New Starbucks Cup

Exploring the Hype Over the New Starbucks Cup

Facebook blew up with furious complaints over Starbucks’ freshly released green “unity cup.” While Starbucks’ Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said the design’s mosaic of more than 100 people drawn together in a single stroke was meant to “create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other,” my Facebook friends, and many people across all platforms of social media, did not feel the same.

One Facebook friend posted,

“Right before the holidays? It’s November third! People need to relax. Seriously, it’s just a cup.” Another said, “Please tell me what a green cup has to do with politics. People will read into anything just to find something to be angry about.”

 This new cup has been causing quite a divide amongst coffee drinkers and we’re all wondering why. Why are these new cups such a big deal for people?

Mirta Barrea-Marlys, Department Chair of World Languages and Cultures, said, “I actually like the cup! Starbucks is an international icon when it comes to coffee, serving millions of people across the world. It makes sense that the company would make a diverse and eclectic cup for their customers as a symbol of unity and peace.”

Our world is such a diverse place and the green cup promotes unity. Barrea-Marlys explained, “After all, what brings people together more than having a cup of coffee? Some people may complain, but after all, it is what is in the cup that matters. The packaging won’t change the taste of the coffee, but it sure makes your cappuccino much more interesting to look at!”

Barrea-Maryls’ views go along with what Starbucks was trying to promote. CBS reported, “Starbucks assures customers they are not pushing a ‘political agenda,’ but rather a promotion of peace.” In this same article a tweet from a former customer was printed saying, “Screw you. My coffee should NOT (and does NOT) come with political brainwashing. I dropped @Starbucks like a hot rock.” It’s unbelievable to see how a mere cup can instill rage across the nation. 

Many naysayers were unaware that the unity cup as not the new holiday season cup, a yearly topic of rage for Starbucks customers as well. Last year’s debate on if Starbucks’ simple red design was an attack on Christmas  also made it all over the news.

The Babylon Bee, a satirical website, poked some fun at the situation by posting an article entitled “Starbucks Unveils New Satanic Holidays Cups,” which claimed, “Christian groups expressed concern over the new design, but many believers were reportedly relieved that Starbucks was not promoting something like unity or tolerance with this year’s cup design.” This quote points out some of the hypocrisy in peoples’ distaste in the unity cup design.

Kelly Currie, a senior art student and former Starbucks employee, said, “Starbucks is their own company and therefore has the right to put out any type of cup they want. I remember when I was working there, so many customers were so pretentious and particular about their coffee in general; it doesn’t surprise me that they would be offended by this cup for no real reason.”

Similarly, Dave DePaola, a senior music industry and business management student said, “Businesses can do whatever they want, and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to do business there. I believe businesses are going to try and promote themselves in ways that do not cause controversy as to not lose customers over politics.”

DePaola added, “The division being created by the ‘unity cup’ is nonsense; it is just a cup and says nothing political.”

Barrea-Maryls commented, “I don’t see it as a political statement at all, as some have expressed, but rather as an expression of good will to all on the part of the company for the holiday season.”

At the end of the day, people will find something to criticize even off of a design about peace and unity during a time where an election has torn many people apart. We all need to take a step back and realize these cups are disposable items we toss as soon as we finish our grande lattes, and then we don’t give them a second thought. So, take a sip out of the green unity cup, and prepare yourself for the outbursts you’ll probably see on your Facebook feed as soon as the new holiday cups roll around.