Preparing for disaster is a prudent action and requires a willingness to look into the future or around corners to see and avoid danger.
When an event like the “Brexit” vote (England’s exit from the European Union) takes place and is followed by roiling financial markets, preppers certainly played mental chess to see how that event could play out for them and their families. And that’s OK.
But when a company makes questionable claims on the back of a big news event to generate fear for the sake of profit, it goes over the line.
Less than 24 hours after the “Brexit” vote, at 1:45 p.m. Eastern, Paratus Businesss News received its regular marketing e-mail from Safecastle, a supply retailer out of Redondo Beach, Calif. What made this e-mail different was that the company forecasted a “storage-food shortage” resulting from the Brexit vote and subsequent financial market crash.
In the e-mail, Safecastle claimed “HUGE storage food orders have been piling up this month, placed by individuals with finances and insight into what is coming.” There were no facts or any attributions to verify its claim.
Wondering if this was true, PBN did a little investigating. If people with “finances and insight” into the pending vote were making large orders, stressing food storage inventory, certainly other companies with smart buyers would be in the same boat.
Certainly others in the Industry would be on top of this news as well, so over the next two days, PBN reviewed more than 330 websites tied to the survival, prepper, homesteader and tactical industry. And while many reported on the “Brexit” news and potential aftermath of the vote, not a single site claimed food shortages.
In fact, we specifically combed through food storage manufacturers and retailers for any signal that they may experience a run on their products. Certainly, the companies would alert their customers, right?
We found zero mentions of “Brexit” or storage-food shortages on the food storage websites.
To be fair, we thought that maybe the companies had just begun to experience increased call volumes and maybe the marketing departments were holding emergency meetings to figure out their next steps.
One well-known company we spoke to had no increase in call volumes or orders.
Considering that every expert and so-called expert on the “Brexit” issue believed the “remain” vote would win. And considering that the world’s markets rocketed up late on election day because the polls indicated a “remain” victory, we don’t believe for a second that Safecastle customers had magical insight that was not shared by the more than 330 other survival industry websites.
And now that we’ve given this issue some time to mature, or fade away, we stand by our belief that Safecastle created this non-event to drive sales.
Let’s review the facts:
- June 3 and June 9: Safecastle promoted a sale (of up to 46 percent off) of food storage items, including Mountain House products.
- June 19: Paratus Business News receives Safecastle email promoting “much greater savings” on Mountain House food storage products.
- June 23: Safecastle’s blog gives “heads up” to the “uptick” in “huge” food-storage orders, claiming a pending shortage. The Brexit vote takes place.
- June 24: Safecastle blog warns “this month we are seeing a sudden significant surge in very large storage food orders” during the lead up to the vote. That same day, Paratus Business News receives Safecastle marketing e-mail claiming its forecast of pending food storage shortages. Its blog does the same.
- June 25 and July 2: Safecastle blog and e-mails advertise “huge” sale on Mountain House food storage products.
Somehow, we don’t believe that when a company purportedly experiences “huge” orders on specific products, and expects shortages of that product, (and then warns customers about it), it doesn’t heavily promote that endangered product with huge discounts.
If we’re wrong, we’ll eat crow publicly, and get on the waiting list for Safecastle foods. Until then, this whole thing smells.
We believe that creating a “shortage” that doesn’t exist so your company can feed off the fears of others is low. Your customers deserve a little more respect than that.
We believe that preppers and survivalists already struggle with the stigma of being “tin foil hat” types. They don’t need a company to make it worse.
We believe this industry is doing its best to rise above the silly accusations or stigma and we don’t need an industry player acting irresponsibly.
We all deserve better than that.