Starbucks red cup: caffeine holder causing controversy


Jessica Pellegrino – General Assignment Reporter

To some, a cup is just a paper vessel that holds their jolt. For others, apparently, a cup could be a symbol for anarchy, and everything that is wrong with the world.

In case the media coverage was not enough, this past month, Starbucks released their annual holiday themed red cups. In the past, the cups donned snowflakes, Christmas trees and snowmen, to name a few. This year, however, the cups came in a solid red design.

And the world lost their minds.

Starbucks customers saw the simple, unadorned cups as a direct dig at Christianity. Because nothing spells Christian Christmas like snowflakes and snowmen, right?

The fight for Christmas freedom started with a disgruntled Youtube video. That video now has over 14 million views. During the holiday season, a time of family and gratitude, Americans are really fighting over a coffee cup’s decor.

Kristine Reilly, a senior, believes the cup controversy is ridiculous.

“I think the fact there is a controversy around a franchise’s choice of cup decoration is disappointing at best,” she said. “Argue all you want about America’s religious foundation, but I don’t see how this is somehow a priority. Is this really where you expect to see your God? On a cup? It’s amazing that people would rather see a message on a cup, than through acts of humanity.”

With the newest refugee crisis and worldwide poverty and war, it is hard to believe that Americans have the energy or moral integrity to fight about a cup, but the debate rages on, well into the holiday season.

Abby Shimer, a senior, believes that Starbucks is smart for not falling to the peer pressure.

“I really can’t even believe that people get so angry over a stupid cup. There’s so much more to worry about and waste time and energy on. Not to mention that’s really good of Starbucks to not only stand by their decision but to make something that doesn’t scream on religion over the other,” she said. “There’s multiple holidays in December, not just Christmas. Frankly, that’s why I go to Starbucks instead of Dunkin. They aren’t afraid to support communities and not back down when they get backlash.”

And Starbucks is doing just that. By having solely red cups, the company is making the effort to not isolate any of their customers, no matter what walk of life they come from.

Shimer said, “I do not see why people get so angry over it. I’ve seen so many videos of people antagonizing each other and forcing Starbucks employees, specifically, to say ‘Merry Christmas’ and it’s just rude. Coming from someone who works in retail, the company makes you say things in a particular way  – and even if they did not, I personally prefer Happy Holidays than Merry Christmas.”

It is not just Americans behind a computer screen who are boycotting the company. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took to Twitter to urge voters away from the company. In response to the controversy, customers have created a Twitter hashtags, appropriately stating #itsjustacup.

As the controversy continues, Starbucks has decided to keep the cups. Jeffery Fields, Starbucks vice president of Design and Content, said, “This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”

Photo Credit: Crazybananas

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