Migraine Stigma – KMart and Sears Are Feeding It

We discuss the stigma associated with Migraine a great deal, which is as it should be because it impacts our lives so dramatically.

At Migraine.com, one of our goals is reducing the stigma of Migraine, thus reducing the burden of Migraine on all of us who have the disease. So far this year alone, we’ve had these pieces about Migraine and stigma:

Over the weekend, a friend brought my attention to a KMart commercial. Please take a look at it before I go on…

I’m sure you caught what one of the “surprises” the wife shared – “I don’t really get Migraines.” Seriously? Would they have scripted her to say she doesn’t really have heart disease or MS? I think not. That would be disrespectful and politically incorrect. But they think nothing of using Migraine disease this way.

KMart is owned by Sears, so I called Sears headquarters today. When I told them I wanted to lodge a complaint about a KMart commercial, they told me that went to customer service, and transferred my call. After 90 minutes on hold, listening to their obnoxiously loud music, I took the suggestion that interrupted the music periodically, and went to their web site page for contacting them.

Here’s what I wrote:

On my own behalf and that of millions of other Americans who have Migraine disease, this is to lodge a complaint about your KMart Pharmacy Surprise commercial.

I was surprised, then outraged when the wife said, “I don’t really have Migraines.” Migraine is a genetic neurological disease that afflicts 18% of women and 7% of men. It’s the third most common disorder on earth and the most debilitating neurological disorder. Yet, the stigma is persistent, and that stigma causes us more grief and increases the burden of the disease.

Would you have had the wife say, “I don’t really have heart disease,” or, “I don’t really have MS?” I think not. That would be insensitive and inappropriate, right? Well, the statement about Migraines is just as inappropriate.

I’m requesting that you take this commercial off the air and issue a public apology.

It’s time we band together and teach them better! Will you help? Take a few minutes to go to www.sears.com/contactus, and tell them what you think of this commercial. Pretty please? Commenting here is fine because I’d love to have a discussion about this, BUT please go write to Sears / KMart too because they won’t see the comments here.

It will be interesting to see if I hear back from them and if I do, what they have to say. Personally, I’m of a mind to boycott both KMart and Sears if they keep running this commercial.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (109)
  • Laurie Vincent
    6 years ago

    I was told by several KMart employees and Store Managers that KMart actually owns Sears. It’s not the other way around at all. Kmart bought Sears back in either 2003 or 2002. Right after that KMart changed their stock name to Sears Holdings and their stock value increased immediately. I hope that they discontinue airing the commercial.

  • B. Morebello
    6 years ago

    Sent in my complaint as well.. hoping they make an honest apology.

  • TNmigGal
    6 years ago

    …And as if KMart wanted to generate more bad news for itself, on Sept. 5, 2013, the EEOC began suing them for Disability Discrimination regarding an applicant at their Hyattsville, MD location. His disability was not migraine, but KMart is setting a dangerous trend in how they handle all aspects of disability (perception, marketing, execution, etc.). The link to the EEOC details is: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/9-5-13.cfm . Way to go KMart!!

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Interesting indeed. Thanks for the update!

  • greeneyes
    6 years ago

    So, add me to the list of those who didn’t appreciate the lack of consideration shown by those who are airing this commercial. I have a diary entry from the age of 9 where I noted that I couldn’t participate in the school Science Fair because I had a “sick headache and had to stay home in bed.” I know I missed my 9th birthday due to a migraine. At 24 I was diagnosed with chronic migraine. Now almost 20 years later I know that my hell has a name, but very little has changed in the way that many view this disease. I struggle every week to continue to work and take part in the lives of friends and family, many of whom share the misconception that this way of life is a “choice” that I make.
    Asking that this company reconsider its treatment of the subject is the least I can do – and follow it up by refusing to support the organization financially in the future.

  • Allison in Migraineland
    6 years ago

    AMEN!

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thanks, greeneyes!

  • Allison in Migraineland
    6 years ago

    I am beyond furious. I will also be boycotting Kmart and Sears, thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thanks, Allison! If you want to do something else, there’s a petition at https://www.change.org/petitions/k-mart-remove-the-pharmacy-surprise-ad-from-airplay-and-issue-an-apology.

  • Allison in Migraineland
    6 years ago

    Template response I received after contacting Sears Customer Service:

    Dear Allison,

    Thank you for contacting sears.com. We apologize for any inconvenience or concern caused due to our recent pharmacy commercial.

    We appreciate your contacting us regarding our “Kmart Pharmacy Surprise” commercial. The playful banter between the couple in the commercial was in no way intended to make light of migraines. We’re sorry that it appeared as such.

    We are listening to what you have to say and we appreciate the time you have taken to let us know what you think about the commercial. We are always looking for ways in which we can improve.

    Please know that our management team reviews feedback submitted by our customers and that many of the changes and additions have been as a result of feedback from our customers.

    Sincerely,

    Johnson B. (mbortha)
    Sears Customer Care
    webcenter@customerservice.sears.com
    1-800-366-3028

  • Angel
    6 years ago

    Terri,

    Do we know if they have removed the commercial? I certainly have not seen it so I was wondering if all of our complaints got through to them…

    Just curious,

    angel

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Angel,

    Nope. They have not removed it. 🙁

  • emmie
    6 years ago

    I found this commercial unnecessary nonsense that will simply continue the misperceptions that migraine disease is simply some kind of headache. I shared my opinion with Sears/K-Mart. While I understand the play on the “I have a headache” joke, it’s simply not necessary IMHO.

    Thanks for bringing to our attention.
    emmie

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    emmie,

    I agree with you. You’re very welcome. There’s also a petition at https://www.change.org/petitions/k-mart-remove-the-pharmacy-surprise-ad-from-airplay-and-issue-an-apology

  • Jimd
    6 years ago

    I didn’t have a problem with this commercial. I have more of a problem with commercials like the Excedrin Migraine (and the likes) which makes it look as if its so simple to control our migraines,thus downplaying the severity of it to those who don’t understand it. I believe THEY should know even better.

  • mariannshannon
    6 years ago

    Teri
    I just sent a complaint to Sears so I’ll let u know if I get a response.

    Mariann Shannon

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thanks, Mariann!

  • BethAnn5
    6 years ago

    Well, I received the same “canned letter” that everyone else received. Thank to HTR, I did go back and re-read it to see if they had addressed it to the correct person, and they did…but that was the only “personal touch” on there.
    I hate to be so negative, but I’m hoping that the pharmacy departments and K Mart are feeling the negative financial impact of their stupidity! I know the “Super K” here has done away with their grocery and never has more than 6 or 8 people shopping at any given time…K Mart should think of their financial bottom line, and alienating a large group of people who are potential customers waiting for their *EXPENSIVE* migraine meds is not the smartest move.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    6 years ago

    Thank you so much for taking the time to put yourself into action and helping to make a difference. Even if we don’t see it, I know this will mean something to someone…

  • mia
    6 years ago

    Teri – thanks for bringing this to our attention. I also sent Sears a note:

    While I don’t shop at KMart often, I am a frequent Sears shopper. I saw your commercial recently for KMart Pharmacy – the ‘Surprise’ one. I was a little disturbed by your flippant remarks regarding Migraines.

