Shopping centre forced to replace controversial Christmas display after backlash from shoppers
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Featured Image Credit: news.com.au
With the festive season just around the corner, it's becoming clear to see who will be spreading Christmas joy this year, and who'll be taking on the role of the Grinch.
And when it comes to a group of disgruntled shoppers in Australia, we have some names guaranteed to be going onto the naughty list after they aggressively hit out at shopping centre workers for omitting the word 'Christmas' from their decorations.
The outraged shoppers at Santa’s village at Pacific Werribee - just southwest of Melbourne - were unhappy after being confronted with a huge sign above Santa’s chair that read "Merry Everything".
And many of these enraged customers took to social media to explain their frosty feedback.
"Very disappointing display. Multiculturism gone mad. I am so glad I have left Wyndham. Ballarat loves Xmas and embraces all cultures. Best move we ever made," one shopper hit out.
Another penned: "‘Merry Everything’ is ridiculous. It’s Christmas! We don’t change names of other festivals so why come up with a silly slogan! It’s really offensive to those that celebrate it.
"It is ‘Merry Christmas’ not Merry Everything! How insulting! I believe inclusion for all is extremely important for our society," a third went on.
"I am very happy to promote and celebrate all festivals and would never want anyone to feel they need to change the name of their festivals and celebrations. I just cannot understand why you would think it’s OK to change the name of a festival!"
It wasn't long, however, before the shopping centre bosses gave in to the pressure of their customers, changing the display just two days later.
The general manager of the store later told news.com.au: "Pacific Werribee’s ‘Merry Everything’ Christmas campaign is intended to showcase our incredible range of gift giving and festive offerings available at the Centre, so customers can shop ‘everything’ this holiday season all in the one place.
"In line with the campaign, we are committed to delivering a convenient shopping experience, with a focus on providing a one-stop-shop for customers’ festive needs.
"We acknowledge some customers have raised questions in relation to the campaign and we have listened to their feedback."
He went on: "Our overriding objective is to create a vibrant and enjoyable shopping environment that meets the needs of our community, particularly in the lead-up to Christmas, which is why we made the decision to change our signage from ‘Merry Everything’ to ‘Merry Christmas’.
"We share our customers’ sentiment that Christmas represents the season of giving, and spending time with family and friends.
"We look forward to helping customers create memorable moments by providing the perfect gifts, ideas, competitions and events to make this Christmas special."
The news comes just weeks after Marks & Spencer was forced to apologise after part of its Christmas advert was branded as 'vile'.
However, it triggered heavy criticism from M&S' followers as many noticed that that burning hats were, in fact, the colours of the Palestinian flag.
Due to ongoing tensions in the Middle East, some viewers appeared to accuse the popular supermarket as taking the Israeli side of the controversial conflict.
Among the hundreds of comments on the post, one follower branded the festive advertisement as 'insensitive', given the current crisis in Gaza.
Another described the post - part of M&S' 'Love This-mas (Not That-mas)' campaign, featuring TV stars Tan France and Hannah Waddingham - as 'disgusting'.
"This is absolutely vile, you should be ashamed of yourselves," a third penned.
Another added: "Absolutely disgusting. Even if it was recorded in August you should have reshot this image or used technology to make changes. Shame on you!!!"
M&S later posted an apologetic statement on social media, claiming not to have intended to cause offence.