Seven Eleven is big business here in Japan. Serious business. People get real heated about their convenience stores, called conbini, and have their own allegiances. But this year, the year of our lord 2021, started out with something many Seven Elevenites could not stand for.
Sonna Banana Milk: The Smoking Gun
Sonna Banana is a particularly famous and trendy banana milk stand in Tokyo that recently teamed up with 711 to make a longer-lasting formula, meaning 711 could sell it without risk of it spoiling within a day. People, unsurprisingly, lost their marbles a bit and flooded into 711s to get the milk. They notices something odd, though: Even though it appeared to be filled to the top, it wasn’t.
Turns out there was some color airbrushed along the rim of the cup to make it appear that there was more milk inside the vessel than there really was. As seen above, Japanese Twitter had a bone to pick with 711. They were upset that there was yet another packaging gripe with the convenience store (the last being a pitiful piece of egg on their egg sandwiches). People felt betrayed; 711 stans Tweeted displeasure and had temporary moments of crisis in their brand loyalty.
But that wasn’t the end. Not by a long shot!
Strawberry Milk: The Saga Continues
Then came another controversy: Their strawberry milk drink appears to have lots of strawberry mush or syrup inside, swirly and beautiful. But when you finish the drink? Well, turns out all that you assumed was inside your drink was actually part of the packaging!
I managed to find this one and give it a drink. It had a lot of strawberry pulp and tapioca pearls inside. I don’t think I went a single sip without getting some strawberry goodness. Yes, the packaging is deceiving, but I still got a lot of what was promised, even if the drink itself didn’t look like it without the packaging.
Tapioca Latte: An Unprofessional Investigation
I decided to try and buy some of these controversial drinks myself, and after visiting no fewer than three 711s, I discovered a similar packaging for their tapioca latte. Sure enough, the beautiful flavor-infused swirls were pained onto the cup. I didn’t end up trying this one, so I can’t say for certain if it still delivers like the strawberry one, but it seems they have the good and are just using the packaging to make it look as good as they think it tastes.
It seems this has been standard operating procedure for many of their products, but people are now just realizing they have been mislead, leading to criticism and negative feedback. But just when I thought I had finished with my 7-Eleven drama, I got pulled back in…
The Sage Continues: The Hollow Riceball
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any wilder, another controversy emerges!
The 711 salted rice ball apparently has a hollow center, causing another outcry from Twitter. Apparently, the rice ball is assembled as two halves, not one cohesive unit as they would be homemade. My idea is that they just use the same rice ball mold for all of their rice balls, regardless of whether or not they have something inside, hence the empty center of the plain salt flavor in question.
The hubbub all comes down to this: If the listed amount is different, the they’re breaking rules explicitly, which they aren’t. The rice ball is just constructed strangely; no crime or deception there, as it weighs as much as is noted. With the drinks, however, it does look a bit deceptive, as the packaging is making the consumer believe they’re getting something they’re not.
Does this make me think less of Seven Eleven Japan? Not particularly, but I am more of a Lawson man, and they haven’t betrayed me yet.
Are there any oddities you may have never noticed but blew your mind when you did? Let me know in a comment below!