    I suffer from chronic migraine and it’s very difficult to deal with friends, family, co-workers who don’t understand a condition they can’t see for themselves.

    I know there are many others in my position, and It certainly doesn’t help to have an ad like this where a supposed migraine sufferer admits “I don’t really have migraines”. I’m fairly certain that’s what a lot of our acquaintances, relatives and bosses are waiting for us all to admit.

    Please don’t perpetuate this stereotype and make the stigma we deal with even worse. The Migraine is enough to deal with.

    Thank you for your consideration,

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thanks, Mia!

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    6 years ago

    Mia, that hit so close to the bone… Thank you!

  • geishagirl
    6 years ago

    I agree that the commercial is offensive. Email complaint sent to Sears? Done.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thank you for joining us on this!

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    6 years ago

    I just wanted to take a moment out to say “Thank you” to those who put their money where their mouths are and made a difference by making their voices heard. I encourage patients to continue to be heard. Kmart and Sears have the power to do good – we’ve seen it. It’s time we see it again.

    ~Ellen

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    6 years ago

    Thank you so much for helping!

  • madme
    6 years ago

    I’m in agreement with finding this commercial offensive. And thinking Kmart/Sears needs to get a new Marketing department! Here is my comment and the reply. Note my encouraging them to donate money to migraine research to apologize – not sure if anyone else mentioned this (sorry haven’t read thru all comments), but might be worth it to try asking for this if anyone else is commenting.
    ………………..
    I want to complain about the Kmart Pharmacy “Surprise” commercial, and it’s ridiculous use of migraine as a “joke”. For the millions who suffer with migraines and those of us dealing with the constant daily pain of chronic migraine, it is an insult to have this shown in such a cavalier way. To imply women “fake” migraine to get out of things is ludicrious, insulting, and helps to perpetuate myths that stop this disease from being taken seriously.

    Do you know how much migraine medication costs, and how frequently it is prescribed? You will surely lose pharmacy business by alienating potential high-use customers with this condition (including myself). You should remove this commercial from the air immediately, and it would help for you to donate some money to migraine research as an apology.
    …………………………….
    Dear Migraine,

    Thank you for contacting sears.com. We apologize for any inconvenience or concern caused due to our recent pharmacy commercial.

    We appreciate your contacting us regarding our “Kmart Pharmacy Surprise” commercial. The playful banter between the couple in the commercial was in no way intended to make light of migraines. We’re sorry that it appeared as such.

    We are listening to what you have to say and we appreciate the time you have taken to let us know what you think about the commercial. We are always looking for ways in which we can improve.

    Please know that our management team reviews feedback submitted by our customers and that many of the changes and additions have been as a result of feedback from our customers.

    Sincerely,
    Kendrick U. (ruppala)
    Sears Customer Care

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    madme,

    Thank you! Hopefully, if they have to send enough of their form letters, they’ll actually pay attention.

  • HTR
    6 years ago

    talk about a form letter – their reply to you is word-for-word the same reply I received yesterday. Scroll down two posts to see. I know that “customer care” departments use templates, but they couldn’t even bother to change one word of the reply. insulting.

  • 6 years ago

    I have to agree 100% with Teri’s initial post that this commercial feeds into the stigma… but it also bums me out to see everybody vilify these companies for something it’s very likely they didn’t intend to do. (And listen, I’m no big supporter of corporate anything, btw.) This is an ad for pharmacy services (migraineurs are one of their target markets – expensive drugs). Some *idiot* at an ad agency thought the “headache” joke was funny and nobody caught that they were offending millions of people with a serious disease. They just simply didn’t pay attention and were ignorant to the vast difference between a “fake” headache and migraine (which yes, is infuriating). But, that’s a far cry from a being purposeful, malicious jab at an entire population of migraineurs.

    I guess I just don’t understand where so much of the anger comes from. If I had to guess it’s because I’d bet that every single one of us has a huge fear that people think we’re faking half the time we say we have a migraine (i.e. would they ever think that if we said MS or cancer, etc.)… and that’s something as a community that WE just have to get over and not be so sensitive about. We are NOT faking… and the “not tonight honey I have a headache” joke doesn’t apply to us – so time to get past it.

    That commercial disappoints me more than makes me angry. If I was to comment to the company it would be to educate them… not to boycott them or tear them a new one. I know what they did wasn’t right… and it was a huge, huge mistake. Somebody is losing their job and an agency is losing a client over it. I would venture that’s most likely the only justification that will come out of this. But, it’s great that Sears/KMart will be more careful in the future, I’m sure.

    I don’t mean to make light of this and I know it’s hurtful… but I would put this in the category of marketing snafu a lot quicker than I would the category of targeting a group of sick people. There is no way in hell an ad agency or a long standing company like Sears/KMart would ever intentionally do that (especially considering their places in the marketplace right now i.e. not on top).

    [This post’s content was edited for language]

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Kelli,

    Yes, an ad agency did the commercial. However, that doesn’t relieve KMart of responsibility for a socially IRresponsible commercial. I’m angry because not only have I experienced that stigma myself, I’ve seen it really tear people up. It’s extremely hurtful. Just my thoughts on the anger.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    6 years ago

    kellismith and BethAnn5,

    Thank you both for your opinions, but I do encourage everyone to remember that they are opinions based on passionate beliefs and feelings.

    There are different ways to *take* the commercial, and while the majority commenting here have taken it in an insulting manner, not all have seen it that way and they too are entitled to their opinion. Sometimes we can all get very passionate about our opinions and may even take things personally – often rightly so. I don’t think anybody meant anything personally here, but sometimes we do need to agree to disagree. That’s how we stay a safe and respectful community, and that is very vital to Migraine.com to maintain so all have a safe harbor to talk openly. Thanks to all for respecting this space as such. 🙂

  • 6 years ago

    Okay… BethAnn5… I wasn’t going to respond, but your comment was too mean to just ignore. So now because I’ve posed the question “what if this was just a mistake the ad agency made and they aren’t a big villian… what now?” – I’m a villian too because I take the death of a 10 year old child lightly? I find that as unfair to me as I did to to Sears/Kmart in your original post. (Yes, I did read your original comment and letter before my post.) I still don’t believe the company had any intent to make light of your loss or the disease… and the fact that they did was a mistake, simple. That is my OPINION. You’re welcome to attack me for my opinion, that’s fine. But, no where in anything that I wrote did I say that I take the disease or anything that might happen because of the disease lightly. And for you to infer that I do was absolutely wrong. I’ve had migraines for more than 25 years, most of that time chronic (more than 15-20 a month), so I certainly don’t take it lightly. I also did not suggest in any way that anyone needs to believe a single thing that I believe… that’s the beauty of an opinion. I shared mine, and you’re welcome to disagree. I’d just appreciate it if you wouldn’t attack me personally as someone who doesn’t care about the death of a child when you do so.

  • BethAnn5
    6 years ago

    kellismith; I hope you read my response to K Mart & Sears as I did take the ad very personally, not only as a migrainer, but as someone who’s lost a loved one due to migraines.

