Scalpers Sink Their Claws Into Starbucks Halloween Cups

Sneaky entrepreneurs cleaned out Starbucks' Halloween shelves, only to resell the seasonal merch online.

I don't know about you, but when I see Starbucks cups in the news, I hit the deck. Maybe I'm jaded after one too many coffee-cup-related religious panics. Regardless, I've got the latest cup news, and it's nothing short of baffling: Scalpers are apparently buying out Starbucks' limited-edition Halloween merchandise and reselling the items online for hundreds of dollars a pop. Well, time for me to go back to bed!

Mashed first broke the scalping news, reporting that many Starbucks fans are taking to Reddit to express their frustration after the cups, which range $25 to $40 in price, disappeared from store shelves. Mashed cites one Starbucks customer who posted about their experience on Reddit, writing: "I'm from the Bay Area and every store here is wiped out and has been for the past week ... I found one for a decent price online ... and made the person an offer. A couple minutes later they reject my offer and double the price."

Scalpers are hawking the cups on social media, Craigslist, and eBay (on the latter, I found the full 2021 collection going for a cool $1,100). Part of me suspects this phenomenon may be the new normal. It's the latest in a string of high-priced fast food resales, including the now-infamous $1,000 Pokémon Oreos. The scalping scheme may also have been going on for longer than we realized, as I found a "vintage" 2019 cup selling for a whopping $500 on eBay.

I find the practice downright grody, although I suppose things like Pokémon merch could potentially increase in value as collectors' items. But these Starbucks cups don't have the kind of nostalgic value we associate with Pokémon—so who's out here shelling out a grand for the full line of Starbucks Halloween merch? And do they plan to hang onto it for two decades in the hopes it increases in value, or is this more of a FOMO situation? Help me. I want to understand.