While it's not my primary job responsibility, I am involved in a program that helps to promote our company among employees. We had some budget to buy some company swag for the employees, so I took the lead to buy some very nice lunchboxes with the company logo on it. Initially, everyone was happy because it was a really nice quality.
Unfortunately, things soon turned to chaos. 300 people all showed up to work with the same lunchbox. People soon started accidentally grabbing the wrong lunchbox from the communal fridge at lunch, or on their way home. Angry notes and e-mails flooded the firm from people who claimed their lunch was stolen.
Things got worse when some people intentionally started taking somebody else's lunch as retribution for having their own lunch "stolen". (More angry notes and e-mails). Last week, 3 people got sick at work with food poisoning symptoms. The rumor (although there isn't any way to verify it) is that somebody was so fed up with having their lunch stolen, that they purposely put spoiled food in several lunchboxes to make the unsuspecting thieves sick.
Today, our CIO got so angry that he sent an e-mail out to everybody saying that these company lunchboxes were officially banned from the office, and scolded "extremely childish behavior" of the firm. He then sent me a 1-on-1 meeting with a subject of "Discuss Lunchbox Fiasco".
I've never spoken to our CIO, and I'm petrified of this conversation. In hindsight, getting company lunchboxes may have been a poor choice of swag, but I really didn't foresee this happening.
What is the best way to approach this meeting with our CIO? Should I come off apologetic for this situation, or is it best to firmly deny all responsibility for this fiasco and blame this on the immaturity of some of my peers? I'm mad as hell with what has happened and now I'm scared for my job.