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Amazon has certainly earned its reputation as the biggest online marketplace, the go-to online shopping destination for, well, anything you could possibly want. My boyfriend and I have frequented it for everything from nutritional supplements to tools and puppets (yes, puppets ... that's a whole different story for another day). So have you probably. But would you continue to do biz with the Internet giant if you knew that they were selling offensive materials? Like ... Nazi flags?
Jezebel ran a story yesterday explaining how Amazon recommended that one of their readers buy Nazi flags as possible additions to his yard. He says he's a history teacher and, thus, a recent Google search for pictures seemed to suggest to Amazon that he might be interested in swastika-laden memorabilia. Turns out the flags are just the tip of the iceberg.
You can also hunt down Nazi armbands ("for theatrical purposes only"), an SS "Death Head" hat, and a German Flying Eagle Neck Knife that sports a swastika for sale on the site ... mostly sold through third parties. But, still, anyone can access them -- for, let's be honest, any purpose, not just theatrical -- via Amazon. What the hell?
This really doesn't seem to gel at all with Amazon's list of policies for their third-party sellers, which prohibits "offensive material," and "Amazon reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of listings posted on our site." How on EARTH something like an SS "Death Head" hat is deemed inoffensive is beyond me.
It's possible that their rationale for allowing the sale of these items is historical value or some such. (That's actually what my boyfriend suggested when I told him I was outraged by the news.) But I'm not sure that's a good enough explanation. The site could and should be doing a better job policing their sellers when other sites like eBay seem to have enforced stricter policies on Nazi paraphernalia across the board.
Amazon may be the biggest catch-all spot on the web to find the best price on anything you could possibly need, but something as tasteless and bizarre as this is enough to make a slew of people click away. With a web full of other options, Amazon better act fast. Seems fair to think that an apology and prompt removal of Third Reich materials are in order -- ASAP.
Do you agree with Amazon allowing the sale of these items?
Image via Thomas Quine/Flickr