An Asian Grocer's April Fools' Joke About Panda Meat Seriously Backfired

Honestbee wasn’t actually selling panda, minke whale, or tiger meat. The joke, Honestbee now says, was intended to teach its customers a lesson about “wildlife crime” and “illegal wildlife trade.”

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Apr 1 2016, 9:00pm

Photo via Flickr user Paolo Trabattoni

The day is not yet over, but we're pretty sure the prize for the worst April Fools' joke of 2016 should go to Honestbee, an online grocer based in Singapore.

Congrats, Honestbee! You've hit all the notes of a terrible April Fools' joke. Does it make us want to bury our heads in vicarious shame? Check. Does it fall flat in a multitude of ways? Check. Has it permanently damaged the reputation of Honestbee? That remains to be seen, but it looks like it's off to a pretty good start.

Here's what went down. On March 29, Honestbee made the following offer to customers:

Pandas, Minke Whales, Tigers - what do you make of their taste? By popular demand, we have partnered with Explorer Joe... Posted by honestbee on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

But it was just a joke—Honestbee wasn't actually selling panda, minke whale, or tiger meat. The joke, Honestbee now says, was intended to teach its customers a lesson about "wildlife crime" and "illegal wildlife trade." The April 1 delivery date mentioned in the offer was supposed to tip customers off.

No shock here, the world being full of all kinds of people: Some oblivious customers pre-paid and ordered the meat. They claim they didn't realize the offer was just a joke. And so today, April 1, those who paid for the exotic meat received instead an "animal-themed snack pack," which included information on how make donations to wildlife charities, along with a bunch of what looks like panda-themed snack foods.

photo via Facebook WeiLing Cheang

photo via Facebook WeiLing Cheang
photo via Facebook WeiLing Cheang photo via Facebook WeiLing Cheang

That'll teach 'em, right?

Not exactly.

The people who were the object of the prank—along with pretty much everyone else—were completely pissed off by the whole mortifying joke. Many took to Honestbee's Facebook page to give them a few thoughts on their April Fools' levity.

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The grocer, which has operations in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, seems to have directed the joke only to its Singaporean customers. It now faces a PR backlash that probably has the company's top management wishing it had let April 1 pass without joining in the fun.

Honestbee screenshot backlash 4
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Maybe there should be a new rule from now on: No matter how well-intentioned they are, corporations should lay off the April Fools' pranks.