May 19, 2024

Chaos Ensues as Starbucks x Stanley Valentine’s Day Cups Sell Out at Target Stores

Written by AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

Jan 4, 2024

Starbucks’ yearly seasonal cup releases have become a pop culture phenomenon loved by collectors and average coffee drinkers alike. Their latest collaboration with popular thermos brand Stanley for a Valentine’s Day themed cup is no exception. The limited-edition “Stanley Quencher H2.0 FlowState Tumbler”, as it’s officially called, has sparked mayhem across Target stores as supplies quickly vanished.

Overview of the Starbucks x Stanley Valentine’s Day Cup Craze

The tumbler sports a blush pink ombre design with a white screw-on straw lid. It holds 30 oz and retails for $49.99. Other than the colorway, the cup itself appears near identical to Stanley’s standard Quencher H2.0 model which typically retails around $35.

So why are people going crazy over a somewhat basic thermos with a pink paint job?

Why the Sudden Interest in Stanley?

Stanley has seen immense growth recently as reusable water bottles become an increasingly popular sustainability trend, especially among younger demographics. The brand name has become synonymous with quality and durability.

The distinctive hammertone finish and vintage aesthetic of Stanley thermoses impart a “cool factor” that also appeals to many. Prices for Stanley tumblers have been rising with demand. Their collaboration with Starbucks, a beloved lifestyle brand, was a perfect storm for manufacturing hype.

FOMO Driving Sales Frenzy

The cup’s limited quantity, Valentine’s Day theming, and exclusive availability at Target stores also tapped straight into consumer FOMO (fear of missing out). Customers lined up for hours before stores opened to get their hands on one, with many stores selling out in minutes.

The public scramble to buy the cups resembles the fervor traditionally reserved for limited edition streetwear drops. Social media is abuzz with impressions, unboxings, thirst traps, and complaints of resellers. #StanleyCup is trending on Tiktok.

Chaotic Launch Day Reports Across Target Locations

The official launch day was January 3rd, 2023. Here is a summary of reports from different Target locations:


  • Over 20 people camped overnight outside a Target store in Bakersfield for the 7 AM opening. The entire stock of 50 cups sold out in under 5 minutes. [Source]

  • Massive lines formed at a Fresno Target store beginning at 4 AM. All cups were sold out by 7:15 AM. [Source]


  • Hundreds waited in line outside a Target in Schaumburg starting at 2 AM. Police were called when arguments broke out between customers. All cups sold out. [Source]


  • A Target store in Clinton Township opened an hour early at 7 AM due to over 100 people lined up outside. First people in line waited over 12 hours and resellers were allegedly paying people to buy cups for them. [Source]


  • Customers braved pouring rain outside a Las Vegas Target beginning at 8:30 PM the prior night. First shoppers got wristbands to purchase a cup. [Source]

New Jersey

  • A Target in East Windsor faced accusations of hoarding product for employees and claims that store associates grabbed product before the store opened at 8 AM. [Source]


  • Shoppers started lining up outside Dallas-area Target stores beginning at 3 AM. Police and security were summoned to maintain crowd control. [Source]

Backlash from Customers

Despite precautions like purchase limits (1-2 tumblers per customer), inventory still vanished rapidly. Understandably, many who waited for hours left empty-handed and frustrated.

Accusations of poor planning and intentional scarcity marketing tactics have been levied against both Starbucks and Target. Some feel exploiting FOMO and manufactured hype to drive sales is unethical. Others criticize customers themselves for “falling for the marketing scheme”.

The situation also revealed ugly sides of consumer culture – bad behavior, scuffles, and trampling injuries were reported at some locations.

Resellers Cashing In

Another point of contention is resellers who snagged cups solely to flip for profit. Listings asking for 2-4 times retail price are easy to find on resale sites. The few customers lucky enough to get multiples of the product faced intense backlash. Regardless, as long as people keep paying absurd premiums, the secondary market will continue thriving.

Sale Price Listing Site Condition
$225 eBay New
$199.99 Facebook Marketplace New
$250 Poshmark New with tags

What’s Next?

With such incredible demand versus limited supply, calls for Starbucks and Stanley to produce more units are commonplace. Some also demand Target regulates sales better to discourage resellers.

Starbucks has yet to release any official statement on a potential restock at this time. Judging by the brands’ history of intentionally short-run collaborations, future production seems unlikely.

That said, a wider general release of the Stanley Quencher H2.0 model in the popular new colorway remains a possibility. The cup aesthetically resembles Target’s Threshold-branded plastic tumblers which cost under $10, so lower price points could also broaden appeal.

For now, keep an eye on local Target inventory, resale sites, and Starbucks’ social feeds for any glimmer of hope. With the way things are going however, you’ll probably have better luck trying again for the cups next Valentine’s Day.




AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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