New World customers have been left disappointed after a Smeg promotion proved so popular, stocks of the premium products have rapidly depleted with five days of the special to go - and no compensation past the deadline.
The supermarket chain has been running a promotion that awards shoppers a sticker for every $20 they spend. After collecting a certain amount, shoppers can redeem the stickers for a selection of Smeg knives or a stylish knife block.
However, the majority of New World stores nationwide have sold out of the six-slot, acacia wood knife blocks - with a price tag of $179.90.
The desirable knife block was redeemable for 40 stickers ($800 spent at New World) plus $50.
"It's been the summer of Smeg. This has been our most successful promotion ever," Foodstuffs North Island CEO Chris Quin told The AM Show on Tuesday morning.
He explained that the company was initially recommended to order 10,000 of the coveted products for the 12-week campaign. However, New World anticipated a high demand and ordered 50,000 - almost all of which have been snapped up with five days of the promotion left to go.
"It looks like in the last week-and-a-half of the campaign, we've run out," he said.
Now, questions are being raised as to how the supermarket plans to honour its loyal customers who splashed the cash, but may be left empty-handed.
"We've still got some knives," Quin said. "We've [given out] about a million knives."
New World re-stocked shortly before Christmas, with more of the product delivered by air freight. However, the manufacturer who supplies the knife blocks gave all that they could.
"We took all they could make. We could not get any more," he explained, adding that more could not be produced in time for the January 24 deadline.
"There's none on the horizon at this point from the manufacturer."
Quin noted that the promotion does bear the fineprint, 'while stocks last'.
When host Duncan Garner pressed Quin as to why the supermarket couldn't order more product and hand it out later, he reiterated that the campaign had a firm end date.
"The campaign is going to be finished. A million knives, 50,000 blocks - lots of our customers got a reward. It's hard to predict the demand - we thought we'd have a problem with stock left over."
Co-host and loyal New World customer, Amanda Gillies, pointed out that customers may have spent more to take part in the promotion - and no reward could be a point of contention for those who blew the budget.
"There is still reward available - there are still knives available in-store from here to the 24th," Quin reiterated. "Not every knife and not in every store, obviously the pattern has been really hard to determine.
"The promise is 'while stocks last'. We did everything we could to get more stock and we got a lot in. The only thing probably we can do is ask customers 'how many would you like to get three months ahead?' This is not possible to guess."
Quin said it's unknown how many shoppers have missed out on their Smeg prize, and did not directly answer if another form of compensation would be made available.
The cheapest product, an 8cm vegetable knife with a recommended retail price of $59.90, can be collected with 25 stickers ($500), or 12 ($240) plus $15.
Aside from the vegetable knife, a 13cm utility knife, a 15cm meat knife, a 19cm bread knife, an 18cm santoku knife and a 19cm chefs' knife have also been on offer.