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Stanley Cups are Stupid: Sorry not Sorry

The popularity of Stanley Cups on social media platforms reveal the destructive behavior of overconsumption in our current society.

hands hold a pink Stanley tumbler in a store.
Credit: Shutterstock/David Bokuchava

The sudden rise of Stanley Cups over recent years reflects our overly consumerist culture, revealing that prioritizing viral trends is far more relevant than valuing actual needs.

The Stanley Cup has lost its intended purpose

No offence if you own a Stanley Cup. Really, my intentions are not to bash you. But why do people pay $35 or $50 for these cups? Do people really need a Stanley to drink water from?

I asked the owner of a Stanley Cup what makes them so different from any other stainless steel cup. She said, “It’s what’s aesthetic at the moment.” I nodded along with her while thinking, if you own a Stanley cup, you should investigate its background.

Half of the people who own Stanley Cups don’t even know its origin.

Credit: Unsplash/Natilyn Photography

Stanleys have been around for more than one hundred years, and suddenly, their popularity grew due to the influence of content creators on social media. Why would I buy a $50 stainless steel cup when my $6 Amazon stainless steel cup has the same function? Because social media said so?

Stanley Cups’ intended purpose has been lost. According to ABC News, the cups’ intended purpose was to promote sustainable resources, eliminating plastic products.

William Stanley wanted to create a sustainable cup to prevent plastic overconsumption, prioritizing solutions to help our environment. Influencers and content creators have transformed a sustainable cup into a social competition.

Stanleys are fashion items now!

Credit: Pexel/Avery Arwood

I’m not going to lie—Stanley Cups are cute. Have you and I wanted one before? Most likely. But when I recall that the Stanley Cup CEO established a company envisioning a productive goal and society turned it into a fashion trend, my desire disappeared.

Stanley Cups have made the company a multimillionaire, but not for its intended purpose.

In recent years, the company found viral popularity on apps such as TikTok, with influencers posting videos showing off their extensive collections and limited-edition designs.

The Stanley Cup is more than a cup from which to drink water; it has become a show-off item. It is probably not for everybody, but for a great percentage of Stanley Cup consumers, it represents affordability and trendiness.

@brilowelll STANLEY EDITION (50 in total) #stanley #edition #cups @Stanley 1913 #trend #haul #collection #foryoupageofficiall #stanleystarbucks #stanleycup ♬ Mr Pot Scraper – BossMan Dlow

Stanley’s purpose has shifted towards fashion rather than accomplishing its actual purpose. Drinking water is not a priority anymore, so the Stanley company has launched many limited-edition cups to meet society’s demand.

One TikTok User, @BriLowell, demonstrated her Stanley edition collection (50) on TikTok, which variated in multiple colors. Another TikTok user, @Londynnn, commented, “The consumerism is crazy,” and received 51.6k hearts.

Stanley’s purpose changed from supporting environmental preservation to promoting a consumerist society.

Overconsumption in society

Credit: Unsplash/Jingxi Lau

In the San Diego Union-Tribune, Jim Miller offers a different perspective on overconsumption by comparing it to individuals who suffer from hunger and poverty.

This ongoing orgy of materialism is killing the planet, plain and simple. We need to stop.

Jim Miller

He emphasizes that America’s consumerist behavior embarrasses the country. Consumerism not only affects the environment but also demonstrates how society relies on materialistic possessions to feel satisfied.

The Action Against Hunger organization has declared that there is more than enough food produced in the world to feed everyone on the planet. Yet, as many as 783 million people still go hungry. Millions of people in third-world countries don’t even have a water resource in their villages.

Overconsumption is environmental harm

Credit: Unsplash/Markus Spiske

Whether people buy Stanley Cups for the sole pleasure of participating in a viral trend or actually drink water from them, Stanley Cups are one of the multiple viral trends that show the truth behind overconsumption.

Overconsumption is an unnoticed societal problem that pollutes the planet and wastes natural resources.

In an NBC News article, Kelsea Petersen shows that Stanleys, instead of accomplishing its eco-friendly mission, is one of the factors creating pollution in homes and the environment.

You might have a really great product that is more sustainable, but what good is it if it sits in a person’s home and collects dust.

Nicole Darnall, director and co-founder of the Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative at Arizona State University.”
Credit: Pixabay/Baggeb

The result of overconsumption is people buying unnecessary stuff, which they forget on shelves, closets, garages, or wherever else it may be.

These items create dust and waste, many of which are thrown away as trends pass and people no longer use them. The downsides are the waste of natural resources and the increase in garbage in landfills.

But the cups have also become symbols of overconsumption, products whose green benefits no longer outweigh their environmental footprint.

Kelsea Petersen

As overconsumption takes over in our society, Stanleys are far from what William Stanley created the cups for.

Consumerism influenced by social media

How is our consumerist society reflected in the Stanley Cup craze trend? Well, the rise of a 110-year-old company from $70 million in annual sales before 2020 to $750 million in 2023 is prime evidence.

The virality of Stanleys started because content creators, artists, and influencers were promoting them on social media.

@itspop2k Iconic! #xyzbca #adele #daydreamers #weekendswithadele #jamescorden #stanley #stanleycup #tumbler @Stanley 1913 #tiktok #fypシ #actives? #getmefamous #dontletthisflop ♬ original sound – itspop2k

TikTok user @itspop2k posted a glimpse of the Late Show with James Corden’s YouTube video “Adele-The Final Carpool Karaoke” from April 2023. In it, Adele shows off her shale-colored Stanley Cup, emphasizing that Adele created the whole Stanley trend. Currently, Corden’s and Adele’s YouTube videos hold 28 million views.

Adele is one of the many artists who made the Stanley Cup trend viral. Social media has a big role in overconsumption because society tends to follow what influencers do, which has collateral damage.

Overconsumption contributes to economic and social inequality. Consumerism can be stopped if society doesn’t prioritize viral trends over actual needs.

It’s important to know how consumerism culture affects the emotional and spiritual aspects of ourselves!

Credit: Pixabay/EdgarCurious

Overconsumption creates a domino effect. It starts with one simple purchase, but the more we buy, the more our desire increases because it makes us feel good having what others can afford.

The ownership of materialistic items becomes a social competition to know who has more or less.

Most importantly, overconsumption harms our environment by creating natural waste and pollution. Although it is often seen as harmless behavior, it has multiple inner layers that affect society.

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Written By

English writing student who loves reading and writing. Aspiring author and poet at heart.

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