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Shopping at Japanese convenience store Lawson? Don’t forget to take a cooking pot with you

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Last year, new regulations went into effect in Japan banning resellers from providing free plastic shopping bags. The intended effect is for people to balk at the extra charge and thus be encouraged to bring their own reusable shopping bag with them, but customers heading to branches of the Lawson convenience store chain will now want to bring a cooking pot or Tupperware container with them too.


With cool fall weather on the way, Japan’s craving for oden, a traditional mix of stewed vegetables, meats, and tofu (pictured above), is on the rise. Oden is particularly popular at convenience stores, where customers pick out which pieces they want and they’re then placed in a takeout container. Lawson, however, now offers discounts for oden customers who bring their own container from home.

▼ A demonstration of Lawson’s Oden Pot Discount, as the service is called

Customers who bring their own container (which must have a lid, as oden includes broth) and purchase five or more pieces of oden will receive a discount of 39 yen. While that’s not a make-or-break difference, it’s a nice proportional savings (the five pieces in the video came to 381 yen before the discount, knocked down to 342 after).

It also addresses something just a little strange about the economic logic of charging extra for plastic bags, which is that they weren’t really being given away for free in the first place. Even when no specific additional charge for a bag was tacked on to the bill, stores still had to spend money to produce the bags, and that expense got bundled into their total operating costs, which stores then priced their merchandise to cover. Merchandise prices have remained the same since stores have started adding specific charges for bags, though, so even if you’re doing the right thing environmentally by bringing your own reusable bag, you’re still, in essence, paying for the store’s plastic bags.

Lawson’s Oden Pot Discount, though, encourages customers to sacrifice a little convenience for the sake of the planet, but also gives them some positive reinforcement by rewarding them with an economic benefit as they reduce the store’s need to produce its own disposable takeout containers. Some online commenters have even said bringing their own pot has a nostalgic appeal, as in past generations before plastic became common Japanese people would bring their own pots to their neighborhood tofu shop when making purchases.

The Oden Pot Discount is already in effect at 30 Lawson locations in Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures of Chiba and Saitama, with the service scheduled to expand to the rest of the country starting in October.

Source: Lawson

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Lawson now giving customers who bring their own tumblers an even better discount on coffee drinks

-- How to use Japanese convenience store Lawson’s self-checkout terminals

-- Ban on free plastic forks and spoons drafted by Japan’s Ministry of Environment

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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That's a potential source for cross contamination.

I don't want my oden taken with tongs that have been in everyone else's pot nor I should hope everyone else's pot is perfectly clean.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Oden is great and easy to make at home but I hate that convenient stores sell it. It's such a pain in the first place and if someone in front of you orders Oden, it's you have to wait so much longer in line. It was much easier when they used to let customers dish it out themselves.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Look, a pack of Kools is only sanbakkyu en!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Great, less waste is a good thing but I think people are going to be way less inclined to carry a pot out with them. Lot bigger, lot more foresight required. A reusable bag you can just fold up and store in your bag in case you ever need it. But hey, if I am going out with the express intention of picking up some oden, sure why not.


Are you rubbing the tongs around the pot as you use it? I don't think I ever come in contact with the pot itself when moving things around.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I love oden, going to bring a bucket next time.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Plug it in outside, park with a beer and eat. I hope they offer free mustard.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Oh!?! So, You’re that kind of guy!! Be careful, Could lead to trouble. https://japantoday.com/category/crime/man-cooks-rice-stir-fried-noodles-in-convenience-store-parking-lot-before-starting-police-chase

@3:28pm: “Plug it in outside, park with a beer and eat. I hope they offer free mustard” -

Enjoy your oden and then, … maybe some dessert.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

At snowey. It is heated up in my RV when traveling. My driver knows all the great spots to stop to get Oden.

Nothing wrong with cooking in a convenience store lot, but use a gas cooker at least. Theft of electricity can result in criminal jailing. Your and your friends must be careful. At least post one of your girlfriends on a lookout should you use the electric outlet near the ashtray outside the conbini.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Kinyobi warned us NOT to eat the kombini oden-marinated, yude tamago. - I knew it! So that was YOU!?! (It’s a “Small World”!!) YOU had your “man Friday” hand out onigiri to those young surfers squatting outside! Truly generous! - WE were the cycling team slurping down instant hot ramen behind our ‘chase truck’ near your RV. - (Please say “Hello” next time!)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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