TK Maxx pulls ‘offensive’ OCD kitchenware from its shelves

TK Maxx is forced to pull ‘offensive’ kitchenware bearing the slogan ‘obsessive Christmas disorder’ following outcry from OCD sufferers

  • OCD sufferers have hit out at ‘obsessive Christmas disorder’ homeware line 
  • The range of cake tins and cookie jars will be removed from store’s shelves
  • Campaigners have complained the range makes light of mental illness
  • Around 750,000 people in the UK suffer from the serious anxiety condition
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Shoppers have welcomed a move by TK Maxx to scrap a range of festive products with the slogan ‘obsessive Christmas disorder’ after it was accused of ‘trivialising’ mental illness.

The range of cake tins and cookie jars will be removed from the shelves of the retail giant after complaints from customers that they perpetuate misconceptions about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Campaigners said the range makes light of an illness which ruins lives and leaves people feeling suicidal.

It’s estimated around 750,000 people in the UK suffer from the serious anxiety condition which is characterised by frequent intrusive and unwelcome obsessional thoughts.

OCD sufferer Sarah Harvey, from Crewe, Cheshire, said the products were upsetting. 


Sarah Harvey, pictured, has complained that the TK Maxx range, which has since been pulled from shelves, makes light of an illness which ruins lives and leaves people feeling suicidal

Sarah, 24, said: ‘OCD is not a joke, it is a life consumed with fear and the inability to control your own thoughts.

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‘I have suffered with OCD from the age of seven and on a daily basis I am left feeling exhausted, powerless and weak.

‘The glamorisation of mental illness really bothers me because in reality there is nothing fun, quirky or cool about it.

‘At some point, it became socially acceptable and trendy to use OCD as an adjective.

‘It’s offensive to people suffering with OCD because every time OCD is misused people believe it and the trend continues.


Earlier this week, Twitter user Rosy called out the high street giant for the homeware range in a social media post, pictured. She wrote: ‘I am so angry. @TKMaxx_UK this is not what OCD is. It is not a joke. It is a debilitating illness’

‘It stops people gaining access to treatment and makes them think they can’t talk about it – because society continues to laugh at it.’

The receptionist said she’s had to challenge online retailers over these products before.

Sarah said: ‘Although I had a mixed response I managed to get several products taken down. I welcome TK Maxx’s decision to review the products and I respect their efficient response.’

Another sufferer said she saw the products for sale in the St Helen’s branch of TK Maxx on Saturday.

Laura, 40, who has lived with the illness for 30 years, said: ‘It’s making light of something that I feel is not a light thing.

‘I realise it’s a pun on words and I don’t blame TK Maxx or other retailers because it’s a lack of education about an illness that can be serious and can actually lead to suicide. 




TK Maxx’s range of cake tins (left) and cookie jars 9right) will be removed from the shelves of the retail giant after complaints from customers that they perpetuate misconceptions about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

‘You see it on television programmes that make out people with OCD are happy to have it because they love cleaning but for the majority of people it’s a debilitating disease that ruins their lives.

What is obsessive compulsive disorder?

Obsessive compulsive disorder, usually known as OCD, is a common mental health condition which makes people obsess over thoughts and develop behaviour they struggle to control.

It can affect anyone at any age but normally develops during young adulthood.

It can cause people to have repetitive unwanted or unpleasant thoughts.

People may also develop compulsive behaviour – a physical action or something mental – which they do over and over to try to relieve the obsessive thoughts.

The condition can be controlled and treatment usually involves psychological therapy or medication.  

It is not known why OCD occurs but risk factors include a family history of the condition, certain differences in brain chemicals, or big life events like childbirth or bereavement. 

People who are naturally tidy, methodical or anxious are also more likely to develop it.

Source: NHS 

‘I’ve thought I was better off not being alive than to carry on with it so when I see things like this that trivialise it upsets me.

‘I’ve seen that TK Maxx has responded to the charity OCD UK and I’m happy with that. I don’t feel like they did it on purpose. It’s just a misunderstanding of what it means to people.’

Ashley Fulwood, chief executive of OCD-UK, said they’ve had these issues with a number of retailers over the last two or three years and praised TK Maxx for responding so quickly.

Ashley said: ‘There are two issues – one is that it trivialises it and the second is that it fuels these misconceptions of OCD being something quirky. It fails to recognise that the ‘D’ in OCD stands for disorder.

‘It’s not just a case of us being easily offended. People fail to realise how severe it can be. It destroys lives, relationships, careers and sadly we have tragic consequences of people taking their own lives.

‘As the awareness of OCD has grown the trivialisation has grown. It’s a problem across society in general. We need to be careful about what we say. I accept people make mistakes and TK Maxx have acknowledged that.’

A spokeswoman for TK Maxx said: ‘At TK Maxx we take our customers’ concerns very seriously and appreciate that these items were brought to our attention.

‘It is never our intention to cause offence and as soon as we were made aware of the concerns, we initiated a process to remove these items from sale.’

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