Nothing marks the holiday season more than an overpriced gift set, but last week, Australian cosmetic giant Mecca came under fire for releasing a perfume gift box at the price of $1,500. Though not totally unusual, the gift set came under question after it was revealed that the contents were valued at $900, leaving customers outraged at the $600 mark-up.
This faux-pas was brought to light in a TikTok posted by @petamarine, which received over 200K views in one week. In the video, Peta expresses her confusion over the pricing of the limited edition Maison Margiela Replica Couture Memory Box, which includes ten fragrances in the 30mL size. With a quick Google search, Peta shows viewers that the 30mL fragrances regularly retail for $90, meaning that a gift set with ten perfumes should be valued at around $900.
“[This] means you’re paying $600 for the box?!” Peta asks incredulously.
TikTok users were quick to express their outrage and disappointment at the unreasonable pricing. One user called the whole situation “daylight robbery”, while others tagged Mecca in the comments.
Within a week, Peta caught the attention of the beauty retailer, who left a comment on her video which read, “We missed the mark on this. We’ve updated prices online and in-store. We’ve also been in touch with customers to refund them the difference.”
In a rare display of companies taking responsibility for their mistakes, Mecca’s response immediately won the respect and appreciation of TikTok users and beauty lovers, including Peta herself. In a second video, Peta said, “I have to say I really respect Mecca for making this decision,” and “I really appreciate anyone who’s willing to make up for their mistakes and change for the better”.
The comments under Peta’s second video speak to the value of brands listening to their customers when they have been called out, and coming clean when they have made a mistake.
One user said, “Wow, that’s a first for Mecca. They actually listened and responded”, and another user said, “This is a great move! Glad they were receptive to feedback, even if the pricing was definitely intentional at first”.
This episode also speaks to the power of a viral TikTok in holding companies accountable, especially in the age of social media and cancel culture. In her second video, Peta said, “Personally it’s really wild that I had any impact at all, let alone actually changing the price of the product.”
Hopefully this blunder will be a lesson to brands that a sneaky mark-up won’t escape the scrutiny of their research-savvy Gen Z customers.