An egg tart seller promises not to accidentally sell realistic plastic samples for the third time

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They say it’s a charm.

A popular element of the Japanese urban landscape are the numerous plastic food samples that adorn the windows of restaurants and other food retailers. These fake dishes are made with such amazing attention to detail that they are works of art in their own law.

Unfortunately, this can be a source of trouble for the food retailers themselves when these realistic foods are not securely enclosed in display cases. Just ask the staff at Andrew’s egg tartwho had trouble distinguishing fake tarts from real ones.

▼ Andrew’s Eggtart is a branch of Lord Stow’s Bakery where Andrew and Lord Stow are the same guy

There was an incident in late October where a customer was accidentally served five plastic tarts when staff mistook them for real fresh tarts. The Macau franchise, which usually has locations in Osaka, Nagoya and Kagoshima, opened a temporary stand at JR Tottori station and customers flocked to the chance to grab the rare treat. In all the commotion, it would seem that an inedible order for tarts had been handed out by mistake.

The company explained that part of the reason was that these particular food samples were designed to be hollow to save production costs. This also makes them much lighter than solid plastic sculptures and harder to distinguish from the weight of real tarts. In addition, the attention to the appearance of the samples was so detailed that they even had the distinct color and texture of tarts that were baked off-site and refrigerated, as opposed to freshly baked.

It is this attention to detail that has led many online commenters to say that they would consider themselves lucky if they received the samples by mistake.

“I’d rather have samples.”
“I think the company that made the sample should feel proud.”
“Recent food replicas are amazing and it’s really hard to tell them apart from the real thing.”
“A long time ago, my father bought souvenir snacks on a trip, but they turned out to be samples. He couldn’t return them either because it was too far away, but that was fine with me.”
“I wonder how you can explain it without spoiling the look. Maybe stick it to a nice dish?
“There is such a thing as too high quality.”
“It’s not like those silicone wrappers, but it’s probably a good idea to put a DO NOT EAT warning on them.”
“I wouldn’t mind buying a sample, but hopefully I’ll realize that before I try to eat it.”

According to Andrew’s Eggtart, a sample costs about three times the 209 yen ($1.5) price of a real tart, so anyone who buys it will have a bargain. Fortunately, in the latter case, the customers were honest and brought samples for replacement without complaints.

This is actually the second time Andrew’s Eggtart has had this problem with a similar bug that happened last January. Measures were put in place after the event to prevent a reoccurrence, such as making it clear to part-time employees which tarts were real, and even refraining from posting fake tarts unless a manager was present.

However, for temporary tart stands, the staff is outsourced to local human resources who are not as well trained or experienced to deal with such realistic food samples. Andrew’s Eggtart now says they will also upgrade the temporary location training to prevent this from happening again a third time.

Source: Shukan Josei Prime, Twitter
Top image: YouTube/Lord Stow’s Bakery
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