Would you pay over S$360 for a cup?
Us Asians are famous for our obsession over cute things and our dedication to getting our hands on them as soon as possible. Long queues are no longer a surprise, but getting violent is still something new. A new limited-edition “cat paw cup” recently released by Starbucks China has incited so much passion, the customers are getting into serious fights in competition to get one for themselves.
The cup in question is, we have to admit, very cute. It’s a 6oz pale pink double-walled tumbler with an interior shaped like a cat paw and displaying the Starbucks brand name is gold lettering. The cup debuted at select stores in China on 26 February as part of the Starbucks Cherry Blossom merchandise series; that’s why it also features little sakura petals all around the exterior.
Empty, you might not be able to see the appeal. The magic happens when you pour a drink in it and the interior fills up, revealing an adorable cat paw shape in whatever the colour of the drink.
Probably because of the cup being a limited edition product, the eagerness to own one escalated into a competition to get it before they run out. At 199 RMB (about S$40), the cup isn’t cheap. Yet, Chinese customers reportedly queued overnight, in the wee hours of the morning before the Starbucks stores opened, to secure their chance at purchasing the cat paw cup. They sold out within the same day they were first released.
If you thought that was the end of the mania, you’re in for a shocker. Not everyone took the selling out lightly, and some started to snatch cups out of the hands of the lucky customers who managed to get one. Kicking fights ensued and the Starbucks staff had to step in.
Videos of the fights went viral. Take a look at what went down at the Starbucks stores in China’s Shaanxi Province:
In response to the in-store violence, Starbucks decided to take things online and release more of the cat paw cups via its official e-commerce store on Taobao, through Alibaba. It was announced that 1,000 of the cups were made available on the e-commerce store last Thursday to Saturday. But according to CNN, the first batch released online was “sold out in less than a tenth of a second”!!
Never underestimate the retail power of the Chinese people!
What happened next? Well, instead of trying to calm things down, Starbucks added to the frenzy. They decided to sell all the remaining 3,000 cups at one go last Friday (1 March), and guess what? Yup, they sold out within a second again.
For those of us in Singapore, if you’re wishing you could get a cat paw cup too… You actually can. It just depends on how much you’re willing to pay for it, and if you’re all right with getting an imitation cup. On Taobao, users are reselling authentic cups for as much as 1,800RMB, which is about S$364!
A little search on eBay also brought us quite a number of results, but tread carefully – most of them are likely not authentic. Not surprisingly, imitation cups are taking off, and we found some on Qoo10 and Carousell.
If you have a cat, you could “make” your own cat paw cup! We personally think this is a wonderful idea. All you need is your cat and a mug you already own – no need to spend a buck at all!
Or, why not just get one of the many other merch from the Starbucks Cherry Blossom series: