By: Sarah-Joyce Battersby Staff reporter from thestar.com
Joe Fresh will foot the bill to update the reflective logo on shirts for Pan Am staff and volunteers.
The Pan Am Games hope to make a lasting mark on the city, but first they’ll have to make a mark on some T-shirts that lasts.
A massive order of faulty t-shirts for Games staff and volunteers is being recalled.
Supplier Joe Fresh is fixing the ”Toronto 2015” logos on 60,000 polo shirts after a staffer discovered the reflective design washes off in the laundry.
The problem was discovered on April 28, the day the Games’ uniform distribution centre opened.
For days the faulty shirts, manufactured in China, were handed out to volunteers at the North York facility while further tests were carried out.
Anyone who went home with flimsy logoed shirts, or who got a shirtless kit after the defects were pulled, can expect new ones in the mail.
Revamped shirts are expected ”imminently” at the distribution centre, said Games’ spokesperson Neala Barton.
Joe Fresh has not responded to repeated requests for comment.
Pan Am organizers assure that all the costs of updating the shirts, including postage, will be covered by the clothing label.
The shirt snafu is not the first issue to crop up for Pan Am, and it likely won’t be the last.
Former Games’ organizing committee CEO Ian Troop was fired just 19 months before the July 10 start.
That came after the executive team had been warned about tightening expense policies.
The parade of gaffes preceding major events of this kind has become almost as routine as the torch relay.
The 2014 Winter Games in Sochi saw American bobsledder Johnny Quinn busting through a jammed bathroom door only to get stuck in an elevator days later.
And the British media had a field day picking apart Canada’s efforts at hosting the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, even blaming the Games for the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili.
Flimsy infrastructure, bad weather and accidents are one thing.
”I don’t ever recall faulty uniforms,” said Robin Sears, a principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group, a public affairs consulting firm.
”These sort of problems cause even a reasonable observer to ask, ‘So what else have you screwed up?”’ he said.
Sears’ advice? A quick response and full disclosure from all parties.
”It’s very important that they are seen to be transparent and fully disclosing, apologetic, and have a remedy and a culprit,” he said.
Medical volunteer Dirce Mojica isn’t too put out about the shirts.
”It happens,” she said. ”I don’t mind waiting for the other one. It’s gonna come in the mail.”
Gary Braid will be volunteering at the Oshawa Sports Centre. He picked up his ”awesome shirts” on May 1. His wife, who is also volunteering, has washed the shirts once.
He reported a little fading after one wash.
With two shirts that ”seem to be ok,” and two more on the way, Braid is looking on the bright side.
”I’ll have four shirts, unless for whatever reason something happens to the two that I currently have,” Braid said.
Sears says such tact from volunteers speaks well of them, but someone else should take the lead.
”That’s very nice of the volunteers, very loyal of them. But they’re not the culpable party,” he said.
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