How do you offend women who aren’t pregnant and either (a) are trying to be or (b) aren’t and aren’t planning on it? It’s not easy, but one company nailed it.
That would be Mother’s Lounge, which sells mom and baby items wholesale out of Utah. They thought it’d be clever to send out the greeting card you see above. The punny cover declares, “Holy guacamole! You’re going to avo baby!” Inside, a seemingly handwritten note reads, “Congratulations!!! I’m so excited for you. I hope you like these.” It’s signed “Jenny B.,” and it’s pretty convincing – there are even some Sharpie “smudges” towards the middle.
And the “these” she’s referring to are $250 in gift cards plus coupons, CBS News reports.
The issue? It’s all fake. It’s a marketing packet that was mailed to young women including many who weren’t pregnant – or, even worse, to their parents.
In women’s newspaper The Lily, Caroline Kitchener tells her near-miss story. The card arrived at her parents’ house addressed to her, minus a return address. Assuming it was from an old family friend, she asked mom to mail it to her.
“It was a wiser move than I could have imagined,” reports the 20-something Kitchener, who is definitely not pregnant. “Many women had the same experience that I did. Instead of going to their current address, the card was delivered to the house where they grew up, a false alarm for one of life’s most emotional declarations: ‘Mom, Dad, I’m going to have a baby.'”
Another, A.P. Hawkins, unfortunately had her mom open it while they were on the phone – which lead to dashed grandma hopes. The same scenario played out for Lauren Jones from Florida, who had to “talk my mom down off a ledge.”
While it was a minor headache for some, for others, it was heart wrenching. CBS News reports that “on Facebook, one woman said the card arrived on the anniversary of her miscarriage.” Another commenter said it was addressed to her deceased daughter.
And what about women struggling with infertility? Whether these cards arrived to them or their parents’ homes, it’s painful to imagine their reactions as they tore open that pale pink envelope.
But people weren’t taking it sitting down. As of Nov. 6, the Better Business Bureau received a total of 95 reports against the company, CBS News reports.
And Mother’s Lounge doesn’t earn flying colors to begin with. The BBB gave the company an “F” rating, NBC Connecticut notes. A rep told the news outlet that “the BBB received more than two dozen complains from consumers nationwide over the last three years.” The issue? The products were “lower quality” than shoppers were led to believe.
“Is it a scam? No,” BBB Connecticut rep Luck Frey told NBC. “Is it questionable marketing practices? Absolutely.”
Even the gift card and coupons were misleading, showing some of Mother’s Lounge’s 15 alternate company names like Ruffle Buns and Canopy Couture, NBC says. Reporter Kristen Johnson even tried out one of the offers for $60 off at littlewaddlers.com. “When we went to check out,” she says, “adding the promo code tacked on $18 in shipping.”
Apparently, the BBB contacted Mother’s Lounge for pulling this stunt earlier in 2019, as well. But it seems the wrist slap didn’t help.
Toying with people’s emotions to hawk discounts on nursing pillows and baby leggings at sneakily higher shipping rates is pretty low. And it’s hurt people, too.
As 23-year-old Jones in Florida told Kitchener, she had to convince her mom she wasn’t pregnant.
“She told me her heart completely dropped to her stomach,” Jones told the reporter in a text message. “I think she was more upset that I wouldn’t have told her and told some random in Utah than anything else.”