Saddleback “How to Knock Off a Bag” Video Makes Light of Offensive Mexican Stereotypes

In case you missed it, Saddleback & Co. recently released a wonderfully “clever”, not-quite viral, video about how to “knock off” one of their bags.    But not through their carefully vetted, gourmet leather crafting process.  No.  Instead, they’ll teach you how to re-create one of their bags through a series of “cheap” and “lazy” alternatives that only their sleaziest competitors would use.

The problem is, the lazy thieves that Saddleback CEO, Dave Munson describes in his video are Mexican…and they apparently all run sweat shops and beat their wives.

No kidding.  In the video, he actually JOKES about bringing children into the factory to “save money” and tells viewers, “You’ll save more money than you would ever make with those gold fillings and the jewelry that you get when you dig up those graves.”  CLASSY.

He goes on to say that, “Knocking off this bag will be easier than beating your wife and kids, especially if you have a large family.”

YES…HE SAID THAT.

There are little bits of hilarity and offensive gems hidden around every corner.  At one point he even advises knock off artists, “You can even nickel plate your crack pipe.”  REALLY?

Saddleback CEO, Dave Munson, probably thought he was hilarious in his video.  I bet he thought there was nothing wrong with a wealthy white guy who sells luxury hand bags degrading Mexicans as “lazy” or “cheap” or calling them wife beaters for example.

I mean, no one is ever affected by these stereotypes, right?

It’s not like people actually believe them.  I mean, my husband has never been denied a job or promotion because they didn’t think he’d work hard enough.  *cough, cough*

It’s totally harmless.

As someone who has been asked again and again if all Mexicans are “lazy” and “beat their wives”, I really didn’t find the video all that funny.  I especially didn’t like the fact that he included his Latino employees in his rant.

We get it.  You make the good stuff, everyone else’s work is inferior.

The “funniest” part?

If you really want to be irked to the point of disgust, just check out their company website (you can search for it online because I’m not giving him a link). From the Saddleback website “Our Story” page:

So, I had my first bag made while living in Southern Mexico as a volunteer English teacher to kids who needed a little help. I had looked everywhere for just the right bag, but with no luck. So I prayed for God to help me find the greatest bag ever, just like the one I had in my head. Well, as it turned out, He helped me to find that bag, but in a way I wasn’t expecting.

I walked into a little leather shop and met a fellow working leather in the back. I asked him if he could make me a bag if I were to draw it out. I told him that I wanted it to be made so well that my grandkids would fight over it while I was still warm in the grave. He said “Si” and I said “Bueno” and that’s how it all started. God directed me to the perfect bag that didn’t even exist yet.”

How very nice to comment in your video about how “lazy” and “cheap” Mexican goods are, all the while admitting that you “discovered” such a quality product IN MEXICO and resold it in the U.S. as your own creation, likely without offering any credit to the guy who actually made it.  Divine inspiration sounds much nicer, doesn’t it?

I don’t know how to NOT be offended by this mess.  All I know is, it’s easy to laugh when you’re not the one affected by misconceptions about your race or ethnicity.  It’s easy to laugh when you’re the one making big money off a product idea that YOU stole from a small time leather maker in Mexico.  It’s real easy to laugh about this kind of stuff when you THINK you are superior to everyone else in your market.

I don’t even want to think about how many fewer tourists may decide to forgo purchasing leather goods on their next trip to Mexico or scoff at hand made goods when their creator has brown skin.  It’s no accident that products marketed by white faces garner a much higher value.  The roles have been established.

I’ve had plenty of goods from Mexico, and they are more often than not, far superior to the products we sell here in the U.S.  Things pressed out of an assembly line.  But, obviously CEO Dave Munson is already aware of this, since he purchased his first high-quality bag across the border.  So why does he bash Mexicans instead of giving credit where it’s due?

You want to talk about poor quality work or inferior materials, fine.  But don’t attach Mexicans to your rant and devalue the very craftsmanship that gave life to your company.

This video could have been really smart, instead it just fell short by relying on CHEAP jokes that nobody is laughing at.

Eva Smith at TechFoodLife.com has a lot of the same concerns.  She’s reached out to the marketing team at Saddleback & Co. and I’m thinking that’s not a bad idea.  Check out her post to see how you can reach the Saddleback team and voice your concerns: http:/techfoodlife.com/2014/01/28/saddleback-bags-how-to-knock-off-a-bag-misses-the-mark

 

Comments

  1. dav says

    Hi there. In no way did I ever intend to offend you or any Mexican. I love Mexico and the Mexican people more than any American I know. I lived there for 7 years and have hundreds of friends and acquaintances there who would only tell you that I love them. I married a woman whose grandma and grandpa only spoke Spanish since they were from Mexico. We have had people come into our factory and were shocked at how amazingly clean and organized our facility was compared to everybody else’s they had toured. I would say that we easily have one of the cleanest factories in the country. The “Bring Your Kids To Work Day” just happened to take place while we were there designing and filming and so we filmed it. And since we didn’t want the kids running around where everybody was working throughout the day, we put the blow up bouncy things in the space next to where we work and where we are expanding into. The floors are not painted yet and the lights have not been decided upon.
    In fact, our goal is to be the best factory in the country and be recognized as such by the government. Soon, we will be transitioning it into a “Social Factory” where all of our profits are poured back into technology and into the people. This will be through excellent schools for the kids of the employees, community gardens for employees and their families, marriage classes (because success starts at home), basic financial classes, single mother programs with daycare on the premises and breastfeeding rooms for the moms. We plan on having parenting classes and also continuing education classes for the employees, including English.
    I am sorry that this video has given the idea of something else other than who we really are and what we’re really about. I would love for you to come down to Leon and visit the factory and even interview any employee you like. They all know that Suzette and I truly love them very much. You can ask them about us being there at 2 am walking through the late shift hugging every single neck there and asking them their names and if there was something we could pray for them about.
    As for the comment where I said, “It’ll even be easier than beating your wife and kids… especially if you have a lot of kids”, let me explain. Throughout the video, I had been portraying the creatively bankrupt unethical knock off artists as lowlifes. Graverobbers, crack addicts, slave driving thieves with a deep love of money who use child labor. And therefore, the one thing that I can think that really highlights a scumbag is that they abuse women and children. Those are the worst kind of people out there. Abusers are self-centered, egomaniac jerks. I can’t stand abuse. And if someone is reading this who is an abuser, you need to look at yourself and wonder if what I just wrote is true. Because if it is, then you need to go get help. The way you act is wrong and it’s bad and you need to stop.
    Again, I am sorry to hear that you were offended at this and I hope this helps you understand who we are and what we’re really about. Because it’s not about money. It’s much bigger than that.
    Peace to you,
    Dave Munson
    Presidente
    Saddleback Leather Co.

    • Chantilly Patiño says

      I was pretty surprised by that myself. I was really appalled by the lines I highlighted above. It’s awful and bizarre. Very out of place especially for a promotional video for a business.

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