I personally don’t care what Starbucks does or doesn’t put on their ridiculously overpriced coffee cups (although I firmly believe that if you’re paying 7 bucks for coffee you should be able to design your own cup from the Starbuck’s app while waiting in line). But I have an imagination that gets out of hand sometimes (especially when I’m sitting in a coffee shop pretending to work on my #Nanowrimo novel), and I think I’ve figured out why Starbuck’s went with the plain red cup last year, and the green cup with faces this year. Here’s how I picture the decision playing out:
Starbuck’s Marketer 1: How about a Christmas tree?
Starbuck’s Marketer 2: Ooh, no-can-do, our research shows some whiny butts might get offended.
1st Marketer: By what? It’s a Christmas tree.
2nd Marketer: Exactly! A CHRISTMAS tree. People who don’t celebrate Christmas could get offended if they’re also whinybutts.
1st Marketer: Okay, uh, what about a reindeer?
2nd Marketer: Might offend non-religious people. I mean, it’s Santa’s reindeer.
Marketer 1: Santa’s a religious figure?
Marketer 2: He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good and will punish or reward you accordingly. ..
Marketer 1: Holy crap, Santa is an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful higher power. That would be worse PR than putting Jesus on our cups! Okay, how about a wreath?
Marketer 2: Might offend the tree-huggers, damaging a tree just to make a wreath.
Marketer 1: Will it offend them more than a disposable paper cup?
Marketer 2: That’s a recyclable paper cup, and who knows? Anyway, the eco nuts would hate the Christmas tree, too.
Marketer 1: Snowman?
Marketer 2: Feminists might be offended by a snowMAN.
Marketer 1: Then a snowwoman!
Marketer 2: If we draw a snowman with boobs, some people might be offended. They’ll say it’s not anatomically correct, or we’re objectifying women, or—
Marketer 1: Can we just tell people to bring their own cups and add a “green” surcharge?
Marketer 2: Wait, I have the solution! A plain red cup with nothing on it but our logo! That can’t possibly offend anyone, even the whinybutts!
Murphy’s Law: Hahahaha!!!
Marketer 1: Well, we tried a plain red cup last year and still managed to offend people.
Marketer 2: What if we do a green cup this year?
Marketer 1: Well, okay, but it can’t be a plain cup. That pissed off the whinybutts last year.
Marketer 2: What was wrong with Santa?
Marketer 1: All-seeing, all-knowing, omnipotent guy who punishes the bad and rewards the good.
Marketer 2: Okay, right. How about a candy cane?
Marketer 1: A candy cane? Don’t you think we’ll offend the disabled?
Marketer 2: Okay, those round peppermint candies that taste exactly like candy canes but aren’t cane-shaped!
Marketer 1: We take so much crap already for some of our drinks having more sugar than a king-size Milky Way.
Marketer 2: Okay, what if we just put a bunch of little faces on the cup, we could show people of all ages and races and genders getting along and working together. It would be totally inclusive of everyone.
Murphy’s Law: HAHAHAHA!