Target Offends by Offering Plus-Size 'Manatee Gray' Dress

Manatees are cuddly creatures, but they shouldn't be used as adjectives for colors. A Cotton Photo/Shutterstock

Yes, manatees are adorable and they come in a charming shade of gray. But the marine mammals, also known as sea cows, just happen to tip the scales at 1,300 pounds. So when Target called the plus-size version of the Mossimo Womens Kimono Maxi Dress “Manatee Gray,” while the regular size was called “Dark Heather Gray,” many of the mega-retailer’s customers were, um, a bit surprised.

Twitter enthusiast, Susan Clemens, was the first to call attention to the gaffe.

To which Target replied:

But really, how could such an egregious oversight have happened? Target spokesman Joshua Thomas told Forbes that “Manatee Gray” is a color description used on many products across a range of categories on the Target site, some of them in women’s regular and even petite sizes.

In this case, however, apparently there were two separate teams of buyers responsible for the regular and plus-size product lines. The teams didn’t coordinate when they entered the product information for the site, and thus the offensive blunder was born.

“We apologize for any discomfort this might have caused and are working to update the name of the dress to reflect Dark Heather Gray,” Thomas said. “This was an unfortunate oversight and we’ll take it into consideration moving forward.”