The controversy: On Monday, just as Hurricane Sandy was about to make landfall in the Northeast, most residents were preparing for the worst. But apparently, American Apparel hoped they'd take the opportunity to do some shopping. The outlet sent out a promotional email to shoppers in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland — all states expected to be hit hardest by Sandy — saying, "In case you're bored during the storm, 20% off everything for the next 36 hours." The internet responded with outrage. An American Apparel spokesperson said the email was simply an attempt to keep revenue flowing if East Coast storefronts closed, and that it "came from a good place."
The reaction: Wherever this came from, it's "a really stupid PR stunt," says Kevin Camps at Death and Taxes. "From a company that takes racy photos of their product to keep edgy, even this promotion comes as a surprise." Perhaps many retailers sales figures will be among Sandy's victims, says Jessica Phelan at Global Post, but "excuse us if we don't feel too sorry for them." Let's be fair, says Leah Chernikoff at Fashionista.com. "American Apparel wasn't the only retailer offering Sandy sales." On Monday, the Gap tweeted: "All impacted by #Sandy, stay safe! We'll be doing lots of Gap.com shopping today. How about you?"