I was recently in Las Vegas. Not really by choice. Well, kind of. My better half was attending a convention there and I decided to tag along. Without kids. To be honest, it could have been Beaverlick, Kentucky and I still would have had a great time just having some free time to myself.
I was intrigued by Las Vegas. I had never been before and couldn’t really picture all the things people told me about. Then I got there and began to understand.
The best way I can think of to describe it is that things are not what they seem. The friendly Donald Duck posing for pictures with tourists was a sad old man when he removed his head to take a break. A pawn shop that sold Picassos had the very same anniversary ring I had looked at in one of the three (!) Tiffany stores within walking distance on the strip. A tromp l’œil ceiling was so realistic it was impossible to remember that you were actually inside a building. Strange, but fun.
On my last day I did a little shopping. I spied a Kitson boutique and decided to go in. I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a wonderful selection of children’s books, cute costume jewelry, and really lovely salespeople. I decided on a few items of clothing for my kids, including tacky but fun Las Vegas shirts as souvenirs.
I got into the line to pay, wondering if I should have splurged on the pair of earrings I had liked downstairs, when it was my turn at the cash register. It was while the salesgirl was ringing up my purchases that I saw yet another novelty item. A condom with the saying “Immigrants are like sperm. Millions get in but only one actually works.” I froze. Could a trendy boutique store like this really endorse such intolerant and prejudicial ideas? More importantly, what should I do? I was really offended, but . . . I also really wanted the clothes for my kids. And the line up behind me had gotten longer–would it be fair to hold up the other people in the line and express my displeasure to the salesgirl who (most likely) had zero input over the store’s decision to sell this item? I stood there, uncomfortable, unsure. Then I paid for my items and left.
I’m not proud of myself. I wish I could say that I had left my items on the counter, explained the problem, and left. But I didn’t. So I guess this is my apology to the millions of hardworking immigrants all across North America. It’s not much, but hopefully it counts as something. When I started writing this, I Googled the saying and found that a Spencer Gift store in California had sold a shirt with a similar saying in 2010, but due to complaints, removed it from the shelves. I hope that others will complain to Kitson (a letter is next on my to-do list) and maybe they too will realize that it’s inappropriate and will remove it from their shelves. Kitson would still be a super cool (even cooler) boutique. I looked on Kitson’s website and found this statement: Our selection is edited, constantly updating, and fit for a queen. I really hope that the Las Vegas store gets edited and updated soon so that the selection offered is fit for all queens–regardless of where they were born or where they now live.
Here’s a link to the article about the 2010 Spencer Gifts incident: http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/101213019.html
And here’s a link to Kitson’s Customer Service page which lists their contact info: http://www.shopkitson.com/index.php?page=service#anc_1
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