What to do with 200,000 bottles of hand sanitiser?

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It seems someone at Office Max New Zealand may have over-estimated its customers’ need for hand sanitiser and ordered more than it could sell.

Finding more than 200,000 bottles of the stuff in its warehouses it has decided to give it away to charities “ahead of the annual flu season”. Which is great, except hand sanitizer doesn’t kill viruses (such as covid) – it kills 99.9% of germs.

The firm estimates the retail value of its sanitiser give-away at $1.9 million. That’s a big tax right-off.

Where OfficeMax probably went wrong is ordering products it thought its business clients – those running offices and shops – might want. Only to find thousands of them closed and staff working from home – buying sanitiser with their weekly supermarket shop…

OfficeMax managing director, Kevin Obern, says: “With the cold and flu season imminent, it’s important that our communities stay safe and healthy and we know that hand hygiene is a big part of that. Our aim is to redirect product, directly to the charities and organisations who need it most – I’d encourage community organisations to get in touch.”

OfficeMax is inviting charities, and community organisations in Auckland and Christchurch that would like to request hand sanitiser to email sanitiser@officemax.co.nz to receive free bottles for members of their communities this winter.

Those unable to get free hand sanitiser should wash their hands with warm water and soap, like we used to do…

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