Home South African Storm brewing over Pick n Pay’s ‘Maid’ and ‘Gardener’ mugs

Storm brewing over Pick n Pay’s ‘Maid’ and ‘Gardener’ mugs


The franchise has been forced to stop selling the mugs after members of the public complained that they were 'offensive' and 'disrespectful'.

Pick and Pay has removed from its shelves these mugs which many found offensive to black people.

Johannesburg – A Pick and Pay franchise has been forced to stop selling mugs emblazoned with the words “The Maid” and “The Gardener” after members of the public complained that they were offensive and disrespectful.

Twitter user @toni_verna was the first person to tweet a picture of the mugs saying she had seen the mugs at the store’s  Observatory branch and that she found them “hella problematic.”

Many other users were also shocked by the mugs saying they could not believe what they were seeing in South Africa in 2018.
This is because it has always been known that in South Africa, many employers especially- white ones during apartheid- did not want to share utensils with their black workers. Therefore, domestic workers and gardeners had their own utensil, in most cases enamel ones.

By selling those mugs, Pick and Pay was seen to the encouraging separate utensil for the bosses and the workers, a point raised by @JamilFarouk who said: “In South Africa, domestic labour has a long history of dehumanization and racism attached to it. One method was and still is to deny helpers use of household crockery and cutlery as they were considered unworthy and unhygienic. This labeling encourages that idea.”

This was something that @zandy_thabethe concurred with saying: ” Indeed we all know in some households the helper has her own cup, teapot, spoon, teaspoon, plate and made to sleep under the table. The tea is brewed on Monday for the whole week.”

How the store ended up packing the “offensive” mugs on their shelves without realising that many black people will have an issue with them was also something brought by @sammagopa who asked whether anyone would be held accountable.

“Or it’s just going to be business as usual. Surely this could have been stopped in the supply chain process, you don’t buy stocks without seeing it or examples.”

The Star sent question to  Pick n Pay spokesperson Janine Caradonna  to find out among others things the reason behind the making of these mugs, who the intended buyer was, their response to the fact that the mugs were seen to be offensive also whether they did not believe that as the store they were encouraging the idea that domestic workers and gardener must not use the same utensils as their employers.

However, Caradonna just sent a statement saying: “These products were being sold by one of our franchisees. We asked him to remove it from sale immediately which he has done.”