The Liberator

Small Talk: Holiday Hullabaloo

Charles Taylor, Staff Writer

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In 2015, Starbucks came under fire for making their cups red in the spirit of the holiday season instead of explicitly saying “Merry Christmas.” I don’t understand this outrage; while I do support people specifically referencing Christmas if they want, forcing everyone to accommodate a specific religion is absurd and self-centered. But, there is a way for unsatisfied customers to attempt to influence Starbucks to change the cups: boycotting them and pulling investments.

Those in favor of a reference to Christmas on the cups say a company should be able to talk about whatever holiday it wants to, along with the fact that it makes sense because of the large Christian population in the U.S. Those who are against cups explicitly mentioning Christmas say since holidays such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa also occur during the winter, Starbucks should either be more inclusive, or keep religion out of it completely, with winter-related imagery only. People who celebrate Christmas who cannot deal with the lack of specificity can boycott, as this is always an option in America, but I think most people understand how egocentric and ridiculous this is and wouldn’t even try. But if every Christian, or, for that matter, every religious person in America whose holiday happens during winter, decided to boycott Starbucks, the chain would obviously suffer great economic loss.

We all know this level of coordination among a large group of people is extremely unlikely, and many people wouldn’t be in favor of a protest. It still stands that if enough people stop going to Starbucks, the loss of money will probably compel the coffee giant to change their cups. Alternatively, customers could pull their investment in the company if they purchased Starbucks stock. Starbucks could suffer from this, but only if stocks were pulled at an incredibly large scale. Most importantly, if everyone who has a problem with Starbucks’ holiday cups unites together, Starbucks will give the people what they want and make systemic changes.

It is clear that while it may not please everybody, a company like Starbucks must make the decision that excludes the fewest customers possible and pleases the most. If consumers have a problem with that decision, they need to take matters into their own hands by no longer buying its products and by pulling their investment; monetary loss will propel a company to make a change more effectively than anything else.

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Small Talk: Holiday Hullabaloo