Urban Outfitters: Retailers of Controversy

The popular chain is coming under fire again for some of its products

WRITTEN BY: Cynthia Martin
Urban Outfitters continues to stir the pot with its new drug-related products.
Image Source: fffreds via flickr
Urban Outfitters continues to stir the pot with its new drug-related products.

Urban Outfitters is becoming known more for its controversy than for its style. This time, the retailer is being criticized for products that some claim glamorize drug usage.

Shot glasses that look like pill bottles, flasks with labels for “Boozemin” and “syringe shot shooters” are three of the products in the line of novelty items from Urban Outfitters that have people fuming.

But it’s not that the items just resemble drug-related paraphernalia. The description on Urban Outfitter’s website for the syringe shooters makes it clear that the company is playing on a drug motif:

“Prescribe yourself a small dose of pleasure. Syringe-shaped shot container - press down top to squirt out liquid. Fill it up with booze and let the healing begin!"

Natalie Costa, a documentary film maker, leads the fight to get Urban Outfitters to remove the items from their stores. What affect the items might have on teens is her main concern.

“It's not fun, it's not a novelty, and parents are losing their kids,” Costa said. “We have a huge addiction problem. They need to find something else to sell."

With the main clientele for Urban Outfitters being the tween demographic, societal pressure may cause the chain to cave to demands. But they have yet to make a statement about the issue.

This latest controversy comes soon after December’s issues with swear words in the Urban Outfitter catalogues. And in 2011, the store was accused of stealing jewelry designs.

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