Starbucks' 'Bring Your Own Cup' Promotion Gets Weird in China

Starbucks asked customers to bring their own cups, not basins

Customers in China trolled Starbucks by testing the chain's definition of "cup" and seeing what they could get their baristas to put coffee in.

Starbucks China decided to promote Earth Day on April 22 by offering free cups of coffee to customers who brought their own, reusable cups. Not long after that, the Internet was full of photos of people standing in line at Starbucks carrying an increasingly absurd variety of oversized containers like basins, stew pots, and other receptacles that really stretched the definition of the word “cup” to an extreme degree.

According to Shanghai Daily, Internet reaction to the photos was mixed, with may commenters asserting that the people trying to take advantage of the Starbucks free coffee offer were taking advantage of the chain and likely to ruin such promotions for everybody in the future. But it turns out that Starbucks had specified that the Earth Day promotion was for a free Tall-sized, 12-ounce coffee, and the parade of absurd containers had actually occurred well before Earth Day.


The basins, water bottles, and tea pots full of coffee were brought to Starbucks for a different event to test the limits of what Starbucks would fill with coffee, and everybody had paid for their absurdly large lattes. The man spotted drinking a giant latte out of a huge metal bowl had reportedly paid $47.50 for his multi-gallon latte. There’s no word on whether or not he’s managed to get to sleep yet, though.