Confusing Beverage Label Blamed for ‘Free Tea’ Shoplifting

A man was accused of shoplifting a brand of tea called “Free Tea”
Free Tea from Pokka Sapporo

A brand of tea called "Free Tea" caused an embarrassing incident this week when a man was accused of shoplifting a bottle.

Unintentional shoplifting does happen sometimes, but usually it’s a case of customers just walking out without remembering to pay for their purchases. This week, however, one man was accused of shoplifting from a convenience store in Japan, and he blamed a misleading label for the incident.

According to Rocket News 24, a Twitter user named Domoboku watched an accused shoplifter fight with a store clerk who had spotted the man taking a bottle of tea off the shelf and drinking it without paying for it. The customer yelled that he hadn’t done anything wrong, because the tea was supposed to be free. Indeed, what he had taken was a bottle of lemon tea that had the English-language brand name “Free Tea.”

The admittedly confusing brand name comes from the fact that the tea contains GABA extract, which comes from rice and is supposed to relieve anxiety and help people relax. The tea’s name is supposed to imply that the tea will free people from stress, but the customer seems to have thought that “Free Tea” meant “this tea is complimentary.”

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The label might have read “Free Tea,” but the bottle actually cost 130 yen, or $1.26. The furious customer said the name was very misleading and that the company should change the name. At the very least, the store might want to consider making the price labels a little more prominent in the future.