Taking mugs of mulled wine home - is that allowed or theft?

The pre-Christmas season begins and with it the Christmas markets start.

Mugs with mulled wine
© Photo by Mario Cvitkovic on Pixabay

As you stroll around the Christmas market to the tune of "Last Christmas" and "Every Year Again", you pass stalls selling wood carvings and sweets. The smell of sausages, gingerbread and mulled wine fills the air.

And that brings us to the topic. The mulled wine stands often have mugs with beautiful motifs or unusual shapes that you want to take home with you - some people even collect them. And after all, you've paid a deposit for the mug, so you've actually bought it. Or did you?

Unfortunately, this is a misconception. You only buy the contents of the cup. The cup itself is lent to you for the time of drinking and remains the property of the stand owner.

Although pocketing the cup is not theft, it is considered embezzlement. However, as the cup is only a low-value item, embezzlement will only be prosecuted at the request of the injured party. Even if the stall operator pressed charges, the public prosecutor's office would probably drop the case on the grounds of insignificance.

It is best to simply ask the stall operator if you can take the cup home with you. Then you are on the safe side.