I’ll be the first to admit that hating on Starbucks is fun. And not just a little fun. A lot of fun.
With their steep prices, pretentious use of a foreign language to identify drink sizes, and overall precocious ambiance inside each and every one of their coffeehouses, the Seattle-based corporate giant is an easy target. Especially when they misspell your name on your cup.
And speaking of which, how can we forget their absurdly overambitious attempt earlier this year to change race relations in America by simply writing “Race Together” on cups?
I think what pissed people off most about that campaign was Starbucks’ implied assumption that it is important and relevant enough in our culture that it can effect change that easily.
Whereas Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had to be joined by thousands of Americans in 1963 for the famous March on Washington to advocate for equality, Starbucks thought it could be accomplished by writing letters on a coffee cup.
But I digress.
I can’t be too hypocritical, either. Because although I prefer to purchase my morning coffee from local bagel shops, since they always brew it the best, one of my favorite weekend hobbies is sitting in a Starbucks and reading for a couple of hours. It’s oddly calming. Also it’s a good way to track the hotties in your neighborhood. Did I really just use the word hotties?
Anyway, people are mad at Starbucks for something else. And this time, I can’t really jump on board. Those who ordered one of the company’s seasonal holiday drinks lately may have noticed that they were prepared and delivered to you in a plain red cup.
They’re void of any seasonal decoration: no snowflakes, no reindeer, no snowmen or Christmas tree ornaments. Just red.
Some complain that Starbucks is being too politically correct, not wanting to convey bias towards their Jewish or Catholic customers. (Or those who celebrate Kwanza. LOL, just kidding, that’s obviously not a real holiday.)
Starbucks’ explanation? The plain red cups — which they already described as “iconic” — are a symbol of their coffeehouses’ simplicity and quietness. They’re “a sanctuary” during the holidays, Starbucks said, and want the red cup to represent a blank canvas for their customers’ creative doodling.
Seriously, can Starbucks say anything without sounding like pompous toolbags?
Nonetheless, the outcry is silly. It’s faux outrage. Anger for the sake of anger.
If people actually harnessed their angst for this trivial detail towards something meaningful, like the Syrian refugee crisis, or the transformation from military oppression to Democratic rule in Myanmar, imagine the global light we can actually shed on topics that matter?
Or perhaps I favor the design because it reminds me of a red Solo cup, thus bringing me back to my college glory days playing beer pong.
I may not have ended up with a high GPA or even a useful degree, but gosh darn it, hand me a ping pong ball and put me in front of a folding table and I am the second coming of Jesus.