The coronavirus pandemic is good, actually. That’s probably the internal monologue of billionaire octogenarian Gerry Harvey, who boasted about just how much he’s profited off the crisis on 60 Minutes last night.
During the interview, the boss of retailer Harvey Norman (whose pandemic expertise equates to zip) used the opportunity to brag about how sales are up now that people have been panic buying appliances.
“Our sales are up in Harvey Norman in Australia by nine per cent on last year,” he said.
“Our sales in freezers are up 300%. And what about air purifiers? Up 100%.”
As all non-essential gatherings are being banned around the country, some retailers are considering closing their doors. Harvey isn’t worried, saying that because his stores are so big, people won’t get too close to one another.
“It’s not the Spanish Flu that killed 15 million people just after the First World War,” he said.
“Why are we so scared about getting this virus, there’s pretty much nothing to get scared of.”
Reporter Liam Bartlett replied, “try telling that to thousands of Italian families and Chinese families.”
“But that’s there! We’re here!” yelled Harvey.
“The world’s changed, there’s a new challenge out there, you know, this is an opportunity,” he said.
Harvey did concede that because of his age, he was most at risk of the virus. People aged 80 and over have a mortality rate of 15%, higher than any other age group.
“I’ve got to 80 years of age, I’ve had a wonderful life and I think to myself, I’m just going to keep going as if nothing’s happened,” he said.
“I’ve got to be optimistic – what am I gonna get out of bed every day for and worry about what’s going to happen?”
And there you have it. The coronavirus pandemic may be an enormous public health risk and be causing shortages of essential goods, but hey, at least freezer sales are soaring.Image: Getty Images / BSIP | AAP / Dave Hunt