Hey Starbucks! No...Crowds Do Not Endear!

If you've been in any Starbucks over the past few weeks, you've witnessed the emergence of their red "holiday" cups. I've held quite a few of these cups as I've drunk either my venti green ginger tea or the venti calm tea...Ginger when I need to wake up and calm when, well, when I need to take it down a notch.

The cups are a lovely shade of red, nice and bright, appropriately festive. They are also coated with the most asinine, saccharin, "Christmasy" sayings that I'm sure are supposed to make me feel all warm and gooey inside. Except they don't. Take this one for example:

"Lost mittens return, cab rides are shared and for a few short weeks CROWDS ENDEAR perfect strangers who exchange warm greetings in lieu of a passing nod."

My first complaint is that that sentence has to be the most awkward phrasing of all time. I'm not an English teacher so I'll leave commentary on the mechanics alone. Let me just talk about the content.

First of all, if you lost your mittens, they are not getting returned. They are resting peacefully in mitten purgatory. You'd best get yourself to the mall so you can purchase a new pair and increase some store's fourth quarter profits.

Let's not forget, Starbucks thinks you should take a cab to the mall. Cabs are so nostalgic, so very Miracle on 34th Street. Plus sharing will help eliminate global warming, right? Well, call me cynical but the only times I see people catching cabs in LA is when they're stuffing luggage into one at LAX, or else they're climbing into one, drunk after partying at some Hollywood hot-spot. For all you big-city east-coasters out there, when it's cold and you're running late, be honest, you are not going to share a cab with someone else unless that person is a rich and famous celebrity with an US Weekly cover. Plus, if you aren't living in a big city, do you even see taxis?

Third, the writer of this "sentence" has clearly never been to a mall right before the holidays, let alone spent any time in a crowded Starbucks where people will try to decapitate you if you accidentally pick their drink up off the counter. Maybe the writer has never heard someone growl, "Read the name on the cup!" after you say, "Sorry, I thought that was my soy chai!"

I'd love to see what might be written on this cup after the writer tries to get a parking spot at the Glendale Galleria on December 23rd. I suppose I should be more hopeful for our consumer culture, I mean, holiday spirit. I'm sure reading these warm greetings on the cups will really help folks get through the holidays intact. I'll have to eat my words if I see a story in the LA Times detailing how reading this very cup saved someone on the 405 from road rage.

If I do see that story, I'll give everyone who reads this blog a dollar!


Anonymous said…
I'd like to see what the holiday cab-sharing is like at OHare while this snow storm is going on and all the planes have been grounded...ooh
Maybe it's supposed to read:

Lost mittens, return!
Cab rides are... (shared?) (and for a few).
...short weeks.
ENDEAR, perfect strangers.
Who [will] exchange warm greetings
in lieu of a passing nod?

Now all you have to do is change "endear" for "endure."
Liz Dwyer said…
Peggy, LOL...you are keeping it real. I used to joke that the only time I saw true friendship amongst strangers was when everyone was huddled together in fifteen degree temperatures on the Howard Street El platform, waiting for the Evanston train at midnight. Even then, folks weren't always so friendly.

Maht, your editing made the cup much more comprehensible. Starbucks should have hired you. Indeed, you are a freelance villain. I agree, the crowds will endure no matter what.
Anonymous said…
Just giving a shout out so I'm eligible for that dollar, lol!

Mitten Purgatory - Awesome!
Liz: I appreciate the sentiment, but really wouldn't want to work for Starbucks. I may be a villain, but I'm not evil.

Now I'm off to do my version at poetry slams throughout Chicago.
Liz Dwyer said…
The parking lot shenanigans I witnessed this morning at the Vons grocery store on Sunset Blvd. have caused me to up the ante. I'll give TWO dollars to every reader of this blog if I see any kind of article in the LA Times citing these cups as inspiring someone to turn over a new leaf and exhibit true goodwill and cheer.

There is a Starbucks inside this Vons...I don't think it was helping anything since the line was almost snaking out the door. I saw a whole bunch of pissed off Angelenos stalking back to their cars, red cups clutched in what can only be described as a Darth Vaderesque death grip.
Bad prose does not make me feel warm and gooey, nor does it endear me to a place that paid someone to write these sentiments on their overpriced cups.

English is becoming a lost art.

I have yet to see a friendly crowd anywhere, especially during the holidays. It's impossible to ignore the irony of such widescale rudeness and hostility in the so-called season of love and peace.

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