Some might say 2016 was the year conspiracy theories broke out. Yes, they’ve always lurked in the background, serving as the basis for self-published ‘zines and popular History Channel shows, but the most recent election really brought conspiracy theories front and center. It’s not necessarily a good thing: Most of these far-fetched ideas deserve the negative connotation the phrase “conspiracy theory” has taken on over the years. And yet, every now and then you come across a conspiracy theory that is so compelling, it’s hard to ignore. (I’m looking at you, Freemasons!)
And with that, I present to you the video above. Though YouTube has become home to more conspiracy theory content than your local public access host ever dreamed of, this particular video actually comes from Super Deluxe, primarily a comedy brand. However, comedic or not, the clip entitled “Starbucks Is Misspelling Your Name On Purpose” does something all conspiracy theories have in common: It touches a nerve.
“Each year, millions of people all around the globe have their names misspelled on cups of Starbucks coffee. They take pictures of their butchered names and post them on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, wherever,” the video points out, before later concluding, “That’s right, sheeple — you’ve been giving Starbucks free advertising for years.”
As purely speculative, undocumented and unresearched conspiracy theories go, this one is about as good as they get. Except it overlooks one major problem: It assumes that the tens of thousands of Starbucks baristas out there actually care enough to not only adhere to this covert corporate policy, but also keep it a secret. Come on, these people don’t even care enough to spell your name right.
As someone on the Starbucks section or Reddit wrote, “It's not some deep corporate subliminal advertising, it's bored people working in coffee shops trying to entertain themselves.” Or at least that’s what an anonymous internet user going by the handle “getName” wants you to believe.