Not long ago, I found myself craving a pumpkin scone, God I love them, but when I walked into Starbucks late that night…poof the lot were gone! To my despair, they had been unseasonably replaced by new mugs, red, green, and white signage, snowmen and menu items that leave it “beginning to look a lot like Christmas” already. In Canada, my darling American friends, we have Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie in October, before Halloween. Your holidays are blessedly spaced out but we have a long dry spell between All Hallows Eve and Christmas Eve.
Too long, some would say. One businessman in Western Canada recently launched a campaign to discourage decorating for the Holidays before Remembrance Day; to show respect for our veterans. The poppy on my lapel would agree with him, it doesn’t want to be replaced by a poinsettia just yet. Nevertheless others, like Starbucks, are jumping headlong into the heavily Christian but non-denominational holiday spirit. And customers are following suit.
In Tory land (forgive me I get confused with that and its official name of Western Canada) Starbucks worshippers were shocked to discover that Starbucks Santa wouldn’t be allowing them to get the delicious sounding Gingerbread Latte this year, while the Eggnog Latte would only be available in the West, and thus denied to the East. Denying the good people of Western Canada such hallowed holiday hot toddies must have been seen as yet another way Ontario and Quebec were marginalizing our Western provinces, treating them like second class Starbucks customers. While only blessing Westerners with the scrumptious Eggnog Latte was a terrific slight to the “real” Canada -Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes.
I’m surprised there wasn’t a debate in the House of Commons; the Great Canadian Latte Debate. Yet again, the divisions between East and West would be paramount, with a Western Conservative going up against an Eastern NDPer, each one accusing the other of working in cahoots with the Liberal Party to influence Starbucks, and alternately sideline and control the rest of the country from one particular area. Obviously the Liberals would have something to do with it, being the centre party, they’re always in cahoots with either the Conservatives or the NDP these days. That is, according to the other parties desperate to tarnish their enemy’s name and rising poll numbers.
Disappointed customers took a far more effective approach then trying to reach their unreachable MPs and vented their varying degrees of rage and disappointment on social media. Fortunately, their emails, texts, and blog posts were not written in vain, and so the grassroots movement to change the mind of the grassroots grown, (now) mega corporation, worked. Starbucks announced Wednesday that both lattes would be readily available in stores where they are currently unavailable by November 17th.
Starbucks apologized for any inconvenience that people might encounter in waiting for the stock of latte materials to arrive, but they are going to be here in plenty of time for the Holidays. Just not for those early holiday celebrators that some people don’t like.
I think this goes to show that you should never underestimate the power of caffeine deprived specialty coffee drinkers. A hand deprived of caffeine, but armed with Twitter, is dangerous. This campaign seems to have united Canadians in a way that our political parties and leaders have failed to do. Perhaps a Starbucks party will be on the ballot in 2015? It could even form the government. Its slogan: Free lattes and overpriced baked goods for every Canadian!