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MixCollage 10 Jun 2024 01 25 PM 5803

Business calls out woman who identified herself as ‘influencer’ to get free products

A cookie shop owner has criticized a woman who told him she was an “influencer” and asked for free products.

David Maffei, the owner of Halfsies Cookie Company, which is based in Hudson Valley, New York, took to his brand’s Instagram last month to share the email he got from someone calling herself Ana Montez. According to a screenshot of the message from the potential customer, she wanted to get cookies for her bridal party.

“I’m tying the knot and gearing up to spoil my squad rotten! As I dive into wedding planning, I’d love to include your amazing products in my bridal boxes,” the bride-to-be wrote in the email. “Are you in for some bridal bliss? Let’s chat!”

In response, Maffei congratulated her on her engagement and sent her a link to Halfsies’ website, where she could order some of the cookies. However, she replied by asking if his company was doing “any collaborations with influencers.”

After confirming that Halfsies does collaborations, he asked the customer if she was an influencer. Although the woman said she’s collaborated with a few brands before and offered to send her social media accounts, Maffei claimed he didn’t view her as an influencer due to her low follower count.

While he didn’t share the usernames of the woman’s social media accounts, he shared a screenshot of her TikTok account, which only had 904 followers, and her Instagram page, which had 1,300 followers.

The video continued with another screenshot of their emails, where the business owner told the woman that she was “not an influencer.” However, she then responded to him by clarifying that she was “a beginner influencer.” He then jokingly replied with: “I’m a beginner astronaut.”

In the caption of his video, he claimed the term influencer is “a wild label,” before sharing his thoughts on how “beginner influencers can get started.”

“You buy the products from the brands that you like and you tag them. They will probably repost you. You’ll pick up some followers and maybe other brands will see what you’re doing and you’ll eventually have an engaged following that’s interested in the products you receive but you just don’t ask in the beginning for free products,” he wrote.

He also claimed that when “some of the biggest influencers on the internet” purchased his brand’s cookies and tagged the company, that’s when he “found out about them” and added them to the mailing list. Maffei once again criticized the potential customer for seemingly calling herself an “influencer” to get free cookies.

“I’m a middle-aged man with maybe a dozen real friends and a private account and I have more followers than her. Never in a million years would I think I’m an influencer or even ask for free stuff from a company I don’t follow,” he wrote.

In the comments, multiple people hit back at the world of influencers and slammed anyone on social media who attempts to get free merchandise from small businesses.

“Bahahah! Please normalize calling people out for this. Approaching small businesses for free stuff isn’t it. If you can’t afford to get married then adjust your expectations and budget, and don’t expect everyone else to go into debt for YOUR day,” one commented.

“Influencing needs to come to a screeching halt. It is out of control. ‘Are you in for some bridal bliss?’ – No, not at all. The way these people feel so entitled to free s*** is mind-boggling,” another wrote.

“I like how she says she’s gearing up to spoil her squad rotten – by getting strangers to pay for it,” a third quipped about the screenshots of the emails.

However, other people in the comments have scrutinized Maffei for sharing the email on his account, claiming that it was “unprofessional” of him.

“Why did you post this just to embarrass her? As a brand account no less?” one wrote, while another agreed: “Okay, why put her on blast on social media. Is this company run by children? Rude and non-professional. Get a grip.”

The Independent has contacted Maffei and ​​Ana Montez for comment.


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