As mid-August approaches, back-to-school displays are popping up in stores everywhere. Pencils, notebooks, backpacks, even computer accessories all make the list of required materials brought into the classroom.
However, one display at a Walmart location in the United States has caused some serious controversy.
The display in question was posted on Twitter by user Frank Passalacqua (@randomfrankp) and boasted fire arms as back-to-school essentials.
~ Just Walmart Things ~ pic.twitter.com/hdlpG7JMYW— Frank Passalacqua (@randomfrankp) August 9, 2017
The tweet was then picked up by Jordan Uhl of The Opposition and was shared more than 17,000 times. People were understandably upset by the sign, suggesting that bringing a rifle to school makes you a hero.
"Lemme just scoop my jaw off the floor. Whaaaaaaa?" said one user.
"Wow, this is disgusting," said Jaqueline Bjorkes.
"This is troubling? Who thinks of an ad with guns and being a school hero? Really Walmart we thought you were better than this...ok," said another user.
Walmart has since responded to all the tweets accusing this store of extremely insensitive display, and there seems to have been some miscommunication.
Charles Crowson, a spokesperson for Walmart, released a statement on Wednesday night, saying they are "not happy" and "working diligently" to find out what happened.
“What’s seen in this photograph would never be acceptable in our stores. We regret this situation and are looking into how it could have happened.”
However, Walmart's social media account seemed to have a different story. They claimed the sign was never up to being with.
To clarify, we spoke with the manager at the location reported to us and they confirmed there was no such sign. Looking into this -Dean— Walmart (@Walmart) August 9, 2017
They did, however, continue to apologize for the mistake.
We apologize for this dreadful mistake and are working to identify the store involved. -Mac— Walmart (@Walmart) August 9, 2017
This was a terrible error. We are working to identify the store involved. -Mac— Walmart (@Walmart) August 9, 2017
Yes, this is terrible, Jordan. This sign had no business there and was taken down as soon as we were alerted. We are very sorry. -Dean— Walmart (@Walmart) August 9, 2017
After much media backlash, Walmart released another statement.
“We have definite proof it was a prank,” Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson told The Associated Press. “This is a result of a collective effort by a number of associates who take things like this seriously."
Crowson says the mystery was solved my many associates who were eager to clear the name of their employer.
It's most likely someone moved the sign from one display to another to make it appear the back-to-school display was in fact for guns, but the conflicting reports from Walmart spokespeople is making it difficult to find the truth of the matter.
What do you think happened?