A week or so ago, a friend living in London (Claudia!) changed her Facebook status update to report her excitement at enjoying the season’s first red cup, gingerbread latte from Starbucks.
Those marketing geniuses at Starbucks, sure came up with a winner when they conjured up the lovely red cardboard cup that’s only available during the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s season; filled with overpriced seasonal coffee beverages.
I didn’t think anything of my friend’s reminder that it was red cup season, since I’m not visiting Starbucks much these days. And the mere thought of an eggnog or gingerbread latte makes me queasy. Ditto for the peppermint mochas.
But my better half somehow latched on to the idea that the Starbucks outlets in Canada don’t use the red cups. He returned from a few solitary hours at the bookstore with a Starbucks cup in his hand. ‘I don’t think they have the red cups here,’ he declared. ‘Of course they do,’ I countered. ‘If they have them in London, they must have them here.’ ‘No, I don’t think so,’ he challenged me.
‘Well, maybe since that was a Starbucks in a bookstore, they don’t have the red cups,’ I reasoned.
On Wednesday night he returned from running errands with another Starbucks cup. A white cup with the green, white and black logo. ‘No red cup?’ I asked, since he’d gone to a real Starbucks – not one in a bookstore. ‘Nope’ he replied triumphantly. Pleased that he’d been right.
So today I decided to stop at Starbucks during a solitary run to the grocery store. I decided I was going to interrogate the barista as to why Starbucks in Canada do not serve drinks in red cups during the holiday season. Is there some sort of weird cultural association with drinking coffee out of a red cup? Why would they not follow this particular aspect of Starbucks protocol? They serve those stale, cold Top Pot doughnuts, for pete’s sake! I even considered writing a letter to Starbucks headquarters. [And a letter to Target while I’m at it, to figure out why in the world there is not a Target in Canada.]
I parked my car and walked into the Starbucks. The place was filled with red and green holiday decorations. Mass-produced merchandise lined the perimeter of the store – cup ornaments, gift boxes, gift cards, and CD’s.
And red cups.