My unrequited love for a Starbucks Cold Tumbler (with a straw!)

The internet is ‘abuzz with people talking about something. It’s a very special something.

OK maybe I’m being over the top just a little bit, but I am writing this article to discuss the wonderful thing that is the Starbucks To-Go Tumbler with a straw, my unrequited love for it, and how I resolved my problem.

For those of you who have no clue what I am talking about, let me explain.

Several years ago Starbucks introduced a cold tumbler that looks JUST like a disposable cold cup. It has their logo and the drink lines and everything, but it is made from hard double-wall acrylic.

They are hugely popular and sell out almost immediately, and are nearly impossible to find.  OK maybe you can find them on eBay or Craigslist, but generally at about TWICE the retail price.

The Starbucks Cup

and why it is so cool (pun fully intended)

So let’s talk about why this cup is so great. So great that people will pay ridiculous prices on ebay for them – I saw an auction for a cup (normally $12.99 I believe) go for over $30! That’s insane!

So back to the point – this cup is great. Why? Because it’s fun. It looks like a disposable, and I’ll go ahead and say it – you can bring drinks from home and look like you went to the coffeeshop!

Not only that, but it feels like you got it at a coffeeshop. It FEELS more fancy. It works the same way as anything else – sure, you can do things for yourself like coffee, pedicures, spa treatments.

But when it comes down to it, it feels more fancy and indulgent when you pay for someone to do it for you!  That’s why this cup is so fun.

Second – this cup is amazingly well made. I was actually astonished when I first got it. It kind of looks like a flimsier cup but it is a very hard sturdy acrylic.

It is insulated with double-wall construction, and the screw top has a gasket to minimize leaks. The double-wall part helps keep it from getting any condensation except in the most extreme conditions. But case in point – my favorite is how well it insulates.

When I finally found my first cup I had an iced drink in it and went outside to work in the garden. Came back in, forgetting that I left the cup in the garden.  2 hours later I finally remembered it and the drink was still icy and cold.

I was really surprised, I expected it to be warm and yucky (keep in mind this was about 90 degree weather). Granted, the cup was not in the direct sun, but still! I think at that point was when I fell hopelessly in love.

I wanted more! But it had already taken a YEAR for me to find the first one!

Unrequited Love

So when I say “unrequited love” I really am not just talking about myself. I’m speaking for every poor man, woman, or child out there who desperately wants a Starbucks cup and can’t find one, and is just a touch too practical to pay those ridiculous ebay prices.

Why is Starbucks always out of stock of their cold cups? Well, I can’t really speak for them, but I do come from a marketing background.

Given the fact that Starbucks tends to be a leader in many trends, I can tell you I’m pretty sure they understock on purpose. It’s kind of like the “it” items for Christmas.

Sometimes, a manufacturer genuinely can not keep up with demand for their product and have no other option than to backorder. But sometimes, they purposefully limit supply in order to create huge demand for a product that is really popular.

I can certainly not speak for Starbucks, but considering that they never get very many of the cups in, they sell out within a few days, and this has been going on for, oh, about TWO years now, I would say it’s safe to say they are probably limiting supply.

I simply find it hard to believe that whoever is in charge of making sure their items are in stock is not getting the message and ordering 100 times more than what they have been, after all this time.

Again, this is my theory only – I do not know for sure… just an observation.

Now why would they do that? Why would any company do that? Well think about it.

They have a brand new phenomenal product they are introducing that has become hugely popular. There isn’t really any competition out there for this product.

The word of mouth and “buzz” that this limited supply is creating is GREAT marketing and advertising. People are seeing the cups and talking about it. Not only that, but it keeps people coming in to the stores looking for the cups.

I wonder maybe if they were to actually stock the cups according to demand, perhaps the excitement of them would diminish and people would be less excited, I’m not sure.

Honestly, I find it hard to believe that even if they DID stock fully that the market for these cups would slow down. They are really a well designed cup and most people I know won’t just stop at owning one. I own several of theirs myself.

The Alternative

The Little Guys – Now With 75% More Spunk!

Ahh, so this brings me to what I DID about my unrequited love. I am a very entrepreneurial person, I will admit.

I kept thinking… these cups are GREAT!  If Starbucks won’t keep them in stock, someone else should!

And I’m sure you know where this is going from here. Yep, I did it. It took me a very long time to find a factory that made them, but I got them! We started selling in June 2010 and the response has been incredible.

I wanted to make my own cups with kind of a “twist” to them. We called ourselves “Humerus Wares” and our initial designs were two Twilight-based (Team Edward and Team Jacob) cups.

People love them!

Every time I take one to an espresso stand or really anywhere, I am constantly getting comments. I’ve done shows where people would see the Humerus Wares display from across the room, would point directly at us and immediately beeline for the table.

We do plan on expanding into other genres and designs, from movie quotes to funny sayings. But designs aside, people love our cups. In fact, a barista said to me yesterday she thought my cup seemed sturdier than the Starbucks cups (of which she owned four) and that our straws were better made. Great!

We started off with Twilight-inspired designs and have since then added a few more movie-themed and coffee-themed designs.  So hop on over to our store and pick up one today!  You can’t go wrong, I promise you.

Miss Bailey is an ex-barista, coffee lover, and the owner of Humerus Wares.

This is a demo store for testing purposes — no orders shall be fulfilled.