Dead shark photo zone at E-mart sparks controversy
E-Mart is facing backlash after one of their branches displayed a shark carcass and called it a photo zone.
The E-Mart Yongsan branch, located in Yongsan District, central Seoul, displayed the “shark photo zone” in its seafood corner on Sunday, according to local media reports and posts online. Photos related to the shark photo zone have been shared numerous times on social media.
In the photos, a bloody shark carcass lies on top of a pile of ice in the seafood corner, next to a sign that reads “A special event only at E-Mart Yongsan.”
The sign included information on sharks, dishes customers can make with them, and how to take pictures at the photo zone. The popular baby shark cartoon character was also drawn at the bottom of the signboard.
“I’m at a loss of words,” read one post online. “This is just very strange marketing, and if you look at this shark carcass and don’t feel anything, that is a problem.”
“I thought someone should act, so I called the branch,” another post read. “They said customer service was only possible through chat. Through the chat, they said that they have taken down the photo zone and are considering an apology.”
The author of the online post also uploaded a screen capture of the chat exchange through the customer service system.
“The purpose of the shark photo zone was to display exotic fish species that are not easily encountered by customers in order to provide a new experience, but we apologize for the inconvenience caused by not understanding customers’ sentiment,” the customer service response read. “We will listen to customers’ opinions in the future and pay more careful attention.”
The response to the shark photo zone was mostly critical. “I thought surely it must be a fake shark,” read one comment online. “It is so shocking that it’s real.”
“I feel sorry for the shark,” read another comment, while another said, “Displaying dead creatures dripping with blood is so cruel.”
There were additional concerns that children may have been shocked by the display, especially due to the fact that the sign next to the carcass showed the baby shark character popular among children.
Some netizens responded less negatively, with a few comments saying, “It’s just a fish, what’s the problem?” and another, “There is no difference between displaying fish like tuna and displaying a dead shark.”
BY HYEON YE-SEUL [firstname.lastname@example.org]