IS a sign stating 'No coronavirus in our mattresses as ours are Australian made!' an example of dark humour or racism?
The handwritten message implied the homewares shop had better quality mattresses than Chinese-made versions, given the coronavirus besetting the world's most populous nation.
But after a backlash through social media, Harvey Norman distanced itself from the sign, saying it was the idea of the Albury franchisee and apologising.
Twitter group Sleeping Giants Oz, which had its origins in the US in attacking advertisers of a news group that supported President Donald Trump, condemned the sign as racist.
But others suggested it could not be racist because there was no mention of China in the sign and mattresses do not have a race.
Given the exclamation mark it seems an attempt at humour.
However, it was poorly thought through.
Would you really buy a mattress off the back of a sign tying it to a disease without a vaccine?
Are there not an array of other products in Harvey Norman that come from the home of the coronavirus anyway?
What would happen if it hit social media?
That last question is most important in sales fallout in the 2020s.
While Albury does not have a big population of Chinese origin, Sydney and Melbourne do and it would not help Harvey Norman's sales, up against rivals such as Bing Lee and the Good Guys, to have posted this sign.
Of course in yesteryear, when not virtually everyone had a phone in their pocket, the fallout from such a sign would be relatively minuscule.
Now such an ill-conceived piece of stand-up sign comedy brings criticism from all corners within hours.
The lesson for Harvey Norman's franchisee from the episode should be that trying to get a cheap laugh from a deadly health crisis is not worth the cost.