Starbucks + Christmas – Christmas = ???

10890728_1234187126596633_2133648073_nBy now, you’ve probably all heard the crazy argument going around the internet about Starbucks and their “plain” holiday cups this year. If you haven’t, you’re lucky. But just to summarize, when Starbucks rolled out their annual red cups November 1st, a former pastor in the US took offense to the fact that they were so plain, and free of all Christmas references, which he took to mean that Starbucks hates Christians, of course.

Now, as far as anyone can tell, holiday references in Starbucks’ previous red cups were only things like ornaments, or reindeer….and not really any religious references. This year, they kept the cups clean—only a graduated ombre to the deep red—to “usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories”, claims Starbucks President Jeffrey Fields. So why the pastor chose to take this fight to such an extreme level (and really, it has nothing much to do with being Christian and celebrating Christmas at all), leaves everyone stumped. He started up a campaign online to get people to say their name was Merry Christmas, so that the Starbucks employees would have to write that on the cups, and therefore, keep the Christmas at Starbucks, as well as fight the fight using the hashtag #MerryChristmasStarbucks.

What?

Red cups, blue cups, reindeer or no deer….what does it matter? Coffee and books go together,and we’re fans of Starbucks here at the library. Does anyone really passionately care what the design is on the cup? Unless you’re the one who designed it, I don’t think so.

I’m pretty sure this former pastor, Joshua Feuerstein, who now calls himself a “social media personality”, just needs to chill out, and maybe take up adult colouring as a form of relaxation.

Just keep the red pencils away from him.

(Speaking of adult colouring, join us at the library on Wednesday, November 25th at 6:30pm for some fun zen colouring. There may even be Christmas things to colour!)

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I’ll have an iced caramel macchiato and a life, please…..

Our little town is about to embark on another big opening. Earlier this week, I saw signs posted for a job fair for Starbucks. Yes, Carleton Place is about to have a new coffee zone, one that has always been aimed at a more youthful generation. I guess we have finally arrived.

But there is controversy, of course, regarding the already well established Tim Horton’s which has been a mainstay on a few well known corners of our town for several years. Will people stop going to Timmy’s and start frequenting the polished Starbucks? Or what about the nice little drive-through on the highway that sells organic or fair-trade coffee (I’m not really sure which)? Will Starbucks take over? Probably not, as there seems to be enough coffee drinkers to go around for every business. But that said, it will be interesting to see what happens.

I read an interesting article about a man named Michael Gill who, by all accounts, had everything. He came from a well-to-do family, went to the best schools and enjoyed a great position in a fortune 500 company. He had a lovely wife and children, a beautiful home and expensive cars, but one day, when he was well into his career at the age of 52, he was let go from his position and subsequently, lost everything. On one of his lowest days, he wandered into a Starbucks, who were running a job fair unbeknownst to him, and was asked if he’d like a job. He felt so low and yet still didn’t want to insult the woman asking him that he said yes, and started to work as a barista. Here was a man with a six-figure salary about to pour coffee for a living. But it absolutely changed his life.

He kept track of his new downsized world and life in a journal, and his daughter encouraged him to write a book, which he did, entitled “How Starbucks Saved my Life”. It stayed for many weeks on the New York Bestsellers list and chronicles how his life has changed for the better, just by taking a chance and doing something completely opposite to what he’d always planned. Tom Hanks was so enamored by this story that he bought the rights to the book and is planning on releasing a movie later this year, playing Michael Gill himself. You can read a great article about Mr. Gill here.

So maybe Starbucks will be life-changing for many people in our town. Maybe not. But this is an inspiring tale about letting down your guard and trying new things. You never know where they might take you…….