    You wrote: “I guess I just don’t understand where so much of the anger comes from”

    My letter to K Mart stated:
    “My best friend growing up was aged 10 when she died FROM A MIGRAINE, she had blood vessels in her head that burst! Is THAT a joke? Ask her family, see what they say”

    So, do you, kellismith, take the death of a 10 year old lightly? I should hope not. I too was aged 10 and a migrainer and scared…no…terrified that the same thing would happen to me.

    So I’m guessing you’re going to tell me to “lighten up” up too?
    Humm…maybe I should…then the next time I can’t see, speak or walk, it’ll be *REALLY* funny! THANKS for suggestion!

  • HTR
    6 years ago

    You raise excellent points with which I completely agree. Unfortunately, I don’t see that Sears/Kmart are going to learn something or be more careful in the future. I’m dismayed at how they’re handling this opportunity to point out that, as you said, it was an oversight and a misunderstanding of the difference between migraine and headache. I wrote to both Sears and KMart, attempting to help them see the differnce between the two. Kmart replied with a “form letter” which was word-for-word the same as messages other’s posting here received. Sears sent me a generic “sorry for the inconveinence” note which didn’t refernce anything I said, or even state that it was in response to the commercial. What’s worse, they addressed the email to Chris B. My name is Heather… they didn’t even have the attention to detail to change the name from the last email they sent.

    Not encouraging.

  • HTR
    6 years ago

    Oddly, I couldn’t get any comments to go through on the Sears site. I shared my displeasure with KMart and contacted the VP of Communications for Sears Holding Co. Here was the reply I received from KMart – conceptually very similar to what TRECIA and other shared received.

    Thank you for contacting Kmart.com. We apologize for any inconvenience or concern caused due to our recent pharmacy commercial.

    We appreciate your contacting us regarding our “Kmart Pharmacy Surprise” commercial. The playful banter between the couple in the commercial was in no way intended to make light of migraines. We’re sorry that it appeared as such.

    We are listening to what you have to say and we appreciate the time you have taken to let us know what you think about the commercial. We are always looking for ways in which we can improve.

    Please know that our management team reviews feedback submitted by our customers and that many of the changes and additions have been as a result of feedback from our customers.

    If we can be of any further assistance, just ask. We are here to help.

    Sincerely,

    Cornell M. (smohan7)
    Kmart Customer Care
    help@customerservice.kmart.com
    1-800-733-7249

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thanks for all your efforts, HTR!

  • CM
    6 years ago

    I feel like some of you failed to read between the lines on that migraine comment…or perhaps just read way too far into it. She’s saying that she says she has headaches (migraines) to get out of having sex. There are a lot of things I get offended by when it comes to migraines, and how I’m treated because of them. To people that don’t get migraines, a migraine is just a “really bad” headache. I think it’s misinformation, not malice. I feel like my own doctors believe that. When I go in and they ask how many migraines I’ve had, I’ll split it between actual migraine days versus headache days. They frequently act like I’m lying or maybe just full of it…but there IS a difference (which you all obviously know).
    I get why many of you have the opinion that you do, but I’m not offended by the commercial. I don’t see it as pushing an agenda that “all migraine sufferers are faking it.” I think the choice to use “migraine” over “headache,” though, was a poor choice. I’m annoyed by the ignorance. They’re not interchangeable. I think migraines are poorly understood by the general population. They’re needs to be better awareness.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    CM,

    By showing that even one Migraineur “faked it,” they perpetuate stereotypes and myths, and the feed the stigma. People have lost friends, marriages, and jobs because of people buying into those myths and stereotypes. The stigma is extremely damaging to a lot of people.

  • DitzzzyWoman
    6 years ago

    So she chose to lie about having migraines instead of sex?? She missed out! I would rather have sex anytime than to have to go through another migraine. In fact, my migraines increased extensively during my first pregnancy. The migraines affected relationships with my husband to the point that I have now been celibate for the last 24 years. The first 3 years I felt like I was dying and then I learned how to focus the desires into my artwork. Now after all these years I realize its been a major portion of my depression. Migraines affect our lives in more ways than most people could ever imagine. I think more people would help us seek a cure if they ever had to live just one year with migraines the way that we do. Live, clean, raise children, take care of loved ones who have illnesses more severe than ours and still put on a happy face. It takes more out of you than they could ever imagine. And yes, there were times that I have considered death over the pain that I have endured over these last 40 years with migraines. I know longer take ANY medication from doctors for the pain. I take Ibuprofen when the migraines come for a week or two stays but its mostly ginger tea, darkness, silence, earplugs, headphones and sign language. Otherwise, I am a non-existent person.

  • joycefowler
    6 years ago

    I spoke with Amber at Sears Customer Service. She was well aware of the situation and very apologetic. She said that she had not seen the commercial, but agreed it did not sound very kind to sufferers. What is ironic to me is that a Pharmacy, no less, that sells Migraine medication to their customers would in essence, diss their own customers. Does that make sense to anyone? I have a migraine, so if my reasoning is not sound, please take that into consideration. Did someone say they didn’t understand why the commercial bothers me? Well, let me tell you why. It makes light of a health problem that has ruined my life. I have missed out on so much, I cannot tell you. But, I can live with that. What I can’t live with is the HORRIBLE pain. I don’t have the words to tell you how I have suffered. I know others suffer as bad, but until you have suffered so bad that you wonder if you will survive, day after day. And wonder how you will get through the next minute, only by just breathing, and telling yourself….breath, just breath. Then ask my why I am offended. It’s hell. No other word. Sorry to be so blunt, but I wanted others to understand. Forgive me.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thanks again, Joyce! I WILL keep fighting for all of us. I don’t give up easily. 😉

  • joycefowler
    6 years ago

    Thank you Teri. I appreciate your understanding and all you do to keep us informed! Knowledge is power. Keep fighting for us, we need you! Great job!

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Joyce, there’s nothing to forgive here. I admire your spirit and you willingness to put yourself out there. Thank you!

  • HTR
    6 years ago

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Like others, I submitted feedback expressing my displeasure and citing statistics about the size of the population their risking offending, average annual pharmaceutical expendatures by migraineurs, etc. I’ll post any response I receive.

  • lara
    6 years ago

    This reminds me of why I stopped watching ER years ago. Every migraine patient on that show was a drug addict. It was so obvious that their “advisor” was pushing an agenda. Thank God Fringe did some damage control for migraineurs.

    Anyway, yep. I found this offensive too because while their marketing department obviously found this humorous? It’s not so much. It takes a debilitating disease and makes light of it and pulls out the old stereotype that women fake migraines to get out of doing things they don’t want to do.

    So not okay.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thank you, larissa.

  • Katie Smith
    6 years ago

    Teri, thank you for bringing this to my attention. I did my part in contacting KMart and mine was not a short comment either. Anyone who has been discriminated against by an employer and has had to involve the EEOC, as I had to do – would understand the ‘slap in the face’ I felt when watching this commercial. Living with ‘invisible’ diseases is difficult even with the support of a loving family, but to even suggest on national television that we might just be ‘faking it’ is reprehensible! Thanks again for your attention to detail and for always looking out for all of us!

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Katie,
    You’re most welcome. Thank YOU for acting and for bringing up EEOC.

