Last week, South Koreans expressed a lot of outrage after a Korean Air Lines executive attempted to take advantage of her position on a flight.
Cho Hyun-ah, the daughter of Korean Air's chairman, came under fire for delaying a flight from New York City after an attendant served her macadamia nuts in a bag, instead of on a plate.
Due to what is now being referred to as “nut rage,” Hyun-ah had to apologize with her head bowed in shame in a press conference and eventually resigned from her post.
The episode was initially reported to have “brought embarrassment” and dishonor to her family and country. However, considering what is now happening in South Korea, it seems the controversy wasn’t all that bad – at least for the country’s nut retailers and the government.
It has emerged that macadamias are now a household name in South Korea and their sales are booming.
“Sales of macadamias have surged nearly 12-fold during the previous five days without any promotions,” Auction, a South Korean unit of eBay and South Korea's second-largest e-commerce website, revealed on Monday. “Where macadamias previously made up only 5 percent of its nut sales are now accounting for almost half.”
Gmarket, South Korea's largest online shopping retailer also owned by eBay, said their sales increased 20 times in the past week compared with the previous one. Mauna Loa macadamia nuts sold out, according e-commerce firm Coupang’s website with users requesting the product be quickly restocked.
Meanwhile, in what could be yet another blow to Hyun-ah’s family business, the Korean government has said it could fine the airlines up to $2 million.
It might sound like a harsh punishment to many outside of South Korea but that the way things work there. The transportation ministry said in a statement that they will file formal complaints with the prosecution against Cho Hyun-Ah and ask them to open a “criminal investigation.”
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While Koreans are now curious to taste the nutty treat that cost an executive her job, we all know who won’t be having macadamias for a while.