Pak’nSave slammed for 'misogynistic' Mother's Day giveaway

Pak'nSave Porirua. Photo: Google
Pak'nSave Porirua. Photo: Google
A Pak’nSave promotion for Mother’s Day, which offered laundry liquid as a gift, has been criticised as "misogynistic" – but the store has defended the giveaway.

The post to Porirua Pak’nSave’s social media page was advertising a giveaway for three people for Mother’s Day.

"Stickman [Pak’nSave’s mascot] is feeling generous so we have another Mother’s Day giveaway. Three wonderful pamper packs are up for grabs, to enter simply tell us why you or someone you know deserves this."

The "pamper packs" comprised two bottles of Persil laundry liquid, four bottles of laundry scent booster, two Glade air fresheners and a box of Roses chocolates.

Comments on the post shared to another page criticised it as "misogynistic" and wondered whether Pak’nSave would offer the same gift for Father’s Day.

"Cool but I wouldn’t call laundry products a pamper pack," said another comment.

Pak’nSave Porirua later edited the post in response to the criticism.

The original giveaway post. Photo: Pak'nSave Porirua
The original giveaway post. Photo: Pak'nSave Porirua
The new caption for the giveaway thanked people who "saw this post for what it was".

"A free giveaway with no hidden agenda or meaning. Sad when people decide to make assumptions or see something that isn’t there. We’ll be drawing this tomorrow as filtering out the minority of comments ... is a bit painful".

Cory Ross, the Pak’nSave employee who wrote the post, told the Herald any concept of the giveaway as misogynistic was "ridiculous".

He said he was initially going to post just the box of Roses as the giveaway but thought it looked a bit sparse, so added the other items, which were already in his office as samples.

"There was absolutely no intention there – it’s not about mums doing laundry."

He said there was "no reasoning" with the people who were commenting negatively, which is why he chose to delete their comments.

The edited post said there was no hidden agenda or meaning. Photo: Porirua Pakn'Save
The edited post said there was no hidden agenda or meaning. Photo: Porirua Pakn'Save
Ross also said that, of the hundreds of comments, he deleted only about 30 negative ones that he claimed were being "quite nasty".

"They’re not doing themselves any favours by not trying to understand."

He also added that he checked in with female staff members to make sure he wasn’t in the wrong.

"The majority of people took it in the right way."

But Foodstuffs spokeswoman Emma Wooster apologised and said the Mother’s Day post did not reflect the views of PaK’nSave, Stickman, or Foodstuffs.

"We’ve had a chat to Cory, who’s in charge of giveaways at PaK’nSave Porirua this week and he genuinely thought he was doing something nice for the store’s Facebook community - but sadly missed the mark with this particular promo. We’ve explained why the original post might have been poorly received and it’s been edited."

Wooster said the store team have promised to step up their gift game in future.

"Happy Mother’s Day for Sunday to all the amazing mums out there and sorry for any offence that’s been caused."

Hundreds of people commented on the post, trying to win the prize. The three winners have now been chosen, with the first prize winner saying she was deserving of the package because she had terminal cancer and six children.

Dr Missy Molloy, a senior lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington who specialises in feminist cinema, implored Pak’nSave to think more about what it was asking the mothers in the comments to do.

"They’re forcing these women to perform how difficult their lives are so they can feel benevolent, like ‘We’re going to give you laundry soap’. That is not what you should be having your consumers do."

Molloy was struck by Pak’nSave’s edit to the post, which she believed implied the people who were complaining were somehow ungrateful.

"The objection that Pak’nSave can make is that they’re trying to turn down a really nice gift and they’re ungrateful, and they’re not representing all the people in the comments who desperately want the package ... almost like it’s some kind of privilege or luxury to be in a position as a woman where you don’t just desperately have to say ‘I want the laundry detergent’."

She also said the giveaway represented the unconscious biases many people still held towards women and domestic labour.

"Pak’nSave should kind of consider or reflect on what ... were some of the ideas that they were communicating through that gift? And why did it draw criticism?

"And then think about the gender-based biases that they’re operating to."

The Herald has requested further comment from Foodstuffs, the group that owns Pak’nSave.