You'd think that recent history would teach any company that, issues of freedom of speech or responsibility of expression aside, selling Nazi-related paraphernalia is not smart business.
But it seems that some lessons aren't easily learned. First there was Spanish clothing and accessories brand Zara caught selling such products on two different occasions that were years apart. Walgreens was excoriated over selling a Hallmark gift wrap with a swastika pattern embedded in a larger design.
Now it appears that Amazon's marketplace has some extensive amounts of swastika- and Nazi-themed merchandise from third parties, such as the following:
- a Hitler poster
- Iron Cross reproduction medals
- Nazi cosplay armbands
- swastika pewter pendant that is claimed to be a "Buddhist Hindu" version, but which doesn't look like the more ancient religious symbols
- swastika lapel pin
- an SS poster
- a sieg heil swastika biker patch
- a German officer hat
- Panzer division sticker
- Hitler youth sticker
- German battle flag biker patch
- German youth knife
I could go one for a while, as there were more patches, knives, stickers, and other things, but I think that makes the point. I have an email in to Amazon but have yet to hear back.
There are people who would argue that to sell Nazi-style products is a morally bankrupt action, given what the specific use of the symbol, and not some version that predates the era, implies. Others would say that there should be no censorship of products, no matter how distasteful one might personally find them. I can understand both arguments.
But, from a business view, this is the sort of thing that brews ill will and gets a company into unnecessary trouble, even with the excuse that Amazon operates a marketplace and seems to neither sell nor fulfill these products.
It's not as if enabling third parties to sell swastika-bearing items has never been an issue in the past. As recently as October, Sears was caught enabling sales of a swastika ring. The company had a mess on social media and had to apologize and remove the item.
A mark of any intelligence, business not excepted, is to look at what happens around you, see the problems that explode, and deftly avoid them. Someone else has already stumbled so you needn't. If you do, it's nothing more than ineptitude.