By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi
For years I have brewed Teavana tea and sipped samples of it in our local Teavana store. I have also sipped Tazo tea happily at Starbucks, and imbibed Tazo Zen at home. Yes, my tea life was good. When Starbucks bought Teavana tea and gradually began to hawk it in Starbucks’ stores, I was fine too. After all, I could always purchase Tazo teas at our Whole Foods and Super Target stores. As an inveterate tea drinker these past fifteen years, I find tea relaxing, calming because the green tea has helped lessen not only my allergies, but also has been known to periodically tame the arthritis in my lower back.
However, I take umbrage at the inane Oprah quotes that now encircle the sleeve of my hot tea purchases at Starbucks. Accustomed to the usual Starbucks green logo emblazoned on the kind of cardboard colored sleeve, I did a double-take when a bright green-yellow pilfered from the Crayola crayon box appeared wrapped around my hot tea. Now the Teavana Buddha logo appears next to the trite message of “Steep your soul”, which is, apparently endorsed by Oprah. Now, I am not personally acquainted with Ms. Winfrey, and I am aware that she and her successful yadda-yadda-yadda show occupied the television airwaves for years, and that she built herself a mighty fine mega-bucks empire, but now she has encroached on my Teavana tea time, and that offends me.
Spewing such drivel as “Be more splendid. Be more extraordinary. Use every moment to fill yourself up.” What does that mean? Eat more kale? Adhered to another Starbucks tea order, the sleeve advised, “You are not here to shrink down to less, but to blossom into more of who you really are.” Who is going to remember such an awkward quote as that? In Hamlet, Shakespeare’s character Hamlet pondered, “To be or not to be, that is the question”, which is far more existential and memorable. Recall that in As You Like It, when the Bard’s character Jaques articulated “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are merely players”, he gave us pause to reflect personally, politically, and philosophically. If Starbucks wishes to broaden the thought processes and “steep” the “souls” of its patrons, it could do no better than to turn to great literary figures’ “sound bites” to plaster on beverage sleeves. If Starbucks wants to have a memorable quote from a female, then it should turn to Abigail Adams who, in 1776, admonished her husband John Adams and his Continental Congress colleagues “[To] remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.” Teavana could place on another cup sleeve, Abigail Adam’ continued quoted of “Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be Tyrants if they could.”
Ciao for now.