No matter the opposition, no matter the tragedy that may befall us in the protection of our collective ideals, "we will never forget"… the great deals on Coca-Cola brand products that Walmart offers each and every day. Oh, and we're also still pretty bummed about that whole 9/11 thing.
Some are arguing that the sentiment above is one shared by Walmart—and to a lesser extent The Coca-Cola Company—who are both facing backlash after a Walmart in Panama City Beach, Florida was discovered to have created a distasteful tribute to 9-11 a few days before the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attack.
Did we forget to mention that the display used packages of Coca-Cola products to recreate a miniature version of the Twin Towers and that it was promoting a "rollback" deal that Walmart was offering on Coca-Cola products?
Florida c'mon man pic.twitter.com/HU4y2rxgFG
— Shawn (@online_shawn) September 6, 2016
A man named Shawn Richard was on vacation in Florida this week when he discovered the display and tweeted a picture of it on Tuesday. "We stopped and stared at it like, oh my god," Richard explained to BuzzFeed News. "Nobody seemed to be noticing it, it wasn't very crowded, and I got the feeling that it had just been assembled. So we took some pics and went on our way."
The towers were constructed from boxes of Coca-Cola Zero, while cases of Sprite and both regular and diet Coca-Cola were used to create an American flag. The display—which is said to have been taken down on Wednesday—also featured one sign with Walmart's rollback prices for the soda and another sign that read "We will never forget" along with a picture of the Twin Towers and logos for both Walmart and Coca-Cola.
Interestingly, this doesn't appear to be the first time this specific Walmart location has created a display that some could consider to be distasteful or exploitative. An Instagram user named tbridger posted a picture of a 4th of July display at a Panama City Walmart that used cases of Bud Light to create a battleship, complete with two cans of Bud Light stuffed into faux cannons. Another Instagram user posted a picture from that same Walmart featuring a bald eagle display saluting American veterans, all made entirely of Coca-Cola products.
People of Walmart. #merica #walmart #budlight @luke_o A photo posted by Tayler (@tbridger) on Jun 21, 2016 at 8:33am PDT
A photo posted by David Medlock (@davidxyzzy) on Jun 25, 2016 at 6:14pm PDT
MUNCHIES reached out to Walmart for comment and received the following statement: "We hold this moment in our country's history in the highest regard, and there was nothing disrespectful intended by the display being assembled. It was removed from our Florida store Wednesday."
MUNCHIES also reached out to The Coca-Cola Company, who said, "This display was meant to honor local firefighters and to support their organization's upcoming event. We sincerely apologize that anyone was offended or misunderstood its intent, and we have replaced the display."
All of this might lead some to wonder: What's more American? Coca-Cola or a simulation of the Twin Towers made out of boxes of Coke? It's a question we'd like to avoid having to answer.