  • HTR
    6 years ago

    thanks for pointing out to people who might not know that migraine can be addressed by EEO legislation and is covered by ADA and FMLA. You’d be amazed at the fight I had to take on to get my overhead lights disabled… I thought it a “reasonable accomodation,” but until 18months of arguing about it, my employer at the time didn’t see it as an accomodation issue until legal got involved. then it was solved in literally about 3 hours. ugh…

  • MJO
    6 years ago

    Here is a copy of my letter. I used yours as a template and then added my own $200 worth! (not just 2 cents!)

    On my own behalf and that of millions of other Americans who have Migraine disease, this is to lodge a complaint about your KMart Pharmacy Surprise commercial.

    I was surprised, then outraged when the wife said, “I don’t really have Migraines.” Yes, migraines can be considered an “invisible disease,” but let me affirm that it is indeed a disease. Even worse, are comments that are so insensitive as to suggest that the disease is not real or can be faked.

    Anyone who has witnessed me with a migraine can tell you that I do not fake them. I get so nauseous that I can barely speak without throwing up, cannot walk a straight line, and have extremely blurred vision. This is all on top of the excruciating pain felt while in the throes of a migraine, which have lasted up to 5 days at a time.

    I have just about exhausted every treatment available to me and even though I am fortunate to have an actual neurologist who is a headache specialist as well, there does not seem to be much hope for my future at this time.

    Can you imaging worrying about exhausting your sick leave in just a few episodes? Wondering how you are going to make your mortgage payment with reduced pay because you cannot work while in that much pain? Hoping that your friends and family will not be tired of needing to “help out” when you cannot cook or even drive? Being a single parent of a quickly growing teenager and feeling like you are missing their life? (not to mention your own life?)

    I would have been insensitive and inappropriate to imply that any disease was a “lie,” right? Well, the statement about Migraines is just as inappropriate.

    I’m requesting that you take this commercial off the air and issue a public apology.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Good job, MJO. Thanks!

  • kdenisec
    6 years ago

    I emailed Kmart and Sears, too and told them I had no problem with the ad. The ad DID NOT attempt to convey the message that people fake migraines all the time. The ad focused on the fictional character. The fictional character, the wife, she was a liar. She lied about having migraines.

    I have suffered migraines for 30 years. And I was not offended by that commercial. The producers didn’t use heart disease or multiple sclerosis because no one would understand the use of those diseases for the joke. The joke “Not tonight honey, I have a headache”.

    My migraines are a one-sided pain in the head. A headache. I visit The Center for Headaches. My treatment plan is to treat the head pain first. Not everyone suffers from headache or head pain. Many do.

    Many things can be faked. How many people have faked being sick with a cold or flu to get a day off work. No one calls in, “I have MS”. So the commercials use of “migraine” is not that big of a deal, TO ME.

    Based on the comments I am guessing the lot don’t laugh much at anything.

    Humor can be the best form of medicine. When I have had some of my most severe migraines, the only way I can get through them is to make a joke. I have said, “Well, I got out of doing the dishes” or something stupid like that.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Kim,

    Sorry to be so long getting back to you. The stories of the three people who took their lives aren’t really mine to tell, and I need to respect the privacy of their families.

    What I can say about them is that they lost hope. Parts of the online Migraine community can be very draining of hope, and that’s not to place blame on anyone. People who have episodic Migraine that’s well controlled have little reason to participate, so that leaves a community of people in with the majority have chronic Migraine and are likely to be having terrible problems finding effective treatments. Their quality of life suffers greatly, and many of them have been smacked down by the stigma over and over again by employers and coworkers who can’t or won’t cut them a break. Many have lost some or most of their friends. Some have even lost marriages and relationships.

    So, it seems that both hopelessness and stigma played a role in these tragedies.

  • HTR
    6 years ago

    Kim, OMG – I know what you mean that sometimes we, as migraineurs, are sometimes the worst to each other. While I know their hearts are in the right place, if one more person tells me i shouldn’t drink so much coffee because that’s what’s giving me migraines; If i didn’t eat that chocolate bar, I wouldn’t have migraines, etc. I always have to take a deep breathe, tell myself they mean well, then try to use that as an educational moment and point out that different migraineurs have different triggers (and some of us have no identified triggers), different migraineurs have different symptoms (including “painless migraines”), and different treatment plans work for different migraineurs.

    I sometimes feel the need to do the opposite with my father. He’s had migraine his entire life(as did my mom, though my sister has never had even a “regular” headache… how did she hit the genetic jackpot?). Because he doesn’t end up in the ER, he often dismisses his migraines as “not bad migraines.” It breaks my heart. Since he now only gets 2 – 3 a yr, he is almost uncomfortable even calling them migraines after seeing what I’ve been going through. He’s still completely incapicitated by them, has horrible predromes, etc. I try to tell him that his symptoms don’t necessarily present the same way as mine, but that doesn’t diminish what he’s going through.

    Amazing how much we all still have to learn about our disease. Then again, when the medical community has so many unanswered questions is it that surprising that we don’t have a lot of answers?

  • kdenisec
    6 years ago

    HTR, thank you for responding and the dialogue. Let’s all keep engaged and raising awareness. Our experiences are so unique I learn something from everyone I meet. Even from this Kmart ad debacle have I learned a lot. Migraine pain runs deep, right into the soul and we all internalize it differently and I respect that even more.

    Angel, although I am not offended by that commercial. The fact that you and so many are, I agree the commercial needs to come down. I don’t argue with that. I personally won’t boycott Kmart because I don’t think their intent was do belittle me as a migraine sufferer. They made a huge error. I have made mistakes.

    The people I battle the most with are other migraine sufferers. Always comparing there’s to mine. (Not you two, Angle and HTR to be clear). But others. Those who say. If you don’t have dark glasses on you must not have a migraine. You if you don’t have to lie don’t your don’t have a migraine. If you stayed at work. The list goes on. So some of the awareness starts within our own community. Look at our migraine boards some times on migraine.com or the migraine.com Facebook page.

    If someone can take a naproxen for a dull migraine, they don’t really have a migraine will be a quick response.

    So me personally, I am less offended by Kmart’s ignorance. Lets educate Kmart. And then educate our own community.

    I’ll stop ranting!

    HTR thanks again for the conversation.

  • Angel
    6 years ago

    First, HTR: *hugs to you* It sounds as it you have the “migraines from hell” that have horns, claws & fangs. I get those sometimes but not all the time! And Kim, I’m definitely considered the “class clown” amongst my friends; over the past year with some much going on, I’ve had to learn to just laugh at things in my life. This, however, I find extremely offensive because I do battle this stigma in every day life. I have fought it in school, work, etc… and worse, I have been ridiculed & made fun of for having migraines so please excuse me if I find it hard to swallow that the lady in the commercial “doesn’t really have migraines” & she’s “been faking it for years” and that’s supposed to be funny… it isn’t.

  • HTR
    6 years ago

    Kim, I think my intent in my note was lost in the length of my reply. I started with sharing my respect for your opinion and appreciativeness of allowing open discussion of varying perspectives. But, I believe due to the sensitive nature of some other things I shared or the way in which I shared it, my ultimate purpose was lost.

