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What’s Up with Starbucks’ Green Cups?

Last week, if you went into a Starbucks, your coffee, tea or hot chocolate likely came in a green cup. People were freaking out, wondering why Starbucks’ holiday cups were green instead of their usual red. Part of the cup’s design includes drawings of people, and some were shocked that they did not include religious figures.

For the past few years, Starbucks cups have caused controversy. Last year and the year before, the cups were plain red—no wintery designs like the cups of prior years. When they had the designs, people complained that they were “too Christmasy.” But when there weren’t any designs, they were “too boring.” And now green cups have confused everyone; just why were they green? Why aren’t they green anymore?


I went into a Starbucks and the barista told me that these were not the holiday cups. They were simply meant to create unity the week before the presidential election. I think it’s a nice idea; it’s inclusive, secular and not offensive in any way. However, in such a stressful time, I feel it is unfortunate that many people did not recognize this message. I wasn’t sure exactly what the green cups meant, or what they were, but I could tell they spread a nice message and with a really nice design.

I am very sad that a cup could create such controversy when there were so many larger issues that we should have been worrying about. People were busy getting annoyed over the cups, but they had no idea Trump would win the election. There are protests about the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, and people still got annoyed about cups. These cups were meant to create unity, not inspire arguments.

I don’t understand why these cups have such a pattern of creating dissent. Even though it’s not an extreme issue, even the little things count, and in a small way this contributes to the conflicts going on in our country. I think it’s so sad that something meant to create unity and kindness pulled people apart. The cup controversy reveals that there is so much dissent in this country that people get upset over something so small and well-intentioned.

The holiday cups, which were released on November 10, are red, but they have several different designs—designs that people invented and drew by hand. This is Starbucks’ most inclusive, kind and creative effort yet, and I admire this immensely.  


Charlotty Herman is a freshman journalism student at Emerson College. She was an editor on her high school's yearbook staff and over the summer, she had an internship with the Reboot Fellows. As well as journalism, she is passionate about the Spanish language, which she has been taking for seven years now. She loves Boston, and when not in class, she enjoys creative writing, fashion, and drinking coffee.
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