Calgary teen Maggie Harder was horrified when she saw shirts on Amazon.ca that appear to mock suicide so she campaigned to have them removed — and, according to an email response to a complaint, it appears she may have won.
The 14-year-old started a campaign and online petition calling for Amazon to remove shirts containing slogans such as "Suicide makes our lives so much easier" and "got depression?" More than 23,000 people had signed the petition by late Friday.
Harder said "many" of her supporters who complained online received a response that appears to be from the online retailer promising their removal — although many of the items in question were still available at Amazon.ca on Friday evening.
"I didn't know that they would respond so quickly," Harder told CBC News.
"I have heard that Amazon has a history of saying, 'No comment', and leaving it at that but the fact that their response is extremely elaborate, professional and even apologetic are all wonderful surprises.
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The emails have the Amazon logo at the top, begin with the words "Message From Customer Service, Hello from Amazon.ca" and end with: "Best regards, Kumaresh R. Your feedback is helping us build Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company. Thank you. Amazon.ca."
"I completely understand your concern in this regard. Please accept our sincere apologies for this listing on our website," Kumaresh R. writes. "Since I've forwarded this to the appropriate department I can assure you that soon we will remove this item from our website.
"I'm very sorry about all of this. I hope you'll consider this an isolated incident and give us another chance in the future."
Controversial T-shirts still listed on Amazon
CBC News reached out to Amazon.ca to confirm that the online giant was indeed removing the T-shirts but hadn't received a reply by time of publication.
But it's hard for Harder to contain her excitement.
"I am surprised and I am happy. I am in disbelief."
Harder says if Amazon does indeed follow through on its apparent promise to remove the T-shirts, it will send a couple of very powerful messages.
"Language is an extremely powerful tool, whether written or spoken. It is incredibly important to be aware of what we are saying and the message it is portraying or the things that are displayed on our clothes," Harder said.
"Another big message is to inspire young people to take action in their community nationally and even globally because it is possible, it is absolutely possible, even you are only eight or my age or 16 or 17 … it is still possible for you to make a change in this world."