Well, that is awkward. Imagine you are shopping online at Target (this is not hard to imagine, because if you are like most people who love comfy clothes and money, shopping online at Target is a regular activity). You spot a very breezy looking cotton maxi dress available in an array of colors. If you are a standard size, you may select this heavenly garment in "Dark Heather Grey." If you are plus-sized, your greyscale counterpart is labeled..."Manatee Grey."
Manatee. As in, sea cow. Cuddly marine mammal. Unfortunate, slow-moving boat fodder.
One Twitter user called out this puzzling discrepancy:
— Susan Clemens (@suZen) April 3, 2013
It isn't hard to assume the worst here. In the cruel world of free association, perhaps labeling a plus-sized dress as "manatee grey" does not evoke the very best image.
Surprisingly, this is not the first time this innocuous shade has become a fire starter. Bees buzzed in bonnets when actress Melissa McCarthy's Academy Awards dress was described as "elephant grey" by The Boston Globe (get it? Because she is a full-figured actress and elephants are full-figured mammals and never the twain shall meet in real life or fashion descriptions).
Never mind that the dress was grey. Like an elephant.
Target swiftly mitigated the growing ire with an apology, and as of now, you can't buy the Mossimo Women's Plus-Size Kimono Maxi Dress in ANY shade of grey. Boo. Friar Plum, Frolic Pink and Orange Flash will have to do.
@suzen We apologize for this unintentional oversight & never intend to offend our guests. We've heard you, and we're working to fix it ASAP.
— Target (@Target) April 3, 2013
The whole thing leaves us with a few questions. What was the "unintentional oversight?" Are "Dark Heather Grey" and "Manatee Grey" the same color? Are manatees dark-heather-grey-colored? Are we being too sensitive about the random naming of things, or should Target and other clothing chains know better?