wars watches) to the nerdy, yet relevant (like backpacks and lunch boxes). Once we've bypassed those two categories, we get down to the really good stuff, warmly referred to as the "desperately trying to make a lightsaber relevant to my product" category.
It's here, in a space so crowded with bad products that we can almost taste the sweat, blood and tears of overworked marketers hoping for a break, that intrepid shoppers can stumble across Star Wars-themed ballpoint pens, Kylo Ren sunglass gift sets, a whole collection of Star Wars-related jewelry and — perhaps the most useful — a Star Wars waffle maker.
Here's to hoping the force can take a break from teaching young Jedi and transfer some of that "fear of going too far" into retailers' marketing techniques.
Alright Star Wars nerds, lets not do the whole “May the 4th be with you” BS tomorrow. Every time someone says it a puppy loses a toy. Nobody wants that. Spread for awareness.— Jacob Wilson (@jacobwilson07) May 3, 2018
Its May the 4th tomorrow - Star Wars Day! - May the 4th be with you - and make sure you wash your HANS! https://t.co/Uvt87uf7ul The Force is Strong with CS Plumbing and Heating Ltd - "Use our Heating & Plumbing Service you will" pic.twitter.com/NiumEZfM9A— CS Plumbing and Heating (@CSPlumbHeat) May 3, 2018
Asda acquisition gives Sainsbury CEO a song to sing
While it may have been a bad week for marketers, it was a great week for watching CEO's make a fool of themselves.
In this edition of "which CEO woke up regretting their choices this week," we welcome the head of U.K. grocery chain, Sainsbury, Mike Coupe. Never one for the subtle art of foreshadowing, Coupe was caught singing a slightly slow and depressing version of "The Gold Diggers' Song (We're in the Money)" before a live TV interview about the company's acquisition of Walmart's U.K. grocery arm Asda, according to Quartz.
Watch Sainsbury's CEO sing "we're in the money" while waiting to talk about the £12 billion merger with Asda - he's since apologised for his "unguarded moment" https://t.co/Kuaowz0q1u pic.twitter.com/jYMngcahS2— ITV News (@itvnews) April 30, 2018
Pffff, Sainsbury's CEO just ripped off Homer Simpson pic.twitter.com/AZY3Ay3CXc— Graham Love (@GLove39) April 30, 2018
Coupe apologized for his "unguarded moment" (we've been assured he'll never sing out loud again without reminiscing on this humbling experience). But in a tweet last week, Jeff Bezos wasn't ashamed at all about his "lucky boots," which he paired with jeans, a blue T-shirt and the most quintessential cowboy hat you've ever seen.
The whole scene is rather "Cowboys & Aliens" meets Elon Musk, but we're pretty sure Bezos is the only CEO who could match country attire with a space shuttle and not blow up the internet.
Hey instead of trying to literally flaunt your wealth is space how about paying your workers a living wage?— Chaz (@All_That_Chaz) May 1, 2018
Hobby Lobby seeks redemption for some of its sins
It wasn't so long ago that we were making light-hearted jokes about Hobby Lobby's smuggled Iraqi artifacts and now, having confirmed that the company was selling products that were acquired illegally, the company is back in the spotlight with a mistake that will likely burn brighter than the sun in The Middle East for years to come.
According to Fortune, the glorified crafts store bought 5,500 ancient Iraqi artifacts from "dealers" in 2010 (apparently the term "dealers" wasn't enough to tip them off that this was a bad move), but is now only returning 3,800 of them. Questions as to what's happening with the remaining 1,700 are as of yet unanswered, but the artifact-heavy Museum of the Bible seems a likely next point of investigation.
But hey — the bible doesn't say anything against buying Iraqi artifacts from smugglers and trying to pass them off as tiles anyway — it just has that "thou shalt not steal" and "thou shalt not lie" — and that's totally different, right?
I know a lot of crazy shit has happened in the last year, but never forget that time Hobby Lobby funded ISIS https://t.co/ccEm5pMXyF— Jess Dweck (@TheDweck) May 2, 2018
"We buy priceless stolen artifacts from smugglers on the black market, but we're closed on Sunday and don't provide birth control to employees because we're such good Christians. We are Hobby Lobby!" pic.twitter.com/1sWQMBLlwQ— Nolan Zugernat (@NolanZugernat) May 2, 2018
WOW, #HobbyLobby just leveled up to pharisee level hypocrisy, too "christian" to pay for female employees to get birth control, but not so much when it comes to illegally stealing millions of dollars of ancient artifacts from a war torn Iraq. Caiaphas would be proud.— Bruk Mekonen (@BrukMek) May 2, 2018