Date
19 November 2017
The Sharing Fridge scheme (left) did not go according to plan in Shanghai; At a buffet restaurant in Anhui, many customers left without eating the food they heaped on their plates. Photos: Xinhua, Sina
The Sharing Fridge scheme (left) did not go according to plan in Shanghai; At a buffet restaurant in Anhui, many customers left without eating the food they heaped on their plates. Photos: Xinhua, Sina

Sharing Fridge campaign turns into free-for-all in Shanghai

“Sharing Fridge”, a charitable scheme in which members of a community contribute food items and place them in a communal refrigerator for the underprivileged, has been launched in at least three locations in Shanghai.

The response was overwhelming, but the scheme did not go according to plan.

In less than 10 minutes, all the food donations in the community fridges were wiped out by people who did not look they were the intended recipients of the project, news website eastday.com reports.

It was observed that many people took more than one portion of the available food, while others brought their entire family to fetch the freebies.

In Putuo District, volunteers were assigned to take turns in guarding the community fridge to ensure that only the needy can avail themselves of the free food.

Recipients were also asked to fill out a form before food was handed out.

The scramble at the Sharing Fridge outlets has become a hot topic on mainland social media, with some netizens saying that organizers should consider themselves lucky as the refrigerators were not taken away.

Others suggested that what works well in the West may not necessarily work in China.

In Tongling in eastern China’s Anhui province, meanwhile, a restaurant launched a five-day National Day promotion by giving away complimentary buffet coupons to customers.

The owner never expected huge crowds to descend on the restaurant and clean up all the food on offer.

An army of security guards had to be hired to restore order at the outlet after customers stormed the place for the free meals.

Pictures circulating on the internet show customers standing right in front of the food stations while eating their meals and others taking four to five plates of food in one go.

At the end of the “food riot”, many plates heaping with food were left on table, uneaten.

Some netizens said the people acted like zombies, grabbing food and filling their plates with no intention of eating them, while others said the sight was so embarrassing.

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