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Woman nabs $2,500 in Stanley cups, lands in jail

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LA Post: Woman nabs $2,500 in Stanley cups, lands in jail
February 14, 2024
Natasha Dixon - LA Post

Last week, the Roseville Police Department said that on January 17th, a 23-year-old California woman was arrested for reportedly stealing 65 Stanley brand water bottles totaling almost $2,500. Stanley insulated cups and bottles have gained popularity over the past few years, and some of them are now selling online for more than 10 times their original price.

Police say store staff witnessed the woman fill a shopping cart with Stanley water bottles and attempt to leave the store without paying. When staff tried to stop her, she refused and loaded the stolen merchandise into her car. Store staff reported the theft soon after.

A Roseville police officer managed to locate and initiate a traffic stop on the woman's vehicle shortly after. Upon searching her car, officers discovered Stanley items stuffed into the trunk, back seat, and cup holders. In total, she had allegedly stolen 65 Stanley products valued at $2,500 retail.

The woman, who remains unnamed in the report, was arrested at the scene for grand theft charges. “While Stanley Quenchers are all the rage, we strongly advise against turning to crime to fulfill your hydration habits,” the Roseville Police Department stated humorously in their Facebook post about the arrest.

This incident represents the latest example of extreme demand for Stanley brand insulated food and beverages containers, leading people to extreme measures. The company’s iconic vacuum-insulated thermoses and tumblers have seen surging popularity over the last decade. New seasonal editions and specialty collaborations with brands like Starbucks routinely spark frenzies and sell-outs.

The craze hit new heights in 2022 and 2023, with Stanley releasing special limited edition “Quencher” cups modeled after the NHL’s Stanley Cup trophy. The $40 40-ounce oversized cups sparked lines, campouts, and mad dashes at retailers over the summer. Some who managed to get their hands on the coveted drinkware immediately tried to resell them online for upwards of $200 each.

The Quencher cup mania reflects a larger trend of collectors obsessing over everyday items like cups, toys, shoes, and cards on the chance they appreciate to many times their original value. Some experts compare the Stanley hype to the Beanie Babies craze of the 1990s. But unlike stuffed animals, the stainless steel cups have true practical utility for their owners.

It remains unclear exactly why the woman resorted to alleged theft for Stanley products she could easily purchase legally. The Roseville police jokingly advised citizens to refrain from turning to crime simply to obtain trendy drinkware, no matter how popular.

The woman now faces felony grand theft charges that could result in steep fines or jail time in California. Her arraignment has been set for early February.

This incident surprised few who have followed the incredible demand for Stanley items in recent years. But it may mark an escalation showing the lengths some fans will go to get their hands on the coveted cups. Whether this leads to increased security or purchase limits remains to be seen.

In the meantime, the Stanley Cup-inspired Quenchers remain the apple of many drinkware lovers’ eyes. The company just announced the launch of a new camouflage design on February 1st. If the response matches previous releases, they will vanish from store shelves and e-commerce listings in minutes. Savvy sellers who manage to snag one can likely name their price for the coveted container on eBay.

The unidentified woman arrested faces an uncertain future over allegations of ridiculous theft fueled by obsession over a drink container. But her story serves as a bizarre cautionary tale about over-the-top consumerism. When everyday products become so coveted that owners stockpile or treat them as investments, bizarre behavior and economic bubbles emerge.

Perhaps collectors should pause to question what drives the compulsion to accumulate cups and containers. And companies should consider if manufacturing scarcity does more harm than good for their image. Either way, criminal acts take obsession to a dangerous new level that threatens lives and freedom over trivial possessions.

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