    I wasn’t trying to be snarky in saying you were lucky that you seemed to have found a treatment plan which worked for you. I do not know your treatment plan and must have read more into your post than what was there. I meant to acknowledge the true blessing I thought you had found in mitigate at least a small amount of your pain. While this is not the forum to discuss treatment plans, please allow me to say simply that if you have something which works for you, I am very happy for some modicum of relief. If you have not, I wish you the best in finding something which works.

    My only objection at all was to the implication that, because people expressed frustration with this, they were being judged as being a group who “don’t laugh much at anything.” I imagine there are some who have no sense of humor about their disease or pretty much anything else in life, just as there are some who look for the humor in every situation. I know that I actually tend to use humor as a way to cope often to my own detriment as a) people are either uncomfortable with my joking about how funny I found the EMTs who took me to the hospital during one of my strokes or b) I make it seem like I’m not suffering as much as I am, and thus do exactly what frustrates me so much by making it seem like migraine isn’t as debilitating as it really is. By not giving my praises of your perspective equal time as my complaint about assumptions being made, it appears as if I made the complaint seem much more important… which it was not.

    We are lucky, as a community who suffer from similar pain and stigma issues, to have someone like you who is so committed to raising awareness. I mean that very sincerely! My intent was not to diminish any of the regular contributions which I appreciate you sharing in reply to my posting. I whole-heartedly agree that we do not maintain the mass frustration which seems to manifest in situations like this. If those of us who don’t advocate on a regular basis could just maintain a small percentage of the passion we’re showing in response to this, think of the advances we could make. I praise Teri and you both for keeping us focused on that point. I must confess that I do not regularly post in this forum. I do however advocate and fundraise in other forums both on a large scale and a smaller scale, even on the very small scale of helping random strangers at the pharmacy across from my Pain Mgmt Dr’s office when I hear them unable to afford their co-pays for their migraine medication. But, you are right that there is always more which I can do. I hope I can live up to the suggestions you’ve made.

    I thank you again for your openness and willingness to have a dialogue. It’s interesting to see how opinions can differ even among those suffering from the same disease.

  • kdenisec
    6 years ago

    Teri, Thank you for your reply. I respect your opinions very much. Please share with me and your audiences the story of the three migraine sufferers that committed suicide due to the stigma. I have followed you a long time and must have missed these stories. I have made it my mission to spread migraine awareness too as I suffer daily chronic migraines. Many of which cannot be treated with medications.

    HTR, my intention was not to offend you. There is no comparison to missing a parents funeral and not doing the dishes. And I think you know that. Having had to bury my father at 23 with a migraine I understand. That is not something to joke about. But we can joke about some things. You know nothing about my peronal situations. You don’t know what my treatment plan is. Whether or not I am on disability or have FMLA. That is all irrelevant. What is important is what offends one person or another. I firmly believe in raising awareness of migraines and their systems and causes. I never miss an opportunity to educate people.

    Pulling this commercial will not raise awareness. It just gets rid of the offending commercial.

    To be honest what upset me the most about this whole thing is that I login to migraine.com often and there are only a few comments to Teri’s posts. But this one got people fired up and writing Kmart and Sears.

    I want to see people that fired and writing for charity drives to benefit migraine sufferers. To help people pay for their medications or for research. It seems when there is something against a big box company, people are fired up and angry and ready to do something and then it fizzles. That momentum just stops.

    People like Teri keep going. But the masses,they will disappear. The few will stay at it. So maybe HTR you will stay as an advocate because of your personal experiences. Others will wait for somebody else to do something.

    I spend so much on treatments its not funny. But I joke about it. I have a supportive spouse and I am very lucky he puts up with my crap and migraines. We make plans only to cancel because of my migraines.

    Anyhow, that’s my 20cents worth again.

  • HTR
    6 years ago

    I absolutely respect your right to your opinion and actually appreciate your willingness to have an open discussion about this. Often things which can be so charged with emotion cannot be discussed in our society. It’s nice that you’re willing to share your opinion and respect the opinion’s of those who might disagree.

    While I think Teri explained her perspective very well, I wanted to add one thing which can hopefully help you and maybe others understand some of the sensitivity. You are so fortunate that you have head pain which can be controlled at some level. I have had an intractable migraine (a migraine which doesn’t respond to any treatement and never goes away) since Dec of 2009. I take more pain medications than most cancer patients and have been to speciality medical centers all over the US. I have an implanted nerve stimulator to help mitigate the pain to a point where I have the potential to get out of bed on some days. While I am employed full time, that’s simply because of my Type A workaholic personality. My neurologist, neurosurgeon, vascular surgeon and pain mgmt drs (yes, MDs I have all to treat my migraine) have requested I go on SS Disability. I am not even 40 yrs old and am looking at a life where I might not be able to have the satisfaction of working to support myself. I use up all of my FMLA time and any disability benefits a company may offer will before the end of the 2nd quarter. I am in the ER so often that they immediately take me back for monitoring, then triage me, check me in, etc once I’m in a bed – we learned the need to do that after my 2nd migraine induced stroke… that was my 30th birthday present from my body – two near death experiences within 6wks of one another all because of the damage my migraines have done to my vascular system and my brain.

    I know that’s not the norm. And, I know this advertisment was playing off of “not tonight, i have a headache.” But, we need to raise awarness that HEADACHE and MIGRAINE are not medically the same thing at all. In fact, what is known of migraine indicates that migraine disease and headaches aren’t even caused by similar neurological processes.

    So, had this advertisment somehow been written to focus on headache, I don’t think there would be so much disagreement about it. But, it perpetuates the stereo-types that migraine and headache are the same thing and that migraine can be faked.

    I have been fortunate enough to have an amazing spouse, a great boss and a supportive family. But, even with that, I have been told by my medical team that “they’ll fire me as a patient if i get pregnant.” Their way of saying it was flippant and based on our communication style, so it works for us. But, the point is that 1) I cannot care for myself most of the time, so how can I care for a child and 2) even people with no history of vascular problems can develop them during pregnancy. so, my history of stroke and migraine make a pregnancy too high risk. In terms of work, even with the best company on the planet, if every day it’s up in the air about whether you can come into the office and when you are there, it’s hit or miss whether you’ll be able to make a full day… that’s a burdeon no company should be forced to bare.

    To many, suggesting a migraine is faked is the equivilant of suggesting MS, heart disease, cancer, etc can be faked. Suggest it about headaches all you want; you’re right that’s the equivilant of faking the flu or a cold. But, as I said implying migraine and headache are the same is almost the moral equiviliant of saying heart burn and heart attacks are the same.

