Tempers flared and police had to be called in as anxious Singaporeans rushed to McDonald's outlets to buy Hello Kitty plush toys being sold as a promotion.
Hundreds began queueing on Wednesday night to get a kitten in a skeleton outfit, depicting a character from the German fairy tale The Singing Bone. It was the last of a series of six limited-edition Hello Kitty characters in different outfits from fairy tales being sold this month.
In some outlets, chaos broke out amid rampant queue-jumping as supplies ran out soon after the stores opened yesterday.
One video uploaded on YouTube showed police officers mediating between two customers in front of a McDonald's counter.
Another showed an irate man asking an agitated crowd "Is he Singaporean? Is he educated?", in reference to someone who got a queue ticket ahead of others.
Some customers took to Facebook to register their anger after they went home empty-handed, while others immediately put the toys, sold for S$4.60 (HK$28) with set meals, up for sale online at far higher prices.
Some Singaporeans are obsessed with completing the entire collection. "This is absolutely ruining the Singapore reputation. Poor management and irresponsible," wrote Catherine Ong on McDonald's Singapore's Facebook page. Others voiced their annoyance at compatriots who had let their Hello Kitty mania run out of control.
Singapore last went into a Hello Kitty frenzy in 2000, when McDonald's sold a series of the toys in wedding outfits to usher in the new millennium.
Hello Kitty, which started in 1974 in Japan as a moon-faced cartoon cat on a coin purse, has developed into a global cultural phenomenon. Kitty mania is also well established in Hong Kong, where men and women queue for hours at McDonald's outlets during promotional schemes.