No, I am not above discussing the Unicorn Frappuccino

If you can say nothing else about the Starbucks, it’s that the corporation sure knows how to market itself.

Whether it’s an attempt to single-handedly solve racism, or to avoid political incorrectness during the holiday season, it seems as if once a year the company makes huge waves with one of its marketing decisions.

This time? The now famous Unicorn Frappuccino.

For those people who can sometimes be late to the social media meme brigade — and especially those who don’t frequent Starbucks – than the fleeting craze of the Unicorn Frappuccino likely came and went without creating the slightest disturbance in your life.

The drink was only available for five days, beginning last Wednesday. So If you wanted to run out and grab one after reading this, you’re tough out of luck.

The vibrantly colorful drink was unique for its sweet and sour taste, as well as its look — like cotton candy on steroids.

Unicorn frap

But what Starbucks keenly understood was that this drink would not just dazzle its consumers within the short time period it took them to drink it, but that they would inevitably document their colorful purchase on Instagram.

Because people love to take a breather during their hectic day, order a coffee with their name written on it, and aesthetically frame it within a photograph on their Instagram page. The Starbucks coffee photo, usually coupled with an open book, kindle or laptop, has become the trademark image of tranquility among young professionals.

Now take that vintage photo and transform that drink from a plain white cup into a tie-dyed creamy slop? Well, that’s the type of stuff that Instagram filters were made for. Starbucks knew: if you Unicorn, photos will come.

The masses saw unicorns. Starbucks saw dollar signs and endless publicity on an app that appeals directly to their target demographic.

And that they did. In a single week, the drink generated more than 180,000 hits on Instagram.

We were all used as marketing tools. And we willingly obliged.

But the popularity of the 410-calorie grande-sized drink may cause other coffeehouses to rethink their strategies. Combine a colorful drink with a mythical creature and you might very well strike gold.

The Loch Ness Latte? The Mermaid Macchiato? The Elfspresso?

For the record, I did not try the drink, as I didn’t even set foot in a Starbucks over that five-day span. But part of me sort of regrets it. I’m genuinely curious what it would have tasted like. Although by doing so, I would have immediately felt guilty.

Because while it was certainly a fun week for coffee drinkers, it was the equivalent of fraternity pledge week for baristas, who found themselves making hundreds of the complicated and messy drink per day, resulting in them leaving their coffeehouses each night looking like a Care Bear threw up on them.

I’m actually going to go ahead and trademark the Elfspresso® right now because that is totally something Starbucks would do.

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There’s many reasons to hate Starbucks, but these red holiday cups are not one of them

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.

Starbucks holiday cupsI 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.

Starbucks’ epic fail, and even more reason to never want to go to Utah

Race together.

Those were the words Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz encouraged his baristas to write on customers’ cups last week in an attempt to open a dialogue about race inside of his coffeehouses.

After facing severe criticism, Starbucks ended the campaign on Sunday, allowing its employees to go back to their usual method of misspelling all of its customers’ names. They probably would have screwed up “Race Together,” too, and instead wrote something like Run Tomorrow. Or Rough Tomato. Or Roman Tomahawk.

The backlash centered on the fact that nobody wants to be schooled about racial equality while waiting on line for their $4.50 coffee at 7:30 in the morning. It’s a bit of an ostentatious thought that Schultz believed his corporation is powerful enough to become a pioneer on race relations by simply writing two words on a cup.

Race togetherI find the whole thing ironic, and not because of an unequal distribution of the skin colors of its patrons, but because there might be no greater haven of racism than inside of a Starbucks.

Think about it. When have you ever walked into one of their coffee shops, marched right to the counter, ordered your drink, received it within seconds, and left happily?

Instead, a visit is more likely to involve a several-minute wait while some dude orders eight coffees for his entire office. After that, your order will either be completely wrong, at worst, or amiss just enough to piss you off, at best — seriously, “room for milk” means that I would like to put more than a single drop of milk inside my coffee.

