The beginning of autumn ushers in cooler weather, unnecessary Ugg boots, a higher frequency of scarves in Instagram selfies and, of course, pumpkin-spice flavored everything — seriously, everything.
Pumpkin pie is a staple on the tables of many households during the fall season, but when Starbucks introduced the revered Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) in 2003, a mania commenced that led to pumpkin-flavored bagels, gum, Greek yogurt and vodka.
This cultish obsession that everyone seems to have with gourd-flavored products has gotten a little out of hand and it needs to stop. Coffee is one thing, but when people started losing their minds after a rumor of pumpkin-spice condoms hit Twitter, it had clearly become too much.
According to the marketing firm Nielsen, U.S. sales of pumpkin-flavored products increased by 18.8 percent between 2012 and 2013. Additionally, pumpkin sales brought in over $290 million in 2012.
Though pumpkin coffee, cakes and beer seem to be flying off shelves, Nielsen reports pumpkin pie filling still ranks supreme, holding 42.7 percent of all pumpkin sales.
Starbucks has sold over 200 million PSL’s to date, making it the most popular seasonal drink they offer. However, Starbucks managed to offend vegans by not offering a dairy free option, sparking a change.org petition.
In 2012, one Starbucks customer tweeted “My world almost ended this morning when the local Starbucks told me they were out of the Pumpkin Spice Latte,” according to The Wall Street Journal. People are getting genuinely angry over pumpkin, equating a lack of caffeinated artificial pumpkin flavoring with a personal apocalypse.
The Internet has taken full advantage of the ludicrous craze, creating fake products to cover all of the basics: pumpkin spice iPhone 6, pumpkin spice yoga pants and a pumpkin spice Michael Kors bag. However, these don’t really seem too far off from reality.
Next year, the arrival of the PSL will probably happen in mid-July, giving everyone an excuse to throw on flannel and pretend they aren’t suffering from heatstroke. For now, enthusiasts can soak up every bit of the nauseating pumpkin-flavored products while everyone else can surely expect pumpkin spice toothpaste to hit stores next fall.
Brandon Shaik is a senior majoring in psychology.