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Target has had to apologize after a sharp-eyed shopper tweeted what appeared to be a fat insult on the company's website: The retailer listed an ashen-coloured, plus-sized kimono maxi dress as "manatee gray," while all other sizes were listed as "dark heather gray."

"This is a mammal, after all, that is sometimes referred to as a sea cow," notes the Los Angeles Times' Amy Hubbard .

Unlike other chains that haven't always reacted swiftly or humbly to complaints about their online offerings (I'm thinking specifically of H&M's cyborg models ), Target went into damage control quickly.

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"We apologize for this unintentional oversight and never intend to offend our guests. We've heard you, and we're working to fix it ASAP," the company tweeted at the customer, Susan Clemens, and its half-a-million followers .

It turned out the retailer sells towels, pillows and other home apparel in the "manatee gray," as well as men's clothing. Target spokesman Joshua Thomas told Forbes that items in all women's sizes are also available in the colour. Forbes reports that two sets of clothing buyers were inputting information on the website, hence the discrepancy: "One team apparently used the colour's official name, while the other eyeballed it."

Now, the dress is simply listed inoffensively as "gray."

"Lesson learned, boycott averted," wrote Forbes' Jeff Bercovici.

For her part, Clemens maintains she wasn't ever the outraged customer some outlets have made her out to be: "I was conversing with a brand," she tweeted. "I'm still a big fan."

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