T.J. Maxx and Marshalls employees were instructed this week to remove all Ivanka Trump signage and mix her products with the rest of the stores’ vast offerings.
The company said its decision to stop featuring Trump’s merchandise was based on “a number of factors,” pointing out they send similar communications “from time to time.” But many took it as a signal that yet another retailer is distancing itself from the Trump family, perhaps in response to sluggish sales due to the #Grabyourwallet boycott movement. Last week, citing poor performance, both Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus stopped carrying Trump’s products.
T.J. Maxx and Marshalls have massive followings of faithful bargain-hunting shoppers. But how do they, and people who work at the stores, really feel about the whole thing?
We visited a T.J. Maxx on 57th Street in New York City, which voted overwhelmingly against Donald Trump, to find out.
Chris, a woman shopping for pantyhose, made clear her disdain for doing business with Trump partners. “You just reminded me that they didn’t stop selling it, they just stopped featuring it,” she said, putting down a pair of pantyhose and heading for the exit. “I need these for a funeral, but I won’t buy them here. Thank you for reminding me.”
Other people were less concerned. A few shoppers who declined to give their names said they didn’t feel strongly either way, or that the fact that the store carries Ivanka Trump “doesn’t matter, it’s just clothes.” One employee was ambivalent, while a recent hire said he agreed with the decision to stop featuring Trump’s line.
“You shouldn’t have a clothing line if you’re involved in government, but there is a downside to this now, too.”- TJ Maxx shopper Margherita
A shopper named Danielle, who only recently began frequenting TJ Maxx, was a bit conflicted. She questioned whether or not Ivanka Trump should be subject to the boycott, voicing her support for female entrepreneurship and wondering if the president’s daughter might “be getting unduly punishment for something she did not do.”
Trump was a key member of her father’s campaign, prompting groups like #GrabYourWallet to begin boycotting her product lines during the campaign season. Despite being unsure how she felt about the issue overall, Danielle said the boycott has had an effect: She’s found herself “looking at [Trump’s] products with ambivalence” as a result.
Margherita, a regular shopper at both T.J Maxx and Marshalls, said she was pleased to have been in a Marshalls store when the employees started taking down Trump signs.
“You shouldn’t have a clothing line if you’re involved in government, but there is a downside to this now, too,” she suggested. “I think it will make her merchandise more rare and valuable now that it is being sold in [fewer] stores, but I appreciate the stores making a statement.”
Focusing on merchandise displays is losing sight of what’s actually important, said a shopper named Art.
“There are more important issues than where people are putting their clothes. People are losing their healthcare... There is a laundry list of more important things to worry about. The average American can’t even afford to fucking shop at Nordstrom, anyway. People say ‘God bless America,’ but I say ‘God help America.’”