There's a Barista who works at the Starbucks I frequent named Ray. Ray has the happiest, most positive damn attitude I've ever seen in a person. And if that's not enough to win you over: Ray has also hand-drawn a flamingo on his name tag and he always uses his customer's names as he tells them to have a nice day. Ray works the morning shift, so by the time I've reached his register at 8:30 a.m. he's been serving the uncaffeintated general public for hours. Mornings at Starbucks start early (I should know, I used to work there) so Ray probably gets up between 4 and 5 in the morning to get to work on time. This is an ungodly hour to have to go to work and serve people the very drink they need to get their day started, yet Ray greets every customer with a smile, makes eye contact and tries to make your day a little better than it was when you approached his register.
And did I mention the flamingo on his name tag?
Ray served me my first red cup of the season: a holiday tradition I look forward to every year. So much so in fact that my friends and I text each other pictures of us drinking from our first red cups. (We're lame, don't judge us)
When I first read the unbelievably ridiculous "controversy" about the Starbucks Red Cups, I couldn't help but think of Ray and the other Baristas who have nothing to do with the creation of the 2015 Red Cups but are the face of the campaign. Hardworking people who get up at the ass-crack of dawn and who have a positive attitude before many of us can formulate coherent sentences and who are just trying to do their job with the materials they've been given. In his video, Josh Feuerstein asks "us" to go into our local Starbucks and tell the Baristas our name is "Merry Christmas" so we can help America put Christ back in Christmas and to let them know their "liberal" company is ruining America.
Excuse me for saying so, but this is like getting angry at the Customer Service Representative at your cable company because your cable isn't working: they work for the company, they aren't the reason your cable isn't working and you shouldn't take your frustrations out on them. Or, when you get mad at your server at a restaurant when your food doesn't taste right: they didn't cook it, and it's not their fault. A Starbucks Barista (a good one) is there to serve you your favorite seasonal beverage in the red cup you've probably been waiting for since Red Cup Season 2014 came to an end. They aren't the reason the red cup doesn't have a reindeer on it and you shouldn't go out of your way to make their job harder because of it.
I don't usually open up about my religious beliefs on my blog, or any social media platform for that matter, but I believe Christ is the over-arching reason we should celebrate Christmas. I also believe in another theme of Christmas: goodwill towards men. Rather than make an innocent bystander the target of your anger, practice some goodwill. Be kind. Christmas is bigger than the plain, red cup that will be tossed in the trash once it's empty and the Barista you forced to yell "grande latte for Merry Christmas" doesn't deserve to be the misplaced target of your desire to change the corporation they work for.
And if you're going to make them yell "grande latte for Merry Christmas!" I sure hope you put your change in that tip jar.
The world doesn't need more anger or social media vigilantes. The world needs more goodwill, more kindness. The world needs more people like Ray, who can brighten up your day no matter what kind of day he might be having. The world needs more random acts of kindness; more people buying a latte for someone just because rather than using a $5 coffee to prove a point. That's the kind of news we want to see: not some random spouting off nonsense about Starbucks ruining America because it forgot to put a wintry design on a disposable cup.
Side note: today is Veteran's Day, maybe buy a Veteran a coffee and thank them, just because.
And, in the words of one of my favorite Christmas characters, Tiny Tim: "God bless us, everyone."
If you want to read some other (and way better) articles about this topic, I recommend these:
Why the Red Cup Makes Christmas Easy by Amber Thomas (via The Rising Blog)
Starbucks Plain Red Holiday Cups Stir Up Controversy (via CNN Money)
Here's Why the Starbucks Red Cup Controversy Makes No Sense (via Buzzfeed)