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At midnight on April 1, everything you can shop for in Japan got a little bit more expensive as sales tax rose to either percent. Thankfully, this three-percent hike was announced well in advance, giving consumers a chance to stockpile staples such as toilet paper, detergent, and other dry goods ahead of time.

Unfortunately, there’s one other necessary yet perishable staple of our lifestyle that we couldn’t hoard: hamburgers. With the amount we eat, that extra three percent of tax works out to a pretty hefty chunk of change.

Thankfully, at the same time as the tax increase took effect, so did a new McDonald’s Japan policy offering free double portions of pickles, onions, and sauce on the chain’s sandwiches.

Oddly enough for the company that more or less invented modern fast food marketing, McDonald’s act of generosity was implemented without any sort of fanfare. As a matter of fact, most people were completely unaware of the new policy until someone claiming to be an employee tweeted the following from his personal Twitter account on April 5.

“At McDonald’s! From 4-1! You can get things like double ketchup or double pickles, but no customers at all asked for them today.”

▼ We’re guessing nobody requested a massage, either, since that’s another thing fast food restaurants aren’t known for giving out just for the asking.

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Questions were tweeted back to the alleged worker asking if they could do the same for sandwiches with teriyaki or mayonnaise, to which he replied that customers can double up on any sauce their sandwich comes with, plus onions and pickles as well, for free. Inquiries to McDonald’s PR department (and photographic evidence from satisfied customers) have since confirmed that the information sent out by the Twitter user is legit.

▼ Double pickles

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Some have noted similarities between McDonald’s move and the long-standing policy as beef bowl restaurants in Japan that allow customers to ask for extra sauce for a stronger flavor. To get your double helping of burger fixings, all you have to do is tack one of the following phrases onto your McDonald’s order:

  • extra pickles: pikurusu oome
  • extra onions: tamanegi oome
  • extra sauce: soosu oome

▼ Unfortunately, you still can’t get beef oome for free.

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Conversely, you can also reduce the amount of each by replacing oome (extra) with sukuname (light) in any of the above phrases.

The offer is valid not only for McDonald’s more expensive items like its signature Big Mac, but also for its budget-priced sandwiches such as its 100-yen (US$0.98) hamburger, making this an easy way for starving students (and cheap Internet writers) to fill up for less.

Just remember one thing. If you’re stretching your food budget by going heavy on the pickles and onions, it might be a good idea to reinvest at least some of those savings in a pack of breath mints.

▼ To keep the fast food theme going, we recommend these cola flavored ones.

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Source: Yahoo! Japan News
Top image: 2 Chan Sokuho
Insert images: Karada Kobo, 2 Chan Sokuho, Rakuten, Eat Smart