Lowe’s Employees Are Confused That The VP Would Tell People A Drill Is Great For Latinos With Small Hands
On Monday morning, Lowe’s store managers across the nation started their workweek by watching a prerecorded corporate video featuring Lowe’s Vice President, Joe McFarland, advertising Lowe’s new $99 DeWalt cordless power drill. Prepare yourselves because this is the “number one power tool for the pros.” This drill is so much more than that. It’s “compact. It fits anywhere.” If you’re Latino, you’re in luck, because McFarland is targeting you: “Some of our Hispanic pros with smaller hands, this is perfect for them.”
Employees were so disturbed by the comment, they couldn’t even believe it just happened. One assistant manager in the Pacific Northwest anonymously leaked the video to the press and McFarland has since issued an apology.
Immediately after the video aired, managers in one room were reportedly perplexed.
“Everybody in the room was just like, ‘What? Did he just say that?’,” said one assistant manager. “Immediately after it happened, everyone was just like, ‘Whoa, why would he say that?’ ” he said. While employees were afraid to go to management with feedback for fear of losing their jobs, they did vent on Reddit.
The comment has left market researchers wondering if Lowe’s actually conducted research and intended to target Latinos.
American University professor Sonya Grier finds it hard to believe that any market research has been done on Latino consumers at Lowe’s. “They need to assess how deep their understanding is of the diverse consumer segment that makes up their actual and potential customer base,” Grier told The Washington Post, if for no other reason than, “so they do not further antagonize or offend.”
Meanwhile, some Latinos are calling McFarland out as a racist.
One Latino shared the story on Twitter, suspecting that McFarland “is a racist at the highest levels of the company and most likely supports the #OrangeDisaster. Brown peeps: let’s boycott @Lowes and give our business to @HomeDepot.” The only problem with that solution is that Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus has recently pledged to back Trump’s 2020 bid for the presidency. More commonly, Latinos on Twitter are exasperated that they feel like they have nowhere to go for home goods that won’t directly put their money into the pockets of racists.
Of course, trolls are already Googling the average height of Mexican men in defense of McFarland.
For those of you who don’t seem to understand why ethnic comments from an executive are not welcome in the workplace, here’s a brief, very rudimentary lesson. Not all Latinos are Mexican. McFarland’s comments were broadcast to Lowe’s management nationwide. That means that employees are hearing that this product is made for someone based on their ethnic appearance, or the color of their skin. While it would be absolutely fine to create a product for folks with smaller hands, it would be just as unacceptable to say the product is “perfect” for any other race or gender. We come in all shapes in sizes. The comment is just ignorant and isolates Latinos as the “other” in this case.
Latinos are questioning why McFarland is able to get away with this kind of rhetoric.
Mr. Caraballo used to work at Lowe’s and once considered himself a “proud Lowe’s employee.” Today, he’s telling it like it is: “Shame on you Lowes for bringing someone like this on board.” McFarland was brought on in August after spending 22 years at Home Depot.
McFarland has issued a public apology, but employees still don’t feel heard.
“I am sorry for a careless and ignorant comment I made during an associate broadcast yesterday,” McFarland said. “Our associates shared how my statement was harmful and inappropriate. This is a key reflection moment for me.” McFarland wants to assure the public that he is committed to “learn and grow from this moment,” and takes “full responsibility’ for the carelessness of the comment.
The comment was “unacceptable and degrading” to another manager in the Northeast.
While the weekly videos are usually published for the duration of a week, this video was deleted from the website and it seems no internal memo has circulated within the company. “What has my team more upset is, it feels like our leadership has looked the other way,” the manager told The Washington Post. “By them not posting the video like they always do, they know it was wrong but haven’t addressed it to the employees, so it makes me feel like they are trying to sweep it under the rug.”
READ: An Instagram Influencer And Actress Threw A Mexican-Themed Birthday For Her Daughter And Her Fans Are Divided
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