    There is one comment you made to which I take offense. I do not think you have the right to say any of us don’t laugh much at anything. I’m known for having a laugh you can hear throught my entire building (a semi-sound proof, secure facility) and those same ER staff who always rush me back to a bed also comment on how wonderful it is to see someone so sick with such a great sense of humor. I actually was joking around so much during a post-stroke surgical procedure that they had to sedate me to get me to stop giggling. To state that becuase I feel passionately about a topic or have the ability to be offended by something means that I have no sense of humor about anything is increadibly judgmental and short sighted. I am glad that you can laugh that you got out of doing the dishes because of your medical issue, but I am not yet to the point that I can say I’m happy I missed my mother’s funeral after her sudden, unexpected death because I was in the church basement completely paralyzed on my left side and curled up in the fetal position with all the lights out vommiting every 7 – 10 minutes because of my migraine. Somehow, I don’t see how that in anyway relates to my ability to laugh. I was really impressed at your ability to have an open dialogue about differences in opionions and differences in experiences, but then you throw off all the positive, logical progess you make so that you can take that jab at people who can’t have a sense of humor about a debilitating disease. You don’t seem to have it as bad as some, but that doesn’t give you a better sense of humor or make you a better or stronger person

    I thank you, KimC, for taking the time to read my lengthy reply. I hope that I am right in my perception of your ability to view and understand multiple sides of an argument, and that you take just a moment to understand the differing opinions of others which are based on different experiences. You are not offended by this despite the fact that you have to deal with migraine, and that’s a great thing. I hope you take a moment to see that someone else might experience migraine differently which might change their perspective. Neither is right or wrong, just different people with different experiences which cause them to see the world through different lenses…

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Kim,

    You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, and I’m not arguing with you. Let me see, though, if I can explain why it upsets so many of us.

    Despite the millions of us who live with this disease and the millions who are disabled by it, myths, misconceptions, and serious stigma still exist. It may seem humorous, but when someone “jokes,” saying, “I don’t really have Migraines,” it perpetuates the stereotypical myth that Migraines aren’t that bad and Migraineurs use their Migraines as an excuse.

    That part of the commercial was no more appropriate than it would have been if the wife had said, “I don’t really have heart disease,” or “I don’t really have breast cancer.”

    The stigma is why many people are literally afraid to admit to having Migraines. It’s part of why three fairly young Migraineurs have taken their lives this summer.

  • Mishkyn
    6 years ago

    Teri,
    Thanks to your usual vigilance, I was able to comment on the site and also went to the K-Mart Pharmacy website and sent it to their “contact us” link. My letter is below, as is their reply, and MY reply back to them about their letter defending the ad.
    Thanks again for all you do for us.
    Tula

    Customer Service:
    K-Mart seeks to appeal to the widest demographic possible. We all know that women are the primary shoppers for their families and certainly at K-Mart. Three times more women than men are afflicted with migraine, I am one of them. I am appalled at your ad making a joke out of migraine.

    We have enough trouble being taken seriously by doctors and other medical professionals. Severe migraine attacks are classified by the World Health Organisation as among the most disabling illnesses, comparable to dementia, quadriplegia and active psychosis.

    Bye bye K-Mart. Your joke just cost you another customer.
    Tula Demetra
    You will not believe their response:

    Good Morning, Tula
    Thank you for contacting mygofer.com. It’s great to hear from you! I can understand your frustration with feeling like our ad made a joke out of such a serious thing like a Migraine headache. It is never our intent to make light of people with disabilities or medical conditions. I want to thank you for the time you took to write this email and provide us with your feedback and I have escalated your email to our Corporate Marketing Team. If you have any other questions or concerns please let us know, we are happy to help!

    The above letter was signed,

    Janese D from “Mygofer Customer Care”. Mygofer, as I’m sure you know (I didn’t) is the company that owns Sears, Land’s End and K-Mart.

    Can you believe the: “It was “great to hear from you!”

    I wrote back:

    Janese D,

    Thank you for responding so promptly.

    According to your note:

    ” It is never our intent to make light of people with disabilities or medical conditions.”

    If your intent was not to make fun of people with medical conditions or disabilities, what would you call making a joke about someone faking migraine, a condition the World Health Org. lists as “among the most disabling illnesses”?

    How are the many millions of us with this condition which robs us of many days out of each of our weeks, supposed to interpret your commercial about a woman faking a migraine?

    If it does not make light of people with medical conditions, what does it do? This is supposed to be a “funny” commercial. Well not to me and millions of others. The World Health Organization states that migraine is comparable in disability to a person paralyzed from the neck down, as referenced to the letter I posted online and also sent to the pharmacy contact link.

    It was great to hear from you!
    Tula Demetra

    Glad so many others have commented as well. I used to work for PR firms and politicians, and for every letter of complaint received, marketing firms estimate that between 26 and several hundred people do not write but tell others, are upset and take their business elsewhere.

    Like me, Teri, I’m sure you know people who have been carried into ER’s in enormous pain. They bring letters from their dr who is on the staff of the hospital they are in, but the resident on duty refuses to order the narcotics the dr has insisted are the only medications that will help his patient.

    They love to use toradol and an anti-nausea med or an allergy med. Just perfect for a migraine that has sent you to a hospital.

    I have heard this story more times than I can remember. I refuse to go to the ER no matter how ill I am.
    Thanks again, Teri, for taking up this issue and thousands of others. (Hundreds of thousands).

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thanks, Mishkyn!

  • Tn5259jn
    6 years ago

    I emailed Sears yesterday. I actually got a reply this afternoon! I’m stunned…here is what they said:
    Dear Trecia,

    Thank you for contacting sears.com. I apologize for any inconvenience or concern caused due to our recent commercial. I’m glad that I got an opportunity to explain about this!

    I want to make it right! Please be advised that this commercial is one of our innovative customer service offerings. We regret that you found the commercial offensive as that was not our intent.

    We are listening to what you have to say and we appreciate the time you have taken to let us know what you think about the commercial. We are always looking for ways in which we can improve.

    All comments, suggestions, contributions and indeed all feedback from our sears.com customers are very important to us. Please know that our management team reviews feedback submitted by our customers and that many of the changes and additions have been as a result of feedback from our customers.

    You have been an excellent customer to us and hope this experience does not deter your shopping interests from sears.com. I appreciate you for your understanding and patience.

    Your business is important to us, and we hope that this incident will not hurt our relationship.

    Sincerely,

    Alex A. (jambro3)
    Sears Customer Care
    webcenter@customerservice.sears.com
    1-800-366-3028

    So I have to say that it made me feel somewhat better. Now let’s hope they take it off the air. Hopefully lots of other people are writing in too!

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thanks, Trecia. Yes, we keep hoping!

  • HTR
    6 years ago

    After years in martketing and customer relations, I saw this as form letter… a standardized reply to customer feedback. Can you help me see what made you feel somewhat better? I’m sincerely asking because I’d love to get your opinion; I’m not asking in a snarky, passive-aggressive way

  • Rene'
    6 years ago

    Sent mine………..I do think it is important enough to say something. Thank you Teri.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thanks, René!

  • Beth
    6 years ago

    While I love this site and the information I find on it, and it has been quite helpful to me as I’ve lurked here for the last few months, this reaction to the Kmart commercial seems a bit over the top. Sure it stinks to have migraines, crazy aura, nausea and everything else that goes along with it and I would not wish it upon anyone, but to be so outraged by a commercial that is intended to be humorous does nothing but further the stigma and stereotypes of migraineurs being whiners. I think it is important to choose one’s battles and this one simply is not worth the cost, imo.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Hi, Beth,

    Thanks for commenting. Let me see if I can explain why I believe this is a battle worth fighting. Despite the millions of us who live with this disease and the millions who are disabled by it, myths, misconceptions, and serious stigma still exist. It may seem humorous, but when someone “jokes,” saying, “I don’t really have Migraines,” it perpetuates the stereotypical myth that Migraines aren’t that bad and Migraineurs use their Migraines as an excuse.

