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Auckland business giving out free plants for people in need of a smile, amid pandemic

An Auckland company which designs greenery for offices, hotels and restaurants is giving out free plants for people in need of a smile amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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If you get in touch with the company, they’ll give you a plant and one for someone you know who needs cheering up. Source: Seven Sharp

“We have obviously seen our sales drop and our revenue drop, but we also have these living organisms spread around the country that we can't get to,” Outside In creative director Ryan McQuerry told Seven Sharp.

Outside In needs to get rid of their backlog of plants after they grew too big amid the outbreak and some clients closed their doors.

“We just got a backlog of plants that are all growing quite big in our nursery so they take up more space, and then we had all of our forward orders of plants that we were expecting to come in and we sort of bulked those up thinking that we might lose a whole lot of plants.”

It’s believed they have around 1000 plants, estimated to be worth around $30- to $40,000.

“We thought that if a few hundred people might want to show up and take a couple plants each, and we've had over 30,000 people follow us on Instagram in a week."

Now, Outside In is facing an over-abundance of people looking to receive free greenery, with staff being “accosted by people wanting plants", a staff member said.

“We have had people come in with trailers and whatnot trying to get their hands on more plants than they are entitled to.”

The giveaway has since moved online, with 50 people selected per day to pick up plants from a secret location. 

However, people were not deterred, with the company receiving 6000 comments on their Facebook page within two minutes of their first post.

“People just want to come and get all the plants they can get their hands on, really.

“Just seeing the number of responses come out, it's just crazy to see people's passion for plants and how they can actually make people happy and feel healthier," Outside In's Dre Eden said.

Every person at the undisclosed location takes home two plants, with the second for someone in need of a smile.

“We were hoping that it would create a positive experience for people where they think of somebody else that might be in need or just having a tough time at the moment,” Mr McQuerry said.

Outside In will continue to give out free plants every day until they’ve gifted out the plants they no longer need.

“I just hope we can keep on making people's day and spread the love around as much as we can," he said.