Starbucks Coffee ran a promotion on April 15 offering free coffee to anybody who brought their own container to any of the Starbucks locations.
The promotion, titled "One person can save trees" (一个人可以拯救几棵树) was a great success. For freeloaders and coffee lovers, anyway, who took the American coffee giant at its word.
Chengdu Commercial Daily snapped "shocking" photos of people dragging all sorts of containers, from large-capacity water jugs and thermoses to makeshift containers and plastic soda bottles (contents dumped out right outside the shop!) into Starbucks.
At the Fortune City Starbucks, white-collar workers from the nearby office towers were clamoring for their free coffee by 9:30 a.m. Not even 30 minutes later, they returned, this time with colleagues in tow. "But I didn't bring a cup!" one complained. "Well, I'll just go to Carrefour and buy one!" His friend chimed in, "A cup is only a few kuai, coffee is over 20. It's worth it!"
According to the CCD report,
Although the barista said that each customer was entitled to a maximum of 350 milliliters, the reporter saw that no matter how big the cup, the barista would fill it up to the top, leaving only a small space to add some milk.
Another woman was spotted spending the day taking her mug to several Starbucks locations in the city, leisurely sipping her free coffee at each one.
If you missed your chance at filling an industrial rice cooker with free coffee, just stay tuned: A China.org article says that Starbucks is planning to aggressively expand its presence in China. In Chengdu, that means adding to the 14 Starbucks shops already present. Additionally, Starbucks plans to enter China's instant-coffee market, hoping to edge out dominant brands Nescafe and Maxwell House.