Crate And Barrel’s CB2 has pulled a coin purse from its stock after complaints the “Lucky Beggar Wallet” mocked the plight of the poor and homeless.
CB2 is the less expensive, hipper and more urban-oriented version of the brand, much like an Old Navy to a Gap in price point. But the shop came under fire after its “Lucky Beggar Wallet” was deemed insensitive to the homeless, and the brand has apologized and removed the product.
The appearance of the “Lucky Beggar Wallet,” styled to look like a crushed, iconic coffee cup common both in New York coffee shops and among panhandlers in the city, caused outrage in the blogosphere and prompted and eventual apology from Crate And Barrel’s CB2.
Before the item disappeared from CB2’s website, a description for the “Lucky Beggar Wallet” also took a rather hiply-ironic view of the plight of the legion homeless residents of New York City, skimming over their suffering in a blurb that jokes about the cliched sight:
“Street Fare. 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.”
Laura Clawson of The Daily Kos opined on the “Lucky Beggar Wallet,” writing:
“The thing is, if this wasn’t marketed as a joke on homeless people, it would just be a wallet of a coffee cup … But that apparently just wasn’t cutesy and cutting edge enough, so some genius decided to ensure that the only person to carry the wallet would be, again, an [expletive.]”
Marta Calle, CB2’s President and Chief Merchant, apologized Tuesday for the offensive item, and said:
“We made a bad decision when we purchased this product … We apologize for the product and the insensitive language used in its description. We have pulled the product from our stores and our website. Please accept our apologies for this lapse in judgment.”
By Wednesday, the “Lucky Beggar Wallet” was no longer for sale — and advocates for the homeless say that a record 43,000 New Yorkers alone are currently residing in shelters, not counting the many still on the streets.