Since there’s nothing worse in life than waiting on a line, there is a furor of hatred boiling in every single person’s mind while they wait their turn. They may not look it on the surface, but inside, they’re shouting obscenities, profanities, and just straight verbally abusing everybody that’s in front of them.

And because it’s all internal, then people have no reason to filter their thoughts to exclude racism. Therefore, you will not find a more racist group of people in any given two block radius than inside of a Starbucks. And I say that because there is a Starbucks within every two blocks.

So yes, let’s race together — whatever the hell that means — just not inside of a Starbucks.

Speaking of racial diversity: Utah.

Also known as the land of Mormons, Mitt Romney and for being a short road trip away from Las Vegas.

Oh, and one more thing — firing squads. firing squad

Utah is one of 32 states that allows the death penalty. As a further assurance to enforce this punishment, Governor Gary Herbert signed a law on Monday approving the use of a firing squad when no drugs are available, something that no other state does.

Following their lead, Minnesota just approved death by hanging, Georgia brought back the guillotine, and Maine legalized the Hunger Games.

Does Utah consider it that much of a priority to eliminate their deadliest criminals that they felt compelled to channel the year 1942? It’s such an antiquated practice that if you search “firing squad” on Google images, nine of 10 results are in black and white.

This is 2015. Liberals are calling for the complete eradication of guns, and yet, Utah just turned their state into the final scene of Paths of Glory. Bit of a spoiler there if you’ve never seen it.

Good luck selling tourism there, now. Maybe the Utah Jazz can be the ones to carry out the sentence. Given their ability to successfully shoot a basketball the past decade, it’s probably your best chance of living.

Utah jokes are way too easy.

I’m just firing them off, one by one.

We get it — Starbucks can’t spell

Unless you’re among the .02 percent of the human population that doesn’t drink coffee, then you’re well aware that Starbucks employees request your name after you order. They then write your name on the cup that will soon be filled with your hot or cold beverage of choice.

You’re probably also aware that they sometimes spell names incorrectly. It’s understandable — names can be confusing. Parents like be to unique when giving names. It happens.

But in case your name is “Mike,” or “Jim,” or one that almost never gets misspelled — then you’re probably familiar with this concept Starbucksbecause of Instagram or Facebook.

People have a fixation with letting people know on social media when Starbucks spells their name wrong.

The post: “Nice job, Starbucks! Way to spell my name right! [includes picture of cup with misspelled name]

Or: “Never seen my name spelled this way before. Thanks Starbucks! [includes picture of cup with misspelled name]”

For whatever reason, people are highly entertained by this. It’s like they’ve never seen their name written down before, and are appalled when it’s not done correctly. As if the Starbucks employees should have done their due diligence and looked up your Facebook page to learn how to properly spell it before writing it down.

But I don’t really know what people expect. They’re baristas. They mix coffee drinks to make some side cash during college. They’re not the wiz kids you see in the Scripps National Spelling Bee every year spelling words like philodendron or asceticism.

And why do you feel obligated to post a picture? It is for proof? It’s not a very far-fetched tale to say that a barista spelled your name wrong. I don’t need photographic evidence.

If anything, I wouldn’t be surprised if Starbucks’ corporate headquarters tells their employees to intentionally spell people’s names wrong. Because it’s amazing — and free — publicity. By spelling a name incorrectly, the person then will upload it to their hundreds of followers on Instagram and/or Facebook, and just like that, a bunch of them are craving Starbucks.

It’s a brilliant marketing strategy.

My first thought when I see some one make a post like this on social media is to laugh. Not because of how their name was spelled, but I’m laughing at the fact that they just spent $4.75 on a latte.

Seriously, people fail to realize how much money they spend per year on specialty drinks at Starbucks, just because they need to have their cinnamon dolce, or their pumpkin spice. Whatever happened to just drinking regular coffee?

Maybe I’m just bitter because I have a common name that is hard to misspell.

I think I’m going to change my name to Salvatore, or something.

Watch out Starbucks, I’m coming in hot!