Melbourne cafe apologises for offering Covid RATs in 'gross' promotion

·2-min read

A Melbourne coffee company has apologised after their offer of free Covid rapid antigen tests for VIP customers was met with a severe backlash.

ST. ALi Coffee Roasters, which runs a popular cafe in south Melbourne and sells online coffee beans and deli items, sent a text message to customers on Monday saying the business had been “fortunate enough to secure a limited number” of the tests for “staff, families and friends.”

“As a special VIP customer, we’d like to extend these to you too,” the text, which was posted to Reddit, says.

ST. ALi said it would gift shoppers a free pack of two RAT tests to those who spend a minimum of $159.99 on an order.

ST. ALi baristas are seen making coffee at their Melbourne cafe. The company had offered Covid RATs to customers making large online orders.
ST. ALi coffee company had offered Covid RATs to VIP customers. Source: ST. ALi/Instagram

The text was met with immediate criticism by receivers, some of which said they would now “boycott” the cafe.

“Received this message from ST. ALi coffee. So gross, I’m done ordering their coffee now,” the person who posted the text online wrote.

“Wow that’s terrible,” another Reddit user chimed in.

“I’m boycotting it from now. Thanks,” a third person said.

Others said the promotion was “weird”.

“This pandemic has really shown just how awful and self-serving a large percentage of the population are. I’m just glad there has also been many more stories and examples of people coming together and helping each other out!” one person wrote.

The company's text message about the free RATs and their apology on Instagram. Source: Reddit/Instagram
ST. ALi issued an apology on its Instagram just hours after sending the message, but some customers said it was “too little, too late”. Source: Reddit/Instagram

Coffee company apologises

ST. ALi issued an apology on its Instagram just hours after sending the message, but some customers said it was “too little too late”.

“We recently procured some rapid antigen tests for our staff and their families, we had some surplus of supply, so we sent a text message to some of our subscribers offering two free [RATs] with a minimum order value,” the coffee company’s post reads.

“We believed this was a way of supporting our customers whom purchase from us regularly, but the message has been lost.

“We can see in hindsight it was inappropriate. We are very sorry.”

ST. ALi said it will donate further tests it receives to a charity to be distributed to those in need.

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