What’s in a Cup: An Ode to the Famous Red Starbucks Cup

I love the holidays — the classic movie specials, the holiday music and who can forget the wonderful food. I even love the fabulous drinks that franchises such as Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks ring out at this time of year. Nothing warms my body more than a good cup of joe in the morning, some hot chocolate at noon finished with a warm cup of peppermint tea. I don’t usually get a chance to try all of the seasonal drinks Starbucks has to offer, but this year I thought I would give them a try.

I walked up to the building that seemed to be a bit out of place in this small city. The franchise was placed in between Rite Aid and some other local shops. The building’s location reminded me of a small lonely child starting their first day in a new school. I noticed that the line was abnormally long. I looked down at my iPhone as the time read 2:15 p.m. It was way past the lunch rush. It didn’t make sense. Then I noticed a group of girls taking pictures with their cups. I brushed it off as a typical millennial hobby until I heard her speak to the cashier. “Um, how come I didn’t get one of the holiday cups?” she says. The cashier, as kind as she could, explained to the woman there weren’t any available. The cup in her hand was a crimson red color with the classic Starbucks logo over it. The woman was furious. She argued she received a defected cup and wanted a redo on her drink in a brand new one. The manager came out and tried to ease the situation. In the end, the woman left tossing her drink in the trash on her way out. Before she left, I heard her say, “What’s the point of a holiday drink if it’s not in Christmas cup?”

This angered me for a number of reasons. For one, the customer made a huge deal over a drink she never tasted. Secondly, I had to wait an extra 30 minutes before I could receive my peppermint mocha with skim milk. However, the commotion of this cup didn’t stop there. Days later, people across the internet were blowing up my news feeds with opinions about Starbucks’s new cup design. People couldn’t get over how unthematic the cups were. The biggest claim was that the cup’s new design made Starbucks seem anti-Christmas.

Starbucks holiday cups have never been tied to one religion. In fact, the only things that they have been promoting over the years were snowflakes. None of the cups from 2009-2012 have ever stated Merry Christmas on them. The most that the cups have had printed on them were word like “Hope,” and “Wish” and “It only happens once a year”. None of which refer to any holiday specifically. Starbucks decided to go with a simple design this year, but maintained the color. Personally, I believe this was a great public relations stunt to prompt sales.

Before, those who generally seemed to care about their cups were loyal Starbucks customers. Since the scandal arose, the cups are being featured everywhere. People are rushing out to buy drinks just to take pictures with the “controversial” cup. I usually never buy Starbucks, but I have bought at least three drinks this month, which is three more than usual.

The uproar over this cup is seriously childish. These cups aren’t designed to be collectors’ items to hang up in trophy cases. They are cups — disposable paper cylinders that stay in your life for no more than an half an hour. There shouldn’t be articles and angry letters sent over a container holding overpriced coffee. Have we really gotten to the point in political correctness that we must be mindful to what we print onto our cups?

This whole ordeal is crazy and shouldn’t even be considered. There are far more important things we should be worried about in our society. It’s time we lay this cup thing to rest and move on to more important matters like allowing Muslim immigrants into America or figuring out how to make college free for all students. After all, it’s just a cup.

Story by Cierra Patterson

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