Sweet deal

Props from viral failed Wonka event auctioned to raise cash for Gaza

Two backdrops from Willy Wonka ‘immersive experience’ in Glasgow sell for £2,050 ($2,600) on eBay after being found in dumpster

Screenshot from a video of the 'Willy Wonka immersive experience' in Glasgow, February 24, 2024. (YouTube, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screenshot from a video of the 'Willy Wonka immersive experience' in Glasgow, February 24, 2024. (YouTube, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A record shop in Glasgow raised more than £2,000 ($2,600) for a Palestinian charity this week by selling props from the viral failed Willy Wonka event in the city, according to British media reports.

Fabric backdrops from the Scottish event, which was marketed as an “immersive experience,” were found in a dumpster outside the venue where the event took place and given to a nearby record shop that later sold the props on eBay.

The Willy Wonka event turned into a disaster last month when families arrived to find that it was not what they had been led to believe.

While the attendees expected to arrive at an “immersive experience” as promised, they instead found a large warehouse sparsely decorated with only a few Willy Wonka-inspired props and a couple of fabric backdrops.

Children at the event, who were promised a “chocolate experience like never before,” were served a small amount of candy and tiny cups of limeade.

Some were driven to tears by one of the characters – a villain who was invented for the event.

The families — who had paid up to £35 ($44) a ticket — were enraged and demanded a refund, with the event canceled halfway through after they called the police on the organizers.

The props that were later found in the dumpster gained 57 bids, with the items ultimately sold to a buyer in the UK, who Sky News identified as musician Ben Howard, for £2,250 ($2,900).

“We are all watching [the auction] like you’d watch the end of a football game,” the record shop’s online manager told The Guardian. “It was £900 and then jumped to £1,050, then, one second before it closed, it was £2,050, and it came through at £2,250.

“We’d thought if it goes into four figures we’d be very happy, so it was a pretty amazing result.”

He said that the money was donated to the UK-based charity organization Medical Aid for Palestinians, which provides humanitarian aid and medical care for Palestinians in Gaza.

“It’s a charity we’ve all donated to and that we all care deeply about, and it was kind of a no-brainer when we thought to auction it for charity,” he said.

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