Tue, Sep 18, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Customer in a flap over Birds mug

By Hsu Kuo-chen, Kao Chia-ho and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Limited-edition Angry Birds mugs given away as promotional products at 7-Eleven convenience stores are shown on display in Greater Taichung on Friday.

Photo: Hsu Kuo-chen, Taipei Times

Fighting over an Angry Birds mug? A store clerk and a customer were recently arrested after a scuffle over the popular limited-edition mugs being given away by the 7-Eleven convenience store chain.

President Chain Store Corp, operator of the nation’s leading convenience store, launched a bonus-point scheme last month whereby customers could exchange points for mugs featuring eight Angry Birds characters.

According to the company’s advertisement campaign, customers could earn one bonus point sticker per NT$70 purchase. Those who have accumulated five stickers could exchange them for a mug by paying an additional NT$69, or they could collect 20 points and get one mug for free.

However, the mugs were so popular that the company ran out of stock before the campaign ended on Sept. 2. Customers were then asked to put their names down on a waiting list.

According to police, a 43-year-old woman surnamed Chiang (江) recently went to a 7-Eleven convenience store chain on Hankou Road in Greater Taichung to “pre-order” an Angry Birds mug with her five bonus stickers.

However, after paying NT$69 and leaving her contact information, the woman allegedly took a red mug on the display shelf as she prepared to walk out of the store, police said.

A 34-year-old store clerk surnamed Chung (鍾) stopped the woman, telling her that the products were in short supply and would be delivered to customers according to the names on the waiting list, police said.

Some pushing and shoving ensued when Chung attempted to grab the mug back, they said. Chung allegedly twisted Chiang’s left arm, and she is said to have retaliated by hitting Chung in the head with her right hand, they added.

Both parties sustained injuries and were taken to a police station. With the two accusing each other of causing bodily harm, their case is now pending in court.

The complimentary mugs were so well-received that many -customers went from store to store to find their preferred editions, police said, urging the public to remain calm or the products could become “more of a loss than a gain.”

According to President Chain Store Corp, the just-concluded campaign was expected to raise its monthly revenue by between 10 and 20 percent. Based on an estimated revenue of NT$12.2 billion (US$414 million), that would mean a sales increase of between NT$1.2 billion and NT$2.4 billion.

Domestic distributors teaming up with popular fictional characters dates back to 1996, when Japanese company Sanrio, producer of Hello Kitty, and US fast food giant McDonald’s launched a similar joint promotional campaign, causing a nationwide frenzy.

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