Starbucks Limited Edition Cup Sparks Brawls Between Customers

March 7, 2019 Updated: March 7, 2019

Starbucks’ limited edition spring-time cups sparked fights between many customers. They wanted to get their hands on a special cat-paw cup, sold for only one week inside mainland China.

On Feb. 26, Starbucks began selling its seasonal cherry blossom cup. The cup is unique because the part which holds the drink is in the shape of a cat’s paw.

Starbucks cup
The 2019 spring Starbucks cup. (user Current Women’s Clothing Match-up/Weibo.com)

The cup was sold from Feb. 26 to March 3, less than one week.

According to the Beijing Youth News, the cups went on sale at 6:50 a.m. on Feb. 26. Customers who were waiting outside crowded in, and conflicts began erupting.

Camping by Starbucks
Camping outside of Starbucks to buy the cat paw cup. (weibo user British Sports-shoes Info/Weibo.com)

One man who was standing in line was about to take the cup, then a woman from behind him grabbed it. “First come, first serve,” she said, according to the report.

Many of the people pushed and shoved, grabbing for the cups, even attempting to take them out of other’s hands.

Even large groups of women brawled over the cups.

Scalpers also fought for buying the cups. One employee said that a scalper came and bought 40 cups as the shop opened. The supplies were gone almost instantly.

The original price of the cup was $30. On Taobao, China’s version of Amazon, the cups are already being sold for as much as $300.

Taobao Starbucks cat paw cup
A cup sale on Taobao.com. (Taobao user Xiben Swoosh/Taobao.com)

Starbucks is a widely popular company within China. China Central Television (CCTV), the media mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, has attacked Starbucks in the past.

CCTV did simple research, sending reporters to Starbucks around the world to buy the same cup of coffee: a medium latte. The result was that Beijing had the highest priced coffee.

CCTV concluded that this was unfair pricing by Starbucks. However, many netizens instead attacked the propaganda campaign, saying that CCTV had no understanding of finance.

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