A cat-paw mug launched by Starbucks. China Photo: Weibo

Starbucks China has attracted some unwanted publicity over its latest coffee mug. The cat paw-shaped limited-edition cup has caused chaos in many mainland outlets and a number of fights over the new item were video-taped  and went viral on social media.

One man wrestled with a woman, who fought back, while another man tried to separate them, according to the Global Times. In another video, a tall man trying to make a purchase holds a mug high while a shorter man jumps like a child trying to grab it out of his hand.

But the worst fight scene, the paper noted, was in a video reported to have been taken outside a Starbucks where a woman brutally kicked a man in the back of the legs as he was being held by several people. Why would that happen? Starbucks was probably a victim of its own success by creating a series of designer cups that had become the talk of the town.

Among the various designs, the one with the cat paws in which the figure appears after pouring coffee won the hearts of many. As soon as they went on sale on Tuesday, fans lined up outside a few Starbucks but were disappointed because each store only had a handful of paw mugs and they were quickly sold out.

The hot item was priced at 199 yuan (US$29.78), which also reflected their grey market price online because some buyers were willing to pay anything from 400 yuan to 1,800 yuan for the mug.

It has been a common sales gimmick for almost every food and beverage chain to offer cute cartoon designs to consumers. McDonald’s, for example, offers a series of Snoopy and Hello Kitty mini-figures to its consumer along with their combo meals that caused many collectors to line up for the gifts.

Starbucks China said on weibo it would be quick to fill the inventory and asked customers to shop online.

Some 1,500 cat-paw mugs will soon be available, according to some mainland media, but the question is, will it fill the demand or will there be more fights?

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