Coffee Mug Addiction

Brother, can you spare a cup? 10? 20?

Coffee Mug Addiction

Coffee mug addiction. It is America’s not-so-hidden disease. It’s costly and dangerous AND no household is immune. Where once there was mere cabinet clutter, now there is a coffee cup contagion.

Be honest. Do you recognize a loved one in the following words and thoughts? Do you recognize yourself?

“Must stop.”

“Must not buy another one.”

“I don’t need it. “But I want it. “I want it bad.”

“It’s so cute. It’s so clever. Funny. Perfect.”

Admit it. You know the words. You’ve said the words. You’ve felt the feelings, and yes, you too have succumbed to the irresistible urge.

Admit it. You’re addicted. No, It’s not cocaine, nicotine, or caffeine. It’s mug mania, that insatiable, irresistible urge to buy yet another, unneeded cup.

That’s right. You or someone you love is addicted to mugs. And you’ve got the dangerously overflowing shelf of too many coffee and tea cups to prove it.

Coffee Mug Addiction

And you’re not alone. Go into ANY store, ANYWHERE at ANY hour, temptation looms, calling out to you with cute colors, cute designs, cute slogans; calling out to you like the sirens who temptedUlysses, with their winsome words, “Buy me. Buy me. You know you want me!” I mean who among us can resist a good Shakespeare or Garfield quote?

Stranded at The Strand

My moment of truth came one month ago during our annual anniversary/holiday trip to NYC. Stepping into the famed Strand Bookstore – “home to 18 miles of books,”  where did I begin my “literary” sojourn? In the literary section? Amid the history tomes? Photography? No, I went straight to the mugs!

Then, at the Guggenheim Museum, where we arrived just 15 minutes before closing, we were too late to pay the pricey admissions fee, but not too late to run through the gift shop. Again, I sailed by the books, dissed and dismissed the mobiles, passed the posters without a passing glance, and went straight to the cups, where my devotion was rewarded with the amazing sight of a Guggenheim spiral-shaped sculptural mug.

“Stop me, Lord!”

The funny thing is, I even don’t drink coffee! Neither does Handsome Hubby. So, the logical question, you rightly ask, is “How many mugs do you need?”

In reply, I say, ask not what your mugs can do for you, but ask what … Well, I haven’t really figured out a reply. I just like mugs.

And apparently, I am not alone in my mug madness. Type the words “too many coffee mugs” into the Google search bar and you will find enough links to enough articles about cup decluttering and finding new uses for old mugs to fill that kitchen shelf you just emptied .. articles like “Declutter Coffee Mugs & Other Cups {15 Minute Mission}” and “10 Uses for Coffee Mugs When They Are Taking Over Your Cabinets.”

The Pledge, Part I

As for me? Standing right there in the middle of the Guggenheim Museum, amid the crowds, the sales staff, and the security guards, I made a pledge. “This sorry mug (me) will not another mug buy during this ENTIRE trip to NYC.” Surely, I could control myself for eight days?

Well, it was tough, but I was strong. I kept my credit card in my purse as I avoided the come-hither call of holiday mugs at the drugstore, souvenir mugs at all eight (!) Broadway and Off-Broadway shows I saw, and the artsy mugs at the Metropolitan Art Museum and MOMA.

I only waivered once and – mid-trip – placed one really irresistible, have-to-have-it mug in my Amazon shopping cart. BUT I didn’t buy that mug until five seconds after the airplane touched ground in California! So, I followed the letter, if not the spirit of my pledge, right? Technically that’s not cheating, right? And besides, it’s the perfect mug for a writer! See for yourself!

(And now that I’ve posted the photo in my blog, it’s probably even a tax-deductible business expense, not a  pathetic, predictable slip-up down the manic path of mug addiction.)

The Pledge, Part II

I knew we were a nation of caffeine-aholics (Caffeinated and Infatuated), but I only recently focused on this cup collecting problem. Think about it. How many cups does a household need? One for each member of the family? Maybe two or three if you run the dishwasher infrequently? Maybe an extra six … or eight … or even 10 if you entertain a lot? I mean anything more than that is sheer mug madness! Profligacy in porcelain and pottery. Certified ceramic kookiness.

So, given it’s the start of a new year and the time for resolutions, I am resolving to buy nary a single solitary new mug in 2019. Won’t you stand united with me in this era of over-caffeinated cup temptation? Together we can stop mug-egeddon. Please look deep into your soul – and into your cupboard – and take the no-more-mugs-shall-I-buy pledge! Your pocketbook and your shelves will thank you!

And from The New Yorker comes this coffee mug contribution:

3 replies
  1. marymooney
    marymooney says:

    We are also diseased. Himself got me two mugs for Christmas. I asked if he had lost his mind. Told him to take two out of the cabinet but he can’t choose! Geeze!

    • Karen
      Karen says:

      Careful with that strategy … Your beloved “Himself” could make you follow that rule next time you buy a couple more decorative pillows, you know