Hey Starbucks, thanks a latte

Photo by Amy Street

ALEXIS PRICE | adprice1@butler.edu | Opinion Columnist

2003: Gas was $1.83 a gallon. Finding Nemo debuted in theaters. Apple launched iTunes. R. Kelly released the song “Ignition.” And Starbucks introduced the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Thus, the emergence of the “basic white girl.”

Filled with 380 shameless calories and flavors evoked by cinnamon, nutmeg and real pumpkin pie spices, Starbucks has been appeasing many with its fall beverage for more than a decade.

In fact, “There have been over 29,000 tweets that have featured the hash tag: #pumpkinspice since August of 2012,” according to the Starbucks official website.

But it doesn’t end with the Pumpkin Spice Latte, or PSL for short. Pumpkin sales alone have risen nearly 34 percent in the last five years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Numerous pumpkin spice products have been introduced over the years, including candles, Pringles, beef jerky, beer and even Oreos.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy an occasional PSL and I am sure Pumpkin Spice Oreos don’t taste half bad. But beef jerky? Really, guys?

And these are just a few of the new brands of pumpkin flavors that have come out.

“13 fresh pumpkin brands came to market in 2013, accounting for 1.4 percent dollar growth and 13 percent category growth,” according to market research firm Nielsen.

Although I admit I am slightly curious as to what pumpkin spice beef jerky would taste like, I feel as though this is a bold and highlighted signifier that the pumpkin passion needs to die down.

Personally, it is almost upsetting that pumpkin has become such an overdone fad.

Drinkers of the PSL are often considered “basic,” pictured carrying around a grande Starbucks cup, wearing Ugg boots and leggings.

I only indulge in pumpkin two months of the year—October and November. As pumpkins are associated with both Halloween and Thanksgiving, it is acceptable. While the PSL is only sold as a seasonal drink, and it is hardly deniable pumpkin-related sales increase during the fall season, many pumpkin products are sold year-round.

It is no longer as a much of a seasonal comfort, but rather, a “basic white girl” stigma.

I asked several Butler students, “When does something become ‘basic’?” And many responses could be summed up in what freshman Blake Dreihaus stated.

“I feel like overuse makes something ‘basic,’” Dreihaus said. “When it’s no longer exciting.”

Which is just what pumpkin spice has become: overused. It has become a trite flavor or smell due to excessive pumpkin product development.

It’s now a flavor or smell that many of us will not (for a while) be able to enjoy without the “basic” stereotype following us around.

Unfortunately, as pumpkin related products continue to increase in sales, and new pumpkin products arise, pumpkin passion may never go out of fashion.

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