Christmas Tree Shops Pulls ‘Offensive’ Shark Related Items from All Cape Cod Stores

HYANNIS – Following complaints from area residents, the Christmas Tree Shops has pulled merchandise seen by some as mocking shark attacks on beachgoers from all Cape Cod locations.

Over the past week, a number of people expressed dissatisfaction, some outrage, at the store’s decision to market items making fun of shark attacks on people.

In a statement to, Jessica Joyce, Senior Manager of Public Relations for Bed Bath & Beyond, Christmas Tree Shops’ parent company, said the store has removed the merchandise from all Cape Cod locations. 

“We have removed these items from the Cape locations. It is never our intention to offend customers by our merchandise assortment,” said Joyce.

Joyce said Christmas Tree Shops’ goal “has always been to provide a wide assortment of products that our customers are looking for in an exciting and friendly environment.”

“We understand our vast and diverse customer base consists of people with many different views and sensibilities which sometimes get reflected in their shopping preferences. We appreciate all customer feedback and understand this is a sensitive issue toward which many people have different feelings,” she said.

Recently, the retail chain had been marketing various items with writing and graphics related to the abundance of sharks in the area during the summer months and the dangers associated with the animals.

 Some products seen at the chain also directly depict and mock shark attacks on humans, a nod to the two great white shark attacks on people last year at beaches in Truro and Wellfleet.

Tim Dunn/

“It was about eating people, you know, stuff like ‘it tasted good I can’t wait for the tourists to come back again,’” said Edward “Shred” Hathorne, an Outer Cape resident and avid surfer. 

“It really bugs me because I’ve been a lifelong resident of Cape Cod, a surfer, been in the water all my life. I think it’s pretty tragic the guy got eaten by it and they’re using that as propaganda to make money.”

The material is seen on various items, including kitchen towels, shirts and notebooks.

The design on one kitchen towel features the open jaws of a great white shark with the phrase, ‘Nice to Eat You’ sprawled across the bottom and “Shark Week” written above. Another towel read, “Send More Tourists, The Last Ones Were Delicious!”

Christmas Tree Shops’ Sandwich location featured t-shirts with messages reading “Come to the Shark Side of Cape Cod” and “Cape Cod, Massachusetts – Dangerous Summer – Shark Patrol” while encompassing a picture of a shark.

“It’s kind of hitting a little too close to home. It’s a pretty touchy subject around here and I think if one more person gets killed I think this place is done – Cape Cod in general. There’s been a lot of changes and they’re not really doing a lot out here,” Hathorne said.

“We’re relying on tourism and stuff like that and we already hear that it’s down. People are afraid of the sharks and we’re actually trying to let people know that the sharks aren’t that bad.”

Tim Dunn/

The two attacks on the Cape last year were separated by exactly one month. On August 15, a 61-year-old New York man was bit at Long Nook Beach in Truro and was rushed to a Boston hospital in serious condition. He has since recovered.

On September 15, 26-year-old Arthur Medici, of Revere, was fatally attacked while surfing at Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet. He was pronounced dead upon arrival to Cape Cod Hospital. It was the first fatal shark attack in Massachusetts since 1936, when a shark killed a man in Mattapoisett.

Shark sightings have picked up in recent years at Outer Cape beaches along with an overall interest in the ocean’s apex predator.

Christmas Tree Shops operates five stores on Cape Cod in Sagamore, Falmouth, West Dennis, Hyannis and Orleans.

By TIM DUNN, News Center 

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