Woot, the daily deal company acquired by Amazon.com two years ago, announced plans overnight to shift away from its longtime t-shirt supplier, American Apparel, and start using short-sleeved shirts made by Anvil in Honduras for the popular original designs sold by its Shirt.Woot site.
Suffice it to say that the legions of Shirt.Woot users are not happy about this change, judging from the tone of the hundreds of comments that have greeted the news.
The news follows Woot’s decision last month to increase the first-day price of the shirts by $2, to $12 apiece.
“Anvil is definitely inferior to AA in every way. Especially since they are not made in the USA,” reads one of the more level-headed comments. “Raising the price and lowering the quality is not a great business plan.”
In its announcement, Woot defends the decision to go outside the U.S. for the shirts, and acknowledges that cost is a factor.
As their exhaustive and frank Corporate Social Responsibility progress report shows, Anvil holds itself to high environmental and labor standards. We realize the fact that they’re made in Honduras will set off red flags for some people — honestly, we weren’t sure about that ourselves at first. But with a 77% unionized workforce and 100% WRAP-certified factories, we’re comfortable Anvil is serious about treating its workers decently. …
For a long time, we ran on thin margins that didn’t leave us much room to experiment. Now we can continue expanding our selection and taking chances on different kinds of products that we may not have been able to try before.
Apart from concerns about shifting to a non-U.S. supplier, the fit of the Anvil shirts is a sticking point for some Woot users.
“I’ll buy one and see how it fits, but I’m almost certainly out after that. I’ve had anvil shirts before. They fit much ‘bigger’ in the chest and are shorter. They also shrink more,” writes one. “Good job screwing up woot. I’ve bought almost 100 shirts in just over a year, you can count on those number dwindling.”
Woot notes that the change will be gradual, and the company will maintain its existing suppliers for hoodies and longsleeve tees.
Even so, it’s probably time for Woot’s monkey mascots, Mortimer and Monte, to step in and smooth things over with a clever rap or something. What rhymes with Honduras?