Grief for sale! Buy now!

The day after the Virginia Tech shootings, I wondered how long it would take some opportunist to begin selling VT ribbons/shirts/stickers, profiting off the grief of others.  They did it right after 9/11 and Katrina, after all, so why shouldn’t this be any different?  Well, today I decided to do some Googling and see what I could find.

The VT Campus Emporium is selling a VT memorial ribbon magnet, which is surely a hot seller.  Is this more or less tasteless because it’s being sold right on the VT campus?  I can’t quite decide…it’s a sort of weird gray area.  If they’re donating the proceeds to charity, maybe it’s not so bad.

There’s actually a website called virginiatechtragedy.com, and the fact that it was registered the same day as the massacre is simply puke-inducing.  These vultures sure didn’t waste any time, did they?  And, of course, they’re hawking the ever-trendy rubber bracelets.  They claim that the profits will go towards grief counseling and other things, but I’m highly skeptical…and it’s still tacky beyond belief.  I mean, really…”United we stand”?  Isn’t that one taken already??

Over on eBay, you can find a VA Tech Ribbon Embroidered Crochet Top Towel for sale.  Nowhere in the auction does the seller say anything about Virginia Tech — all she does is list the many fantabulous uses for this simple towel:

My Towels are Machine Washable and can be put into the dryer.  They can be used any place inside or outside the house.  Places you can use them:  Bathroom.  Car next to the car seat, you will be surprised how often you will use it.  Hang one on your Beach or Bowling Bag.  Great for that work out or Gym bag.  Joggers too!  A must for the Grill or the pool.  Hang one on the Lawnmower!  They are excellent for Camping.  Don’t forget about the fisherman and hunter in your house!  Perfect for the RV, Boat, Camper or Cabin!  Any place that you need a quick place to wipe your hands.  The Top is large enough to hang on a guard rail.  Use it on your deck!

Fantastic.  How does it work for drying tears?

Skipping over to causekeepers.com we find a brass lapel pin, which at least has a slightly different shape than most cause ribbons out there.  Bonus points for giving 50% of each sale to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, when most other sites are a bit vague about how much they give to charity.

Most interesting of all is this post from the folks at stockpins.com, who found that cashing in on this particular tragedy won’t be as easy as they thought:

We have been informed by the administration at VT that the official policy is that they want absolutely no memorial items produced and are using all possible means to stop merchants from offering such items.

We respect the difficult position that the VT administration is in.  On the one hand the community is looking for ways to express their grief while on the other the administration needs to protect the privacy and dignity of the families.

Well!  They took down their VT items, but all these others are still being sold around the web.  What’s an opportunist company to do in times of national tragedy?  It just ain’t fair!

If anyone out there finds other tacky or tasteless VT Memorial items, feel free to post a link in the comments. 🙂

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