Photos circulating online that suggest Chinese people used bizarre objects, such as washbasin and pot, as containers to get free coffee given away by Starbucks on Earth Day are not what they seem, China’s state media warned.
The photos have nothing to do with the coffee giveaway campaign launched by Starbucks in Shanghai city and Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces last week, Xinhua news agency said.
Starbucks announced last Friday that some stores in the region will participate in a “Love the earth, Make one cup matter” campaign, giving away a free medium-size (355 ml) coffee to each customer who brought his or her own cup.
The giveaway was planned as part of activities to mark Earth Day on April 22.
But on Saturday, when the campaign was conducted, a person posted several photos online and claimed that some people successfully used objects such as a washbasin and a Chinese medicine extracting pot to get their free coffee.
The photos went viral soon, with some netizens slamming those using such large containers for free coffee as being greedy and shameless.
But investigations conducted by media revealed that the claim by the uploader of the photos was totally false and that the pictures actually stemmed from an organized stunt that began much before Earth Day.
According to Xinhua, some people had been sent to coffee outlets on April 11 by an online media platform in an experiment that sought to determine if customers can get 3 yuan deducted from the price by using various containers.
A receipt provided by the online media outlet suggested that a person who was seen in a photo drinking coffee out of a washbasin-shaped container actually spent 327 yuan to buy the beverage.
Meanwhile, staff at several Starbucks outlets in Hangzhou and Shanghai also told reporters that they did not see people come with bizarre containers to get free coffee on Earth Day, hk01.com reports.
According to the staff, each customer was offered only a medium-sized coffee for free that day no matter what container the person brought.
Hence, it is impossible that someone could get as much free coffee as that required to fill a washbasin.
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