‘West Roxberry,’ ‘Mission Hills,’ ‘Southy?’ Target T-shirts miss the mark
Worcester, Haverhill, Gloucester — these Massachusetts cities are understandably difficult to pronounce and spell for people (see: interlopers) not familiar with the area.
But when a major department store steps into the sales arena to offer clothing with a Boston-specific theme to its customers, the locals aren’t as forgiving about blatant misspellings of the city’s many neighborhoods.
A Target representative on Wednesday apologized to residents on behalf of the company and said the chain would pull from its website and store shelves shirts that had obvious errors printed on them, like “Mission Hills” and “West Roxberry.”
“Certainly, localization is something Target is committed to, and we love to be able to carry products that are reflective of the local community, which is why you would see Boston T-shirts in our Boston stores,” said Target spokeswoman Jessica Carlson in a telephone interview. “We apologize for any disappointment that this may have caused.”
People started noticing the flubs this week following the opening of a new Target store in Cambridge’s Central Square.
A shopper pointed out on Twitter Monday that a T-shirt on sale at the location with a map of Boston neighborhoods had some whoppers: Southie was labeled “Southy.” Jamaica Plain was spelled “Jamaca Plain.” Chinatown, Allston, Bay Village, and the North End were nowhere to be found, and a mysterious neighborhood, called “Central,” was inserted just south of Charlestown.
After a Globe reporter tweeted about the shirt, and Boston.com reached out to the Minneapolis-based company, Carlson said the item would be discontinued. As of Wednesday morning, it was no longer available online.
But other shirts, with more blunders, remained on sale on Target’s website this week.
For example, a gray T-shirt that says “The Hub,” the words floating above the city skyline, misspelled Mission Hill as “Mission Hills,” and added Cambridge to the lineup of Boston neighborhoods.
A second shirt featuring yet another map of Boston appeared to spell West Roxbury as “West Roxberry.”
Those shirts, too, will go away, Target confirmed.
“All the Boston T-shirts referenced . . . are being removed from our assortment, both in stores and on Target.com,” Carlson said in a follow-up e-mail.
The shirt kerfuffle follows an earlier clothing flap in which Target was at the center.
In 2015, Sully’s Brand, a North Shore T-shirt company, published a full-page letter in the Boston Herald scolding Target for choosing a New York-based artist to design Boston-themed shirts. The clothing, created by Todd Snyder, was for sale in stores and online as part of a partnership with the company.
“Outsourcing Boston Pride to NYC? The home of the Yankees? The Evil Empire?! Say it ain’t so, Target. Say it ain’t so,” the letter from Sully’s read.
Target has since ended the partnership with Snyder, but as of Wednesday, a few of his shirts were still for sale at Target.com, including one that spells Neponset River as “Nepsonset River.”
Sales of that shirt will also soon end.
“We will remove the incorrect Boston items” from the collection,” Carlson said.