St Ali Coffee Roasters, based in South Melbourne, sent a text message to subscribers on Monday informing them that they had been “fortuitous enough” to obtain some of the highly sought-after COVID-19 tests.
“As a valued VIP customer, we’d like to extend these benefits to you as well,” stated the text message.
“We’ll send you a complimentary 2pk Rapid Antigen Test and cover the cost of shipping inside Australia. Maintain a safe, peaceful, and caffeinated state of mind.
“A minimum purchase of $159.99 is required. Only one per person, and only online. Available while supplies last.”
Social media users quickly shared screenshots of the message, with many labelling it “gross” and threatening to boycott the venue.
Within hours, St Ali and its owner Salvatore Malatesta apologised on their Instagram page and website.
“We assumed this was a method to show our appreciation for our loyal consumers, but the message was lost,” the statement stated.
“In retrospect, we can see that that was incorrect. We apologise profusely.”
St Ali stated that after the item undergoes additional testing, the same amount will be donated to Father Bob’s South Melbourne Charity for distribution.
Additionally, they instructed users to contact them if they desired a refund or additional information regarding their order.
While fast antigen tests are still scarce, they are available for free at testing facilities in Victoria, and the state government has donated three million to key workers in the health and aged care, disability, and emergency sectors.
The “large” initial batch of three million tests is the first of a bulk order of 44 million tests that will be delivered to Victoria.
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