Japan’s new two-track tax system for food and beverages is proving tough to swallow for many retailers one month after it was introduced.
Convenience stores, coffee shops and shops in department stores’ basement food courts have all voiced frustration over the system.
They are complaining that while the tax rate for food and beverages to take home remains at 8 percent, the rate for food and beverages consumed at stores’ eating spaces was raised to 10 percent.
Whether out of ignorance of the tax difference or intent to cheat the system, some customers buy food or beverages at the 8 percent rate for takeout but consume them on the premises, which falls under the 10 percent rate, without telling staff they plan to do so.
The behavior has spawned the new catchphrase, "tax dodging in eating spaces."
After the new tax system was introduced in October, Doutor Coffee Co., which operates about 1,100 outlets nationwide, began pasting "Eat In" seals on its paper cups when customers choose to drink these inside.
Paper cups are usually for drinks to go.
"We did it so customers won’t feel uncomfortable using a paper cup inside our stores," a Doutor Coffee public relations official said.
to beat something：動詞，搶在…之前，對…採取預防措施，避免。例句：She tried to beat the traffic by leaving early in the morning.（她一早提早離開以免塞車。）
tough/hard to swallow：慣用語，難以置信或接受。例句：I found your story rather hard to swallow.（我覺得你的故事令人難以置信。）