It’s hard not to sigh when I see another article come up on my newsfeed involving Starbucks and the particular design of their holiday cups. Two years ago in November 2015, Starbucks was under fire for changing their Christmas-patterned cups to just plain red cups. They were accused of “waging war against Christianity”, according to the multinational business magazine Fortune. This year, on Nov. 17, The Huffington Post released an article detailing the new Starbucks Scandal — and it is even more of a stretch than the last one. A recent Starbucks advertisement features a pair of women happily sharing a coffee together, in what many consumers have interpreted as an explicit endorsement of a lesbian couple, and thus the promotion of a “gay agenda.”
It should go without saying that there are more important things to worry about in our world than what’s being printed on a cup that will be crushed into a landfill when its purpose is served. Likewise, what’s being featured in an advertisement that people are just going to skip through anyway. Furthermore, during a time of year when people are preaching about “peace and goodwill to men,” it is simply ironic to start fights over the apparent “war” being raged against Christianity and the endorsement of “shameful lust,” as one Twitter user put it.
First of all, going back to November 2015, the original scandal involved Starbucks opting for a simple red coffee cup instead of their previous design, which included snowflakes, reindeer and other universally recognized symbols of Christmas. An article from CNN Money quoted Starbucks’ Vice President Jeffrey Fields as saying that Starbucks “wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.” In short, Starbucks decided to take into consideration that their diversity of consumers during the winter season might be celebrating some of the 11-plus holidays that occur around the same time as Christmas every year.
It shouldn’t take a lot to understand that Starbucks’ decision is at its most basic level, a marketing strategy. Any company wants to increase their appeal to as many customers as possible, and if a coffee cup that isn’t directly related to the single holiday of Christmas is a way to do that, then that’s what the company is going to do. However, it seems that there were some Christian “snowflakes” back in 2015 who decided to take the omission of their kind from the sides of Starbucks cups as a personal attack against them and their religion.
The past week saw a similar occurrence, but in a new and exciting two-fold form, concerning both a cup design and and the new “Giving Good Starts With You” advertisement, where the controversy began. According to an article by The Huffington Post, a Starbucks spokesperson said that the advertisement featuring the same-sex couple in question is meant to demonstrate “the connections shared by our customers with their family and friends at this time of year.” She also said that Starbucks “will continue to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in our stores around the world.”
Springboarding off of the apparently highly-offensive advertisement, some “snowflakes” made a monumental discovery — the new holiday Starbucks Coffee Cup design includes two hands holding onto each other. While it is impossible to tell whether the hands belong to two women, a man and a woman or even two men, some have come to the conclusion that based off of the advertisement, they must belong to two women, thus furthering Starbuck’s “gay agenda” during the holiday season. Grab your children and hold them close — do I smell a conspiracy? Actually, what I think I smell is people creating controversy out of thin air because they have nothing better to do this holiday season. The advertisement might be one thing to observe, although I don’t see a reason to get up-in-arms about it, but fussing about the hand-holding on the cups is completely ridiculous.
In short, I think that if people spent more time getting their Christmas shopping done early and less time creating non-existent controversies, the department stores and my newsfeed would be a lot less crowded. In all seriousness, out of all the things that one could be concerned with during the holiday season, are you really going to start a fight based on a cup or a cartoon-ish advertisement? If you really want to help your fellow man, volunteer at a homeless shelter or a food pantry, or make donations to either of those places. Contribute to Operation Christmas Child or find a local toy drive that collects gifts for children who will otherwise wake up empty-handed on Christmas morning. Don’t go to Starbucks to complain about their cups — go there to get your cup of coffee so that you can wake up, go out into the world and make someone’s life better, both during this holiday season and then throughout the new year.