Friday , July 23 2021

Andrew Thorn, head of Safety Warehouse, denies the bogus money claims as opposition grows

The boss under fire from Safety Warehouse defended yesterday’s controversial hand in Aotea Square, saying it was unfairly branded as a “counterfeit money” event.

Chaos erupted at the show in Auckland as the crowd rushed forward to grab what they believed was part of a $ 100,000 cash promotion called “The Drop.” At least 1,000 people filled Aotea Square, but few reported receiving real money and those who only received small denominations.

Instead, attendees walked away with coupons that looked similar to the $ 5 bills, giving customers discounts on security store products. Many were upset and furious crowds clamored for “real money.”

Managing director Andrew Thorn said his company was in fact distributing “real funds” and that his event was “unfairly characterized” as a counterfeit money event.

“In fact, real funds have been distributed as anticipated. The coupons, which were also presented at the event, were an addition to the cash distributed. We could never have expected the inclusion of vouchers to create such hostility and
misunderstood narrative.

“There was no intention to deprive, mislead or embarrass any person of any demographic or race.

“We wanted everyone and everyone to participate in this great event.

“It was the first on such a scale in New Zealand and unfortunately the group has ruined it all.

“Safety magazine supports our marketing and what was published at the event.”

Despite some saying they have to pay for The Drop tickets, Thorn said it was a free event to thank the people of New Zealand.

Safety Warehouse New Zealand promoted the event for weeks before Aotea Square opened.  Photo / via Facebook
Safety Warehouse New Zealand promoted the event for weeks before Aotea Square opened. Photo / via Facebook

“The actions of several people and different viewers were not typical of
the general mood of the event, he said. “The chosen few spoiled everyone the tone of the day, but they were by no means the norm – just a few people who did not get the value they expected for whatever the reason.”

A man who came from Palmerston North to pick up a sick son who was given a helping hand

Meanwhile, a man from Palmerston North who traveled to Auckland hoping to raise money for his sick son was overwhelmed when a stranger with real money showed up.

Wayne Lynch was one of over 1,000 people who gathered in Aotea Square, Auckland yesterday.

Coupons.  Photo / Provided
Coupons. Photo / Provided

Lynch said he hoped for a treat for his son after eye surgery after going into town with his partner yesterday.

The cash out action at the Safety Warehouse turned out to be ugly when the crowd discovered the money wasn’t real. Video / Haki Ani TePaea

However, after collecting a few $ 5 discount coupons that looked like $ 5 bills, Lynch wasn’t sure he could even afford to return to Palmerston North.

“We emphasized that and all the stress of the operation,” said Newshub.

Luckily for Lynch, David Letele heard about his bad luck and stepped in with $ 1,200, food and lodging, saying “it’s not an outstretched hand, it’s a hand up, brother.”

Lynch said he wants the organizers of what he calls the bogus cash loss to be held accountable.

A petition for a refund has been created

Another disgusted participant launched a petition demanding real money payments to voucher holders and planned a police complaint.

The cash out action at the Safety Warehouse turned out to be ugly when the crowd discovered the money wasn’t real. Video / Haki Ani TePaea

Levin’s John Murphy called the event a waste of time, arguing that many of the participants came from poor backgrounds and felt cheated.

John Murphy said people initially thought so "coupons" they were genuine $ 5 bills.  Photo / Provided
John Murphy said initially people thought these “coupons” were genuine $ 5 bills. Photo / Provided

But Murphy said participants only received coupons designed to look like $ 5 bills.

“I was at this event expecting it to be the climax of my short trip to Auckland, only to be a disaster,” said Murphy.

He has since launched a petition that has more than 280 signatories, demanding that The Safety Warehouse convert the coupons issued at the event into real cash.

“I know people outside of Auckland who are stuck. Many of us, including me, have been injured, ”added Murphy.

“People pushed and pushed and lunged at each other, trying to get what appeared to be real money.”

He said one person who appeared to be the organizer shared the ridiculous suggestion that the $ 5 vouchers could be redeemed for real money at a bank.

Murphy also said he would ask the police to investigate whether the vouchers could be considered counterfeit.

He said the employee was taken to the hospital after the crowd got angry and an object thrown through the rear window of a service car smashed glass in his eyes.

The trick “sold out”

A marketing professor at Massey University said the company should apologize and hire a good public relations firm to help save its reputation.

Malcolm Wright told Radio New Zealand the stunt undermined customer confidence.

“I don’t think they are going to cheat, of course they are not going to cheat.” Someone just sold out and went a little too far.

But some of the participants were furious.

“I wasted gas, time and money … I could spend the day doing something more productive,” wrote a Papakura woman in a Murphy petition.

“Wasted time, injured children, deceived all of us, made us look like fools,” said another signatory.

Cam Hore wrote: “What a bloody disgrace. Everyone who attended the event should be paid and the company should be fined for misleading people. ”

Jon Duffy, CEO of Consumer NZ, said any company doing a promotion must make sure it can comply with the terms of the promotion.

“If the company had not actually donated $ 100,000 in cash at this event, it could have been in breach of the Fair Trading Act regarding bait advertising.”

Fair trade law prohibited anyone from advertising a good or service at a certain price if it had no intention of delivering it.

“Bait advertising is when you advertise something that is a really good deal to get people to your door, but then you don’t pursue it,” said Duffy.

“Once you have them, try selling them for something else.”

“We understand that people were getting coupons for counterfeit money that was distributed here, which gave them some sort of special offer,” added Duffy.

“If that’s all on offer, then this offer can be deceiving. I think we’ll just have to see what happens.

“I haven’t seen real money [but] it seems the event did not go as expected by the company.

“And clearly, people didn’t get what they thought they got.”

The event was said to thank the New Zealanders for their support during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thorn said he founded the Safety Warehouse through his Christchurch-based Greenback Capital to supply workwear, and then moved to masks, hand sanitizers, and other equipment when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

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