Crate & Barrel Apologizes for Selling ‘Beggar Wallet’ Inspired by NYC Homeless

Item is pulled from CB2 store

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Crate & Barrel wins this week's honors for most offensive marketer after being forced to stop selling a "Lucky Beggar Wallet" for $15.95, mocking those who can't even afford to put a roof over their heads. "Inspired by the iconic blue and white coffee cup often seen in the hands of New York City panhandlers, this quirky wallet begs to be seen," read the noxious punning copy on the item, which was being sold at Crate & Barrel's young-adults chain, CB2. C&B belatedly realized it's not actually that clever to use people who have nothing as a marketing hook, and pulled the item. "We made a bad decision when we purchased this product & have pulled it from stores & online. Please accept our deepest apologies," the brand is now tweeting. In fact, the problem isn't really the product itself—NYC's Greek coffee cups are iconic—but rather the name and positioning of it. For that, you can thank its original creator, Kikkerland Design, which is still selling it on its own website. The promotional copy there is even worse: "Designed by artist George Skelcher, this change purse is rich with New York nostalgia. Whether you are looking for a handout or headed to the bank, you'll want this charming accessory in your back pocket." Via Jezebel.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
Publish date: December 5, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT