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Why People Are Losing Their Minds Over Stanley Cups

The insulated tumblers have TikTok, Target shoppers, and just about everyone else in a frenzy.

The general obsession with hydration has evidently reached a new heights in 2024, as one beverage container has incited absolute mania in the aisles of Targets and Starbucks nationwide. The Stanley Quencher H2.0 Flowstate 40-oz. stainless steel tumbler in the recently released limited-edition colors of pink and red are among the most popular drops from the brand thus far, to the point where some stores set per-customer purchase limits and were left with empty shelves in shoppers' wake. Why is everyone this hyped about a cup?

The Stanley x Target x Starbucks fiasco, explained

Starbucks and Stanley released a limited-time "Winter Pink" tumbler collaboration on January 3, People reports. The product was only available at Starbucks locations within Target stores, an exclusivity that led to massive crowds outside stores well before their open hours. There has also been plenty of controversy surrounding the tumblers themselves, as each store was given a limited supply—and Starbucks has made it clear it will not be restocking them.


In addition to the Starbucks collaboration, Target also debuted its own collaboration with Stanley for Valentine's Day—Quencher H2.0 Flowstate 40-oz. tumblers in the shades Cosmo Pink and Target Red—just a few days prior to the Starbucks drop. These cups were released on December 31, 2023 and are already completely sold out in stores and online.

The cup retails for $49.95, but those aware of the hype behind the pink tumblers are capitalizing on the situation by reselling them for a major markup on the secondary market. A quick search on eBay shows the cups listed and actually selling for prices ranging from $100 to $3,000. (Yes, you read that correctly. Three grand for a water bottle.)

Why Stanley cups are so popular

So, what the hell is it about these tumblers that has led to such hysteria? TikTok, and more specifically the #WaterTok sub-community, certainly seems to be the primary culprit. Early last year, creators on TikTok began posting videos of themselves adding sugar-free flavor enhancers to their water and stirring it around in Stanley tumblers.


Yes, the annoyingly simple trend of homemade flavored water contributed to this wild scramble for $50 cups. CNBC reports the brand has been around for over 100 years, and has grown from $70 million in annual revenue in 2019 to a projected $750 million for 2023.

The Stanley brand certainly isn't the first hydration-forward commodity to garner this much attention. For the past several years, social media has created a community of consumers thirsty for the trendiest way to up their water consumption. Does the name Hydro Flask ring any bells? Hint: in 2020 it was the Stanley Quencher of water bottles, selling for $30 and up. (The brand also sells a product with a big side handle, similar to Stanley.) There were also the era of S'well brand water bottles, which have a tapered look more like plastic water bottles and sell in many shades at a lower price point.


Whether it's all the pretty colors, the desire to be up on the latest trends, the race to be the best at hydrating, or some TikTok-fueled combination of the three, the Stanley's popularity is still sort of confusing. There's just no reason a top-heavy insulated tumbler best suited to long-haul trucking should be selling for thousands of dollars online. Did the slang of the mid-2010s teach us nothing? Stop being so thirsty, people.