The multi-generational craze that has Target shoppers fighting over  limited edition Stanley Cups was a Starbucks collab all along

Connie Queline

The multi-generational craze that has Target shoppers fighting over $50 limited edition Stanley Cups was a Starbucks collab all along

Forget flowers and candy. The hot holiday gift this Valentine’s Day is a 40-ounce tumbler. But getting your hands on one could be a lot harder than you’d expect—you might even have a fight on your hands.

People are camping outside Target stores and there have been reports (and social media videos) of physical alterations as people try to get the special-edition of the cup that has become something of a multi-generational craze. The Stanley tumblers have become a sensation in recent months, as well as a source of confusion for some, befuddled by their seemingly sudden and overwhelming popularity. Gen Z is the biggest booster, singing its praises on TikTok and other social media channels, but it is equally popular with millennials and even some of Generation X. The Adventure Quencher Travel Tumbler, priced at $45, has gotten a significant boost from influencers, with The New York Times‘ All Consuming column noting that one of its colors is particularly apt: millennial pink.

Baby boomers, who typically aren’t found on TikTok, seem a bit less enamored with the cup, if not totally ignorant of its existence.

The current sensation was sparked by a special edition Stanley—in a notably darker, more Barbie-ish shade of pink—released at the end of December, with Target marketing it as part of an “exclusive Galentine’s Day” collection. It actually began life as a collaboration with Starbucks, and it just continues to blow up on social media, which is fueling the frenzy.

@jazzedbyjaz #stanleyvalentinesday ♬ Just A Girl – No Doubt

If it sounds a lot like the Black Friday chaos of Cabbage Patch Dolls, Tickle Me Elmo and the Nintendo Wii, you’re not far off.

The pink and red tumblers are currently sold out on Target’s website and Starbucks says it does not plan on restocking them, with many stores now sold out as well. That’s both creating the craze for people seeking them at retail and it’s pushing prices on secondary markets through the roof.

Prices for the cup on eBay currently range from $150 to over $400. One auction on the site has bids of more than $15,000, though the veracity of those bids could not be confirmed.

The cup was designed to promote Starbucks’ winter menu and came out right around the same time as the coffee house announced customers could bring their own cups to drive-throughs or use them on mobile orders.

In the meantime, you can see the carnage on social media, such as stampedes as people run over each other for the coveted cups, or one of the most viral posts, viewed over 20 million times. And, in a sign that Gen Alpha will soon be driving the Stanley Cup craze, videos of youngsters crying over getting one for Christmas.

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