10 Things Target Has Pulled From Its Shelves

Mike Mozart, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Mike Mozart, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Over the years, Target has had more than a few misfires. In the half century the retail giant has existed, it's moved a lot of product—both online and in its 1800-plus stores across the country. It has also pulled a number of items due to customer outrage, ethical concerns, shifting industry standards, or a combination of all three. Here are 10 goods that missed the mark.




One of the highest-rated and best-selling video games of all time was hardly adored by all when it released in October 2013. Target stores in Australia (and Aussie Kmarts, both owned by the Wesfarmers retail group) decided to remove the game from shelves in late 2014 after nearly 46,000 people signed an online petition arguing that Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V “encourages players to murder women for entertainment.” Target's GM of Corporate Affairs, Jim Cooper, issued a statement acknowledging the "significant level of concern" over the game and confirming that the company would remove it from their Australian stores. Cooper added that Target would continue to sell other R-rated games to adult customers, but that the “strong feedback” about GTA V had led to its removal.




Following an investigation into store-brand supplements earlier this year, New York State’s attorney general issued subpoenas to Target, Walgreens, GNC, and Walmart that required the retailers to prove the claims printed on their labels. DNA tests conducted by the attorney general’s office found that most of the products did not contain the ingredients advertised, and while some industry experts argued that the tests were not reliable, Target and others pulled the products when threatened with legal action.




Like Amazon and many others in the wake of the June massacre at a Charleston, South Carolina church, Target pulled all Confederate flags from its online and brick-and-mortar shelves. After an inquiry by CNBC, the chain also removed Confederate costumes from its website.




In the mid 1980s and early 1990s, there were a number of incidents involving the police and civilians (often children) in which cops mistook toy guns for the real thing. To prevent further tragedy, a number of retailers, including Target, stopped selling realistic-looking toy weapons. Cities including New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. have since banned the sale of airsoft guns, and federal law now requires that manufacturers permanently attach a bright orange plug to the barrel of the toys.



Target stopped selling cigarettes in its stores in 1996 because, according to The New York Times, “it was costing too much to keep them out of the hands of minors.” 



Sergey Galyonkin, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

The brand put an end to a retail practice known as “showrooming” in 2012. This came after the retailer’s online competitor, Amazon, had encouraged shoppers to scan Kindle barcodes in-store to compare prices and receive a discount on Amazon.com. The news about the end of Amazon and Target's relationship came in the form of a leaked memo, but Target later confirmed the decision. A spokesperson for the company wouldn't elaborate, telling CNN Money that “we typically don't discuss our relationships with vendor partners.”



Target announced

 in 2010 that, as part of its efforts to become a “responsible steward of the environment,” the company would no longer sell farmed salmon in any of its stores. Instead, the discount chain committed to packaging and selling only wild-caught Alaskan salmon, and even consulted the Monterey Bay Aquarium about how to make more sustainable choices.



SandiLake on Etsy


In Spring 2015, designer Melissa Lay accused Target of ripping off the #Merica t-shirts that she sold via her small clothing company on Etsy. The story gained traction online, and Target eventually pulled the designs, issuing a statement that said the company was “concerned when this was brought to our attention. We've been in contact with the vendor that produced this tee. We've also reached out directly to the designer.”



Aaron Davidson/Getty Images

During her very public fall from grace in 2013, butter enthusiast Paula Deen was dumped by a number of brands looking to distance themselves from the chef, who admitted in a deposition that she had used racist language. Deen's cookware and her books were “phased out” from Target stores and Target.com as she struggled to save her tarnished image.



Ronald Yudo Adityo, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Citing ethical concerns about the dangers involved in the production process, Target stopped selling sandblasted denim in 2012. “The safety of factory workers should not be compromised for the sake of fashion,” Target's lead fabric engineer said in a statement.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Transport Your Living Room to a Galaxy Far, Far Away With These Star Wars Area Rugs From Ruggable

Add some villainy to your living space with this Star Wars area rug.
Add some villainy to your living space with this Star Wars area rug.

There may be no film property more exhaustively licensed than Star Wars. And it's more than just the typical toys, games, and LEGO sets. Since the original movie's release in 1977, it’s been possible to fill your entire home with goods ranging from coffee machines and waffle makers to blankets and costumes for your dog.

Thanks to Ruggable, you can now add area rugs to the list. Ranging in price from $109 to $399, these fully washable Star Wars rugs can display your love of the Skywalker saga right under your feet.

Star Wars rugs work in any kind of room.Ruggable

The designs encompass everything from Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon to Darth Vader’s visage to a toile (French fabric) rug depicting iconic scenes from the films.

If you prefer subtlety, you can also opt for graphic design rugs that reveal themselves as Star Wars-inspired only on close inspection, like this TIE Fighter rug.

TIE Fighters can streak through your dining room.Ruggable

Prices range from $109 for a 3-foot-by-5-foot rug to $399 for an 8-foot-by-10-foot version. The rugs also come in 6-foot ($229) or 8-foot ($329) round varieties. You can find them on Ruggable.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.