April 8, 2009

Walgreens says no to Ch-Ch-Chia Obama

Drug store chain Walgreens has thrown dirt on selling a Chia Obama plant novelty in its stores, deciding to remove the item from its shelves.

We decided to pull the product because it didn't fit with our corporate image, Walgreens spokesman Robert Elfinger said in a company statement. We also didn't want to be subject to any misinterpretation over the product. People could interpret it through a political viewpoint or other viewpoints and we want to avoid that situation.

The product was pulled after a week of testing in Tampa, Fla., and Chicago markets after the Deerfield, Ill., national chain said it received several complaints that the product was offensive, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Walgreens' decision caught Joseph Enterprises, maker of Chia Obama, off-guard.

Company president Joe Pedott says the clay bust is totally patriotic.

It's hope, courage and pro-American, he told the Tribune.

The $19.99 Chia Obama, which sprouts foliage where hair would be, is available at several Web sites but Pedott told the Chicago Sun-Times said he's trying to find another national retailer to stock the item. About 200,000 plant kits are shelved in a Chicago warehouse.