Skincare vultures shooed away

MATTHEW DALLAS - DEPUTY EDITOR
Last updated 12:00 27/06/2014
Dead sea
Chris Skelton
HARD SELL: A Dead Sea kiosk operator in full sales pitch.

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OPINION: Mall owners should rethink their threshold for pushy sales tactics following the unceremonious dumping of a skin cream seller from shopping centres.

The Plaza in Palmerston North is one of several shopping centres owned by Kiwi Income Property Trust to boot Premiere Dead Sea Spa from its premises after another case of exploitative salesmanship.

We would wager most Manawatu shoppers will be pleased to see the back of them.

On Wednesday night Campbell Live aired an item about an 82-year-old woman talked into buying thousands of dollars of Dead Sea skin cream at a New Lynn mall in Waitakere.

She spent three hours at the kiosk, lured by sweet words, soft smiles, then eventually a very hard sell. A salesperson even walked her from ATM to ATM, after closing, to drain the last of her savings.

It was the second time in two weeks the staff had preyed on the same woman.

The mall's owner promptly evicted the business from LynnMall and its other properties, including The Plaza.

Kiwi Income Property Trust is to be congratulated for taking such swift action and putting ethics ahead of its rental earnings, though it is fair to say damage control would have been a sizeable factor in its decision.

Being associated with a venture that takes advantage of old ladies does little for one's reputation, and many shoppers would argue it should not have accommodated its tenant's vulture culture for as long as it did.

In 2012 a man with Asperger's syndrome was coerced into spending more than $6000, over 17 transactions, on skincare and cosmetics at The Plaza.

While this and the New Lynn case may be more extreme examples, it was the company's more rudimentary ploys - the verbal approach, the gestures, the touching - that established an atmosphere and set-up shoppers for the more hostile tactics that followed.

Kiwi Income Property Trust retail manager Karl Retief said the LynnMall episode was the "breaking point", suggesting Premiere Dead Sea had already caused its landlord plenty of headaches.

Hopefully they won't be forgotten and a firmer line is taken the next time a tenant wants to proffer the public and treat them like prey.

ONE MORE THING

Almost one-third of eligible voters under the age of 30 had yet to enrol to vote in September's General Election as of May 31. Come on kids, get cracking.

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- Manawatu Standard

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