Starbucks starts frenzy over new holiday cups

Starbucks opts for plain, red holiday cups. (AP Photo)
Starbucks opts for plain, red holiday cups. (AP Photo)

By Chelsea LoCascio
Opinions Editor

Starbucks stole Christmas this year. The coffee company has changed its famous Christmas cups to just plain red. According to their website, Starbucks’ holiday cups aren’t just red, but an ombré that starts with a bright red that fades into a darker cranberry. As if this makes anything different, but, according to Starbucks, it does.

“The ombré creates a distinctive dimension, fluidity and weightedness,” said  Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks’ vice president of design and content. Apparently, Starbucks was just trying to be artsy by simplifying the design this year as well as encouraging its customers to draw designs on the cups themselves to promote individual creativity. I think Starbucks is a little too hopeful as I do not, nor does anyone I know, dedicate time to drawing on its cups. We care more about what’s in the cup rather than what’s on it.

Evidently, not everyone agrees considering the pandemonium that broke out after Starbucks released its cups for the holiday season. At this point, you’re probably tired of talking or hearing about Starbucks’ decision to change its cups from Christmas-themed to just red, but an important lesson can be taken away from all of this.

Last week, a feud broke out over Twitter where people were showing their support of boycotting Starbucks because they thought the coffee company was becoming too politically correct. Some people decided to not boycott the store, but instead start a movement using the cup itself.

On Twitter, Joshua Feuerstein, a former television and radio evangelist and now social media personality, posted a video calling on his fellow Christians to “trick Starbucks” into saying “Merry Christmas” by telling employees that their name is Merry Christmas, sparking the #MerryChristmasStarbucks trend. You really showed those slow-witted Starbucks employees, Feuerstein.

“Do you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their brand new cups?” Feuerstein said. First, Christ was never on the cups, and second, there was never anything inherently Christian on them. It was just vaguely Christmas-y, with drawings of things like reindeer or ornaments, said Starbucks.

“Do you realize that Starbucks isn’t allowed to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to customers?” Feuerstein said. That’s just simply not true. According to The Atlantic, a Starbucks spokesperson said in an email that the baristas “are not provided a script or a policy around greeting customers. They are simply encouraged to create a welcoming environment to delight each person who walks through our doors.” Sorry to spoil the fun, but anyone who thought they outsmarted Starbucks by smugly claiming their name was Merry Christmas didn’t accomplish much.

Starting a religion war is so common now when it comes to social media trends. Issues that have little to do with religion become about just that. After all, this is originally just about a cup of coffee and the packaging it comes in. The diehard Christians were denouncing the devil that is in charge of Starbucks’ cup design whereas the reasonable Christians and non-Christians were saying how great it was that the company was being so inclusive of all faiths. I even overheard some Jewish people joke that the world would have ended if they had made the cups white and blue, which could be why Howard Schultz, the Jewish CEO of Starbucks, has avoided that altogether.

Luckily, not all religious folk were losing their minds over this travesty. William Vanderbloemen, a contributor to Forbes, said how, as a devout Christian, he knows that the issue is not the cups, but that religious people can be slow to accept change. He also mentions how the cups of the past had little to do with the story of Jesus’ birth and Christians should embrace change.

“If you consider the story of Christmas, adapting to change is wrapped throughout its narrative: an unexpected pregnancy, a quick marriage and a move to a makeshift labor and delivery room in a manger. Likewise, the core of faith is all about being adaptable and providing solutions to unsolvable problems,” Vanderbloemen said, hoping to encourage his fellow Christians to use the teachings of their religion to adapt to new situations.

Issues that become religious inevitably transition into people seeing everything through a political lens: those damn liberals and their crybaby political correctness or those jerk conservatives and their close-mindedness. Why does it always have to become political?

The sad truth is that this has nothing to do with religion or politics and everyone made this argument bigger than necessary. Regardless of how you feel toward the cups, one thing is for sure — Starbucks just got some major publicity and sale boosts from this. The lesson to take away is that by reading this, as well as talking about Starbucks’ coffee and controversial cups, made you want to go to your local Starbucks and fork over $5 for a cup for yourself — making Starbucks the real victor.

Students share opinions around campus

Farihah Shameem, freshman biology major.
Farihah Shameem, freshman biology major.

“It personally didn’t affect me. I enjoyed when they looked more holiday(-themed). It doesn’t bother me as much.”

 

Emilie Kim, junior Spanish and biology double major.
Emilie Kim, junior Spanish and biology double major.

“I don’t think it should offend (people) to be politically correct and inclusive… We need to be more inclusive (and) we’re missing the bigger issues.”

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