Quebec furniture chain Structube apologizes after giving Arab men’s names to trash bins

MONTREAL – The assignment of proper names for products is part of the brand identity of the Montreal-based furniture store Structube. However, the business learned this week that proper names may be inappropriate for some products and something more general may be warranted.

Structube has some serious problems online for giving two trash cans of common Arabic male names.

A stainless steel container named “Walid” and a garbage can named “Wassim” were removed from the store’s website, and the company apologized for using the moniker on its Twitter feed.

“We recently posted several new trash cans with common names on our website,” the company wrote. “We were rightly made aware that naming garbage cans after someone’s name can be offensive, especially if the name suggests an ethnic, religious or other minority.”

The apology sparked a series of responses, with none of the commentators accepting the mea culpa as real.

“Really disappointed,” wrote Twitter user Noor Akbari. “I always bought my furniture there when I bought my house. Felt just right to promote Quebec’s trade. And then this happens.”

The company’s website has names for most of its products, including a woven rug called a Bongi, a lamp called Dorothy, and a king-size acacia bed called Kabbann.

The waste bins are now named after clouds: Alto, Strato, Cumulo and Nimbo.

Structube said the naming of the trash cans was “completely unintentional” and the company was more thoughtful about naming products.

“We can assure you that the trash cans were not named with intent,” said the company. “Our product names are chosen at random before the specifics of the product are known.”

“It was only now that you were made aware that naming trash cans after people’s names” REAAAALLY? “It is insulting,” wrote Selma_se. “It’s basic common sense!”

Structube was founded in 1974 on the corner of Sherbrooke St. and Park Ave. opened in Montreal and now operates in over 70 retail stores.

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