Tim Dower: Money from the sky? How gullible are we?


I’m not buying into all this outrage over the free money affair in Auckland at the weekend.

In case you’re not up to speed on this, essentially, a firm promoted a stunt in Aotea Square, saying there’d be free money falling out of the sky.

$100,000 of free money, and social media was used to encourage people to come and grab a share.

So people piled into their cars and made a beeline.

There’s a whiff of irony that a safety company should do something like this, when you think of the potential for something very unsafe. We don’t even have lolly scrambles at Santa parades any more – but let’s stick to the point.

Now the firm says there was real money and it was thrown into the crowd.

Whether there actually was $100,000 or not, I don’t know, but apparently most of what was sprayed around was actually vouchers, printed up to look a bit like $5 notes.

And the crowd went wild. Big scramble. People squashed in the melee. And then, fury when they realise they’ve come all that way for a voucher.

You’ve perhaps heard some of the reaction – totally over the top – people claiming they were exploited. It’s an insult to the poor. There are online petitions, demands for a police prosecution and on and on it goes.

I heard one woman moaning she’d spent 20 bucks on gas and money for parking and she wanted it back. You what?

Has anyone stopped, just for a minute, to think about this?

Say there really was $100,000 in cash. And say the crowd was, I dunno, a thousand?

So at the best, you might have been able to grab $100.

What person in their right mind – honestly – what person thinks they’re gonna come out of stunt like this, and go straight into Smith & Caughey’s for a spend-up?

Next thing we’ll have protests from everyone who bought a Lotto ticket this weekend, and isn’t a millionaire.

Do me a favour.

• Tim Dower is a broadcaster and radio show host, notably on Newstalk ZB.

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