    That part of the commercial was no more appropriate than it would have been if the wife had said, “I don’t really have heart disease,” or “I don’t really have breast cancer.”

    The stigma is why many people are literally afraid to admit to having Migraines. It’s part of why three fairly young Migraineurs have taken their lives this summer.

    Yes, I believe it IS a battle worth fighting.

  • AmyBabee
    6 years ago

    I just submitted my comment to sears. I cannot imagine what they are thinking. Thanks, Terry for letting us know.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    You’re welcome, Amy. Thanks for joining in!

  • Chris Hicks
    6 years ago

    Teri,

    Wow, this ad is highly offensive to me, and I suspect would be to any one of the millions of us who suffer from migraine!

    I just submitted my comment to Sears regarding this ad. It is my hope that they remove this quickly.

    This is just one more example of the insensitivity that we encounter from those who obviously have no personal experience with the pain of migraine. At times this kind of perspective can be highly disturbing. At best it is highly annoying!

    Thanks for bringing this to the attention of our community here at Migraine.com!

    Take Care,
    Chris

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thanks, Chris! I received a very bland reply this morning. The kind that you just know is prewritten, if you know what I mean. I’m not giving up though!

  • merrie
    6 years ago

    I sent in a complaint. It is ridiculous that they think it’s ok to minimize migraines. They are hard enough to deal with, not to mention fighting the stigma associated with them, without a corporation adding to the misconception.

  • Dizzy1i
    6 years ago

    Pharmacy sales are very lucrative to companies. It’s amazing that they are so insensitive to their customers–particularly those with chronic conditions who perpetually refill prescriptions. This ad is just additional evidence that Sears does not know its customers. No wonder that Sears sales and stock price have been in perpetual decline.

    Yes, I complained, but I expect my complaint to be handled with the aloof care that any poorly managed firm will muster. Boycott them.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thanks, Merrie!

  • 6 years ago

    I sent the email. The text is below:
    I viewed the most recent KMart ad highlighting the pharmacy department. I was very disappointed to see the position KMart / Sears has taken regarding Migraines. I happen to suffer from Migraines and find it insulting that the female character in the ad uses this ailment and disease as something she has been “faking” “pretending” to have suffered from. Now, it can be said that I should lighten up, relax, take the joke, etc. however, those that suffer from migraines deal with societies stigma associated with this disease that they are just headaches, weak women fake them to get out of something unpleasant or the mere fact that the type of excruciating pain can be faked. Many of us that are afflicted, do so in silence. It is a debilitating and isolating neurological disease. Excruciating head pain is only one aspect of migraines. Migraines can alter vision, exaggerate senses (smell, sound, light), produce nausea and vomitting, alter intestines, create severe muscle pain / joint weakness, speech or language problems, cognitive issues, lightheadedness, fainting and again the pain can be so severe that there is no hope. The mere fact that the commercial depicts this disease so lighthearted, cavalier and trivial is a disrespect to the 36 million people afflicted in the US.
    I do not believe the statement “I don’t really have diabetes” would have been used in your ad because it would have been insensitive and politically incorrect as 26 million Americans have diabetes.
    I wish for your company to rethink its marketing campaign and stop the inaccurate depiction of the migraine patient.

  • navywife
    6 years ago

    Teri,
    I sent an email complaining about the commercial. Do they actually think I would do this to my husband? I said that I speak on behalf of all the Americans that have the disease, we wish we could just make them go away along with all the side affects that go with it. I do believe they owe a public apology for such an insane commercial.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Bravo, Ksms! Thank you. 🙂

  • migrainemama
    6 years ago

    Here’s what I put. I used some of your statistics.

    I am writing in regards to the Kmart Pharmacy Surprise commercial. I became aware of this advertisement by a fellow migraine-sufferer and I was immediately offended and appalled at the lack of sensitivity and ignorance that is condoned by your company. In this commercial, the wife says, “I don’t really have migraines.” While this statement may seem innocent on the surface, it only furthers the negative stigma that migraine sufferers live with on a daily basis. Migraine is a genetic neurological disease that afflicts 18% of women and 7% of men. It’s the THIRD most common disorder on earth and THE most debilitating neurological disorder. Yet, the stigma is persistent, and that stigma causes us more grief and increases the burden of the disease. I have personally faced harassment that led to a long bout of major depression. I am currently in therapy for that very reason. Along with millions of others, I live with this stigma EVERYDAY. On June 7 of this year, a 22 year old migraine sufferer name Melissa Dwyer committed suicide due to the severe pain and stigma she lived with on a daily basis. It was just too much for her to handle.
    For your company to trivialize migraine disease in this commercial is not only insensitive and inappropriate, but it is also borderline unethical for a company of your size and influence. Would you dare script the mother say, “I lied, I don’t really have breast cancer” or a father to say, “I don’t really have prostate cancer”? No, I doubt that you would. We, your customers, deserve better. Melissa Dwyer deserves better.
    On behalf of the millions of people currently suffering from migraine disease, I implore you to take this commercial off the air and issue a public apology for lacking empathy and good judgment in airing this ad. I personally have access to a large network of individuals (over 10,000 unique individuals) and I will be suggesting a boycott of both Sears and Kmart until this matter has been resolved. I will also be suggesting that each and every person offended by this contact you.

    Live well,
    Leslie Waters

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Well done, Leslie. Thank you.

  • BethAnn5
    6 years ago

    Here’s what I told K Mart:

    I was diagnosed with my migraines at age 3, I am now 41 and have battled with schools, teachers, employers, co-workers and the public at large when it comes to migraines and migraine awareness…and your new advertisement is NOT helping ANYONE with chronic migraines! I am truly appalled that a company such as yours is so woefully undereducated, or so callous to the fact that a migraine is NOT “just a bad headache”; I was surprised, then outraged when the wife said, “I don’t really have Migraines.” Migraine is a genetic neurological disease that afflicts 18% of women and 7% of men. It’s the third most common disorder on earth and the most debilitating neurological disorder. Yet, the stigma is persistent, and that stigma causes us more grief and increases the burden of the disease.
    My best friend growing up was aged 10 when she died FROM A MIGRAINE, she had blood vessels in her head that burst! Is THAT a joke? Ask her family, see what they say. I have passed out, lost vision, hearing & motors kills from severe migraines and until just a couple of years ago had a service dog because of the effects of a sudden migraine…is THAT a joke?
    I’ve never really shopped at the local K Mart for various reasons, and I’m sure I’ll never be back now, and I *was* in love with the Sears in Asheville NC and spent quite a bit of money there, but I’ll never darken their door again either! Trust me, until there is an apology to all migraine suffers and this ad is re-vamped, your company will not be getting a penny from me and thousands of others!
    Shame on you!

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Great job, BethAnn! Thanks for joining me on this.

