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Why I Won’t Drink The Unicorn Frappuccino (But I Don’t Care If You Do)

This week, a new, limited edition frappaccino hit the chalkboard menu at a Starbucks near you.

The UNICORN FRAPPUCCINO BLENDED CREME.

Here’s Starbucks’ description of its latest concoction. “Here for a few days only: The flavor-changing, color-changing, totally-not-made-up Unicorn Frappuccino. Magical flavors start off sweet and fruity transforming to pleasantly sour. Swirl it to reveal a color-changing spectacle of purple and pink. It’s finished with whipped cream-sprinkled pink and blue fairy powders.”

Predictably, unicorn-lovers, children, and thrill-seekers everywhere rushed to their baristas to score this new beverage. The internet erupted with beautiful, Instagram-worthy shots of this pink and blue marvel.

I, on the other hand, did not. I was intrigued by the pastel colors and glitter-sprinkled whipped cream, but I am more a coffee and chocolate kind of girl, and once I heard that the base flavor was mango, I was right out. Because I don’t like mango. I was also hopeful that my son didn’t catch wind of this, (that tantalizing sour blue swirl would have been right up his alley), because Starbucks is neither close nor convenient, and I didn’t feel like making the trip. I’m lazy like that.

Reviews on the actual enjoyability of the product were mixed. People described the flavor as mango, but then kind of sour, but maybe sweet? No one was really sure. Some people loved it; some hated it. The general consensus was that it didn’t really matter. Buyers, especially kids, were enjoying the novelty (even if not the taste) of this exclusive, soon-to-be-gone treat.

And then, maybe even more predictably, the internet erupted again.

This time the pictures were a little less Instagrammable: screenshots of the Unicorn Frap’s nutrition facts and ingredients, with underlines and circles, indicating all the “highlights”: the high calorie and fat content, the staggering amount of sugar, the unpronounceable components and all the artificial dyes.

Moms sharing photos of their kids grinning gleefully over their colorful creme drinks were suddenly hit with memes and gifs of all the flaws of this drink, pointing out the tragic error of allowing their kids to consume such an abomination.

The Unicorn Frappuccino is, apparently, unhealthy.

In other breaking news: Water is wet.

Couched in concern, social media posts railing against the drink have been almost as prevalent as the ones extolling its glorious unicorn virtues.

The horror over the punch packed by this chemical-laden sugar bomb is almost more epic than the day the collective internet realized the Pumpkin Spice Latte wasn’t actually made from its namesake gourd (and incidentally, has almost as much sugar as the Unicorn). How could we do this to our bodies? How could we allow our kids to consume it? And heaven forbid you actually ENJOY the thing! What self-destructive madness!

It’s enough. 

Maybe I place too much faith in my fellow man (and mom). Maybe I hold on to the belief that most people in this world are doing the best they can, agonizing over making the right decisions for themselves and the people they love. Maybe I give people too much credit, but I am fairly certain that no one busted over to their favorite barista expecting a cup full of chia seeds, natural juices, and magical, sugarless whip. Because pretty much no one ever goes to Starbucks for just a cup of ice water.  We know what we’re getting into and we accept the consequences of our actions.

Shaming, especially publicly, isn’t going to change any of that. No matter how it’s presented, shaming is neither productive nor constructive. It smacks of superiority, of “knowing better” or being above the unwashed masses. Moms have it hard enough – they shouldn’t have to hide or justify our personal decisions from our peers. They shouldn’t need to defend ourselves for having a little fun. There’s no need to put them under fire for sharing a snippet of their lives, that may or may not include a high-calorie, high-sugar, technicolor frozen drink. Judgments should rarely be made over a mere snippet.

Moderation is key to so many things. In our home, we try to eat well and stay active. But, I’m going to be honest. There are days when I eat cookies for breakfast, or where we hit the drive-through window on the way to baseball, or when we don’t get off the couch and watch TV all day. It doesn’t make me a bad parent, and it doesn’t derail what we do well the rest of the time. Which is why, in the grand scheme of things, this blended creme drink shouldn’t even be a blip on the radar.

The Unicorn Frappuccino will never make an appearance in our lives, for the simple reason that it is now sold out near me. Perhaps, if there had been any interest, we might have shared one and moved on with our normal lives, without so much as a backward glance. (I will make no such promises if a Chocolate Unicorn Frap appears. Starbucks, make note). 

The outrage will soon die, because April 23 is the end date for this particular specialty menu item, and even more so because it seems that the Unicorn Frappuccino is sold out at most Starbucks locations. But something else will surely come prancing down the pike to whip the mom-shaming into a frenzy all over again. 

Let’s be better than that. Say no to the Unicorn if you want for whatever reason moves you, but let’s not shame the ones who said yes.

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