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Truth behind Misleading Photos at Starbucks

Chen Xiaoli

A series of photos went viral on social media along with a description which said "Starbucks launched a promotion for Earth Day on April 22. It's said that people could bring in their own cup to get free coffee at stores nationwide. And then ..."

In the photos, some customers can be seen taking large containers such as washbowls and buckets to get more free coffee.


Many marketing accounts shared the photos merely to attract clicks without confirming their source or veracity.

After the photos circulated online, many Chinese netizens felt ashamed of the ill-behaved customers. One felt such a promotion was unsuitable for China. Another even said the incident highlighted the deep-rooted bad habits of Chinese people.

But the Starbucks invitation clearly said participants can "enjoy a free tall sized (12oz/355 milliliter) coffee courtesy of Starbucks" on the day.

So, no matter what size container people brought, Starbucks would only give that amount.

In fact, the misleading photos were part of a test by people to validate another Starbucks promotion and were first posted on WeChat by an account named "Chumohangcheng" on April 12. 

People had reportedly paid for all coffee in the test among which a basin of coffee cost them 327 yuan (US$47.50).


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