America's ongoing debate over politicized slogans has entered a bold new arena: The supermarket bakery.
This week, Walmart intervened after a number of employees at a store in McDonough, GA refused to create a custom "thin blue line" cake for a police officer's retirement party. According to the Charlotte Observer, the order was made last week by the officer's daughter, who asked Walmart bakers to create a cake featuring a black and white depiction of the American flag, overlaid with a blue stripe—a fairly common law enforcement icon.
Speaking with conservative radio host Todd Starnes, the woman, who asked to remain anonymous, explained that "One of the bakers told me the design could be perceived as racist and nobody feels comfortable decorating the cake." After a second design—an all-black background with a blue stripe—was also rejected, the woman opted to take her business elsewhere.
After a friend of the family posted about the incident on Facebook, urging readers to "#BOYCOTTWALMART," the cake kerfuffle made its way to Walmart's higher-ups, who contacted the officer's offended family.
In a statement provided to ABC affiliate WTVM, a company spokesperson said:
Our goal is to always take care of customers. But, sometimes we misstep. We've reached out to the family to make this right and offer our apologies.
Taylor Wilkes, the retiring officer's family friend whose original note helped propel the story into the viral stratosphere (it's been shared nearly 4.5K times) explained in a follow-up message that the local Walmart's manager met with the officer's daughter, and supplied a number of additional party supplies, as well as a gift card to the store. Wilkes also claimed a similar request for another police-centric cake was also rejected, pending corporate approval.
According to Starnes, the employees never backed down. The store manager ultimately had to step in and make a "Blue Lives Matter" cake after they refused once more.