  • brianne
    6 years ago

    I have emailed to KMart about their commercial. Thank you, Teri, for bringing this issue forward. Hopefully it is corrected swiftly.

    Here is my email:

    Hello, this email is regarding your KMart commercial where the woman exclaims “I don’t really get migraines”. I am a sufferer of migraines and this commercial did not bode well with me. The comment was thrown in along with “I cheat at gin rummy”, “I’m a Canadian spy” and “I blew our retirement at the track”. While these are all acceptable “surprises”, the fact that you insinuate migraine is not a serious, severe, debilitating disease and something to joke about is insincere and callous. I am politely asking that you take out the “I don’t really get migraines” part or do not air the ad entirely. Trying to manage migraine disease is taxing enough, please do not add to the stigma of migraine disease by trying to belittle or make light of it. Migraines are no laughing matter. Perhaps you meant to say “headache” instead of migraine. Please do not think that these two things are the same. Here is a link to a video concerning the stigma of migraine disease to demonstrate only a fraction of what migraineurs go through. You would not joke about someone having Depression, Epilepsy, Parkinsons, so please do not joke about a serious neurological disease called Migraine.

    http://migraine.com/blog/migraine-stigma-video/

    Thank you,
    Brianne

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Fabulous, Brianne. Good job sending the video link. Thank you!

  • Saundra
    6 years ago

    I agree. I have noticed with other companies that posting complaints on their facebook page seems to get alot more attention than trying to deal with them directly. But that also opens up the possibility of people commenting on your complaint as well, which in this case could add to the frustration.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    I thought about their Facebook page, but you never know what can happen if you do that. I decided to mobilize Migraineurs in other ways instead. Thanks.

  • Saundra
    6 years ago

    I also personally feel that the Excedrin Migraine commercials are more offensive and annoying. This is almost funny. I get both the offense and intention at humor with this ad but it doesn’t tick me off near as bad as the Excedrin ones.

  • Nola
    6 years ago

    My letter:

    I have just seen your incredibly insensitive and discriminatory commercial. In the advertisement, the wife says “I don’t really have migraines.” How dare you perpetuate the stigma that migraineurs must contend with on a daily basis! How would it be if you substituted any other serious medical condition? The public would immediately recognize it as blatantly unacceptable. Why do you think that it is acceptable to joke about a serious neurological illness like migraine?

    Please withdraw the commercial immediately and issue a public apology to ALL sufferers of this very serious illness. Your company has sunk to a terrible low with this very offensive advertisement.

    Sincerely,
    Nola J. Shingledecker

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Go, Nola! Thank you!

  • DitzzzyWoman
    6 years ago

    This is a copy of the post that I left. I will not be a consumer of K-mart until they change this commercial. It makes me ill!
    **************************************

    I am appalled at your latest commercial about the K-mart pharmacy and how flippant the woman’s attitude is about her not ‘really having migraines’.

    As a woman who has had migraines for 40 years now and WAS diagnosed in 2007 officially with Chronic Migraine Disorder, Anxiety, Major Depression Disorder, Advanced Osteoporosis and Asthma..it saddens me so much that you do not seem to care about people with illnesses that are beyond our control. I inherited my disease of migraines and it went hand and hand with the depression and the anxiety. I will live with any pain but the headaches, nausea, inability to think & function without great difficulty and even difficulty driving is beyond me.

    I remember my mother taking me to K-mart as a young child and I was always looking forward to the local store’s Blue Light Specials and events.

    And to think that when my children were younger I would take them shopping with me and we would spend our hard earned monies there for clothing, toys, groceries and enjoyed our times there.

    If your pharmacy is this ‘flippant’ about people with migraines…are they this ‘blatantly flippant’ about customer service and their desire to help even the ones who are in pain while in their store? Now the only “Blue” I see is the sadness and the tears streaming down my face because I am currently in DAY 5 of a migraine even as I type.

    I will take my business elsewhere, such as Target. When my next migraine starts I will make sure that K-mart is one store that will be off my list permanently until this commercial is changed.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Good job, DitzzyWoman. Thank you. Hope that Migraine breaks and you feel better soon.

  • Diane Dana
    6 years ago

    Done…I copied and pasted your complaint. Another instance of uninformed marketing personnel writing commercials that they know nothing about.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thanks, Diane! Much appreciated.

  • Lorraine Webber
    6 years ago

    I have sent a complaint to the link you posted. I’ve had migraines now for 34 years. (Had my first one the day after I had my daughter while I was in the hospital.) I also have MS – so, double whammy.

    As far as KMart and Sears – I won’t be shopping there till they offer a public apology.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thanks for helping, Lorraine!

  • Angel
    6 years ago

    I say we not only complain about this commercial & demand a VERY public apology for feeding into the public stigma, but we also boycott K-Mart & Sears (and let them know it) b/c of this. If you see something they have that you like, Walmart & Target both do price matching, get it at one of those two stores. AND pass this article along to ALL of your friends & family members, even those who do not have migraines but who have been affected by your migraines, so they also can complain. If you don’t act on this, you have no right to complain about it!!!!!!

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    I like the way you think, Angel!

  • Angel
    6 years ago

    So I posted on Sears FB page & got this response from them:

    Sears Hi Angelique – Thanks for your comments. We regret if it was seen as offensive; that was not our intent.

    Like · Reply · 3 hours ago

  • Angel
    6 years ago

    EMAIL TO SEARS CUSTOMER SERVICE:

    As a chronic migraine sufferer, I am EXTREMELY offended by the new K-Mart commercial in which the wife states, “I don’t really have migraines; I’ve been faking it.” This feeds the public stigma that migraine sufferers are faking their symptoms & are not really as sick as they claim. We fight this stigma every day. I have been discriminated against at my job, in college & everywhere I go because of idiotic stunts like this commercial your company has put on the air. It is completely insensitive, and I simply cannot believe you would put something this discriminatory on public television!

    Are you even aware of the seriousness of migraines? With each migraine, comes brain damage. Migraine sufferers are an increased risk for strokes, Alzheimer’s Disease, & Dementia. Now, you tell me if migraines are something to joke about in your commercials.

    My response to the way you have treated me and the millions of Americans like me is to no longer shop in your establishments; I shall also encourage everyone I know to do the same. You should really be ashamed of yourselves!!! America is about freedom & you have discriminated against millions based on a very serious health condition!

  • Head-Throbbing-Woman
    6 years ago

    Done!!

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thank you!

  • Michael
    6 years ago

    Unbelievable! Complaint sent. I suppose they don’t carry migraine medications because “we really don’t have migraines”. I will NOT shop at Kmart or Sears.

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thanks, Michael!

  • Tn5259jn
    6 years ago

    Completed with pleasure!

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thank you, Trecia!

  • 3dogmom
    6 years ago

    I already boycott both Kmart and Sears…for different reasons. I have a service dog for my neurological disorder, migraines and other issues. The last thing we need is more people thinking we are **faking** a headache. Unless you have migraines… No one can ever understand the pain and stigma we go through on a daily basis.
    I will gladly post on their website… And they absolutely need to issue a public apology!!

  • Teri-Robert author
    6 years ago

    Thanks, 3dogmom!

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