PC students discuss Starbucks cup controversy

Photo by David Saveanu

Photo by David Saveanu

David Saveanu

Staff Writer

It seems that every few years, the Starbucks holiday cup, which has been around for 20 years, appears in the news. To some it’s a big deal, because it’s been such a big part of their holiday season and a tradition they may have kept up for numerous years. To others it is just another cup.

Whether it’s the holiday cup not being Christian enough, with “Christmas” replaced by “Holidays,” or it not being inclusive and sensitive to other people’s celebrations, the public tends to be very passionate about the decorated cups.

Several students at Parkland voiced the opinion that Starbucks, as a business, has the right to do whatever it wants despite their personal feelings on the subject.   

“It depends what’s on the inside,” said Trevon Aers, a Parkland student who believes Starbucks should decorate their cups however they want.

Another student, Nick Johnson described feeling conflicted, “from a business perspective, I’d say no,” in regard to them discontinuing Christmas oriented cups, “from a personal [perspective] you want to include everyone else.”

“I do go there for [the holiday cups],” Johnson confessed, even if he feels they’re not inclusive.

Another Parkland student Rose Fisk believes that Starbucks is free to do whatever it wishes as a company and if customers don’t like it they can stop purchasing their products.

“It’s a business, if people don’t like what they’re doing, don’t patronize,” Fisk said.

Fisk also said that she believes Christmas and the ideas that come with it have moved away from being a religious holiday and towards a modern trend.

“These days I feel it’s just trendy,” Fisk said.

Christmas as a trend is especially apparent in other countries where the religious aspect is not focused on according to Fisk.

“Years ago, I lived in Japan as an exchange student and there’s not a big Christian based population over there, [but] they decorate with Christmas trees they have all these Christmas things. The department stores go all out, but my fellow classmates, the Japanese students there, they couldn’t tell you a religious basis or anything behind it. ‘Oh it’s a Christmas tree,’ or ‘oh we have Santa.’”

Many companies joined in on the modern trend, including Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s, all presenting their drinks in holiday decorated cups.

After backlash for not being sensitive to other religions two years ago, the company decided to make the holiday cups simply red which didn’t imply a celebration of any specific holiday. Last year and this year, the Christmas themed cups returned and in a video debuting this year’s cups, Starbucks said “the holidays mean something different to everyone,” followed by animations of a diverse group of people enjoying the holidays.

Starbucks was trying to portray the holiday they’re displaying on their cup, with Christmas trees, doves, and presents, is one for all regardless of who you are, because “how you make it special is up to you.”

Some students said that it would be impossible for Starbucks to be sensitive to every opinion.

“We live in a country where everybody comes from different places. I think if people or businesses, if we’re talking about just Starbucks, can’t be a perfect model for absolutely every opinion that’s out there,” Kelsey Angel said.

“I feel that inclusion is important, but you can’t make everyone happy,” Angel said. “I think it’s good to stick with you[r] values and the people who support you will continue to support you.”

Another student, Tibi Kabore had an idea about how keep the beloved cups, while also being sensitive to holidays others celebrate.

“I think it’s about the context, it’s almost December. They [make holiday cups] to please people who celebrate Christmas. I don’t think this is offens[ive] to people who don’t celebrate Christmas, so maybe for other holidays too they can do something…They should have cups for all [holidays],” Kabore said.