Let Toys Be Toys: UK Store Removes Boys and Girls Labels
Great customer service is hard to come by, but when I find it I become a very loyal customer. If I lived in the UK I would become a loyal Boots shopper after the news I read today.
After recent complaints that signs categorizing certain toys for girls and others for boys were sexist, the company immediately responded to customers’ feedback. The problem was that Science Museum-brand toys were all being housed under the sign for boys’ toys. Girls on the other hand can have all the tea sets, princess toys or pink make-your-own jewelry sets they can find.
Many customers were angered by the insinuation that only boys would want to play with science-themed toys, including author Megan Peel, the mother of a daughter, who said:
I know that Boots is not the only retailer to stereotype children’s interests in this way, but I find it particularly disappointing that as a science-based company, who employ many female scientists, they chose to label Science Museum toys as ‘for boys’. I know that I am not alone in feeling deeply frustrated by the ‘pinkification’ of products marketed at girls, and I believe that there is a real opportunity for retailers to win brownie points with mums by publicly pledging to treat their daughters’ aspirations with more respect from now on.
Well, Boots has certainly taken this opportunity head on to break down gender stereotypes in toys. In a statement posted on Facebook, Boots said the following:
Thank you to all our customers who have taken the time to share their thoughts with us on the signs we use in the toys and games area of our stores. We’ve always been proud of supporting women in science and in particular in their careers in pharmacy and we were dismayed that our attempts to help customers hips our store hasn’t worked in the way we wanted it to. It was never our intention to stereotype certain toys. It’s clear we have got this signage wrong, and we’re taking immediate steps to remove it from the store. Customer feedback is really important to us so thanks once again for your ongoing passion and support.
The company will now remove any in-store signs designating toys for boys or girls. Victory!
I have to say I’m super impressed with how Boots handled the situation. I hope that all Boots locations will do the same moving forward and that one day all toy stores will do away with boy versus girl aisles and instead just let toys be toys.
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Photo Credit: Original image tweeted on April 28 by @SeanEGray