Sunday, November 15, 2015

Much Ado About A Red Cup

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last week or so, you've no doubt heard that Starbucks new holiday cup for the 2015 season seems to be going over like a lump of coal. In the past, the coffee giant has offered a variety of designs to celebrate the festive season. This year, the design is a simple red cup with the chain's logo on it. No snowflakes, snowmen, trees or other holiday symbols.

For the record, I don't even drink coffee and can almost count on one hand the number of times I've even splurged or been treated to one of Starbucks other overpriced beverages. Truth is, I rarely go to "coffee shops" of any kind. I have more important, life sustaining things to spend my limited finances on. That being said, I know a number of people who make an almost daily pilgrimage to a Starbucks or a Tim Horton's for their java fix.

The loudest outcry against the simple design that Starbucks has introduced seems to be coming from those who are devout Christians. For some reason, they feel that this is corporate America and political correctness trying to ban their holiday traditions and religious freedoms.

Despite what many of the "offended" want to believe - let alone acknowledge - is that there is more than one religion and a number of those religions also have major celebrations that often overlap with the Christian observance of Christmas.

Regardless of your religious beliefs - or lack thereof - the holiday season is supposed to be about love, peace and giving.  Yet, many Christians have chosen to get their knickers in a knot over an apparent blocking of their religious beliefs. Even some Christmas traditionalists are crying foul over the lack of symbolism. People are screaming from the top of their lungs - and their social media pages - about the supposed slap in the face from Starbucks for removing "holiday symbols" from their coffee cups. They've deemed this a "War On Christmas".


Here's the deal people. IF you can afford the beverages at Starbucks you are better off financially than many people in this world. If you are offended that Starbucks is now offering a simple red cup that doesn't acknowledge your specific holiday beliefs and traditions then you need to find a way to be more accepting and tolerant of other religions and beliefs. Despite what you may want to believe, this time of year is a celebration for many religions. It ISN'T all about you and your beliefs.

Not to mention, that a red cup from a mega corporation that doesn't feature "your" particular holiday themes is a pretty minor thing to complain about in the grand scheme of life!

There are millions of people in this world who are homeless. Millions who are risking their lives fleeing from war torn countries. Millions who don't even have clean, safe water to drink.

I highly doubt that many of them would gripe about the type of cup their beverage was served in. They'd more likely just be grateful for the beverage within,

Expressing your religious views through your own decorations is entirely within your rights. Implying that your personal beliefs are more important than others is just selfish and inconsiderate.

Complaining because a company chooses to be more inclusive and tolerant of other peoples beliefs than what you are willing to acknowledge is just plain ignorant and intolerant on your part.

Luckily, for the majority of (Starbucks) complainers, you live in countries with countless options of where to get your beverages. If you want your overpriced beverages in a holiday themed cup then buy a thermal or reusable cup with the symbols on it and - if you must - parade it in front of all those who choose to be more tolerant and accepting of other peoples beliefs or those who have other beliefs.

Slowly sip your beverage while sitting atop your self-righteous high horse.

Then, try taking a careful step down from your pious perch and think about just how truly fortunate you are.

You have to make a choice. The taste of your beverage or how it is served. You have choices in beverages, where to obtain them and how they are served to you.

If you still feel the need to complain then perhaps you could try a different approach.

Buy your coffee somewhere else. There are any number of other places to buy your pricy drinks. Though not as pricy or as diverse in choices and varieties, you could buy a beverage at Dunkin' Donuts as they have introduced a holiday themed cup for this season with the word "Joy" on it.

What's that? Dunkin' isn't up to your standards? Then why not skip the big chains and support a local coffee shop? Some of those independent or local chains serve some rather fancy brews. Not to mention that supporting small businesses is good for the local economy.

Better yet, make it at home and carry a more environmentally friendly thermal mug. With all the varieties of coffees and coffee makers on the market, surely there must be at least one that could help sustain your caffeine fix!

Purchasing your beverages at another business or making it at home probably won't make a big difference to Starbucks bank account. However, the money you save will add up and can - no, should be used to help others less fortunate than yourself.

The money you save can be donated to a homeless shelter, a food bank, a toy drive for under privileged kids or any number of other worthy charities. No doubt they would be truly grateful to accept your donations.

BTW, your coffee cup protest may also create a side benefit! By not purchasing those expensive blends you may also cut back on a few calories! A regular cup of coffee - even with a bit of cream and sugar isn't nearly as high in calories as the specialty concoctions! That is, assuming you can also resist all the donuts, muffins, shortbread and other holiday treats that are often served alongside those beverages! A refillable bottle of water and some fresh fruit would save even more money and calories but that would probably be asking most of you for too much saving and giving!

As I said, the choice of how and where to obtain your beverages is up to you.

Personally, I don't believe there is a war on Christmas.

Declaring a war on anything is NOT the answer.

I believe that we need to find ways to work together. We need to find ways to bring cultures and religions together without killing each other in the process. We need to make a conscious effort to learn about other people's beliefs and cultures. We need to find ways to be more tolerant of our differences and more accepting of those who don't have the same beliefs.

Respect, understanding, acceptance, inclusiveness, tolerance and love should be our goals. It is the only way we will ever bring peace to this sorely troubled world.


1 comment:

colleen Walker said...

great post dn. i agree with you totally. i looked up the page of the guy whose "merry christmas"/red cup video went viral and he seems to be some kind of fanatic spreading dangerous hateful propaganda. it's quite amazing how a brand like starbucks can become so popular. there was a lovely cafe below my husband's office that sold homemade albanian pastries, good coffee, and pleasant seating at very reasonable prices. well they didn't last very long, yet the starbucks that opened further up the street on a busy corner, in a small strip mall, with very little parking is packed every single day. side note: the owners of the cafe below hubby's office have sold the space to a portugese bakery (can hardly wait for it to open) and the lady who immigrated with her family from albania was a lawyer over there, has been working for hubby's firm and at the same time getting her masters degree in law, and is now articling with them. she is very fortunate the cafe just happened to be below a law office.

it's hard to believe, well maybe not so hard, to see all the people that agreed with that guy who posted the video...he was actually encouraging people to start a "movement" by taking a selfie at a starbucks with "merry christmas" written on the cup. so childish and for an adult, idiotic. and to top it off, he showed his gun. you made some excellent points about people that can afford to buy a coffee at starbucks and comparing them to homeless people or those on a budget. such a trivial complaint that doesn't even make sense. thanks for posting.