A few customers have reacted against Starbuck’s controversial cup design by giving the name “Merry Christmas” to their drink orders. Photo by Laura Poythress for The Alabamian.
Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you know Starbucks is at the center of an extra hot topic on social media. This is thanks to a former pastor posting an inflamed video of himself on Facebook, trying to convince others that Starbucks is attacking Christmas. As an employee of that company, I was intrigued.
The claim of an attack is based solely on the fact that Starbucks’ holiday season cups are red.
Of course, the video went viral with more than 10 million views, and the average person, religious or not, knew Joshua Feuerstein was wrong. But there were still people who were clueless and willing to blindly follow Joshua’s instructions to “trick” baristas into writing “merry Christmas” on the cups.
Starbucks employees ask for customers’ names as a method of connecting with or getting to know them. We also write names on cups to help customers identify their own drinks when we are finished making them.
You would be amazed at the number of people who order a hot drink, see a frozen drink on the hand-off counter and then ask “Is this mine?” We are doing our part to help keep out confusion. If everyone’s name were the same, there would be no point in asking for their names.
If even five people in a row came into Starbucks and responded with “Merry Christmas” when I asked their names, it would create confusion for them. They would be stealing each other’s drinks because they use their name to identify their own drink.
Moreover, plenty of the baristas celebrate Christmas and do not care that the cups are just red. Many baristas are just glad the cups are not confusingly plastered with graphics that make it difficult for us to identify what we are supposed to make.
Additionally, we are people, too. We are not mindless robots. We are snarky and don’t like being disrespected or treated like we have done something to harm our customers when we have not.
Some baristas, on the few occasions they have for writing the cheerful phrase on cups, spell it in various ways. “Mary Chrismus,” “Murry Chri-muh” and “Mary Krismiss” are just a few examples.
There’s more, though. Starbucks sells advent calendars and Christmas blend coffee, as well as a wide variety of other Christmas themed gift cards and mugs. To say Starbucks is trying to take Jesus or Christmas out of this time of year is the most absurd thing that could be said of a company that depends on Christmas blend coffee sales to bring them a year-end boost.
Another point that needs to be made is that Starbucks has never claimed to be a faith-based company. They celebrate all religions and lifestyles. If the church has a problem with them not singling out Christianity, they can shop elsewhere and truly boycott them.
After all, this is the first boycott I have heard of that made news while actually bringing more money and attention to a company.
The most important point that needs to be addressed is that this has picked up so much attention on social media, but only a very small handful of customers have entered Starbucks and told baristas their name is Merry Christmas.
Christians are being mocked for being upset over a cup being red because one pastor posted an inflammatory video about it. I work nearly 30 hours per week and have only encountered one customer, out of thousands, who wished I would write a phony name for him.
I think the most accurate portrayal of this whole ordeal is the trending photo of an empty field with the caption “group photo of everyone upset about Starbucks cups being just red.”
You are more likely to find a large collection of baristas who are tired of customers asking about this non-issue.
For student opinions on the red holiday cups and the supposed uproar, check out Issue 7’s On The Bricks with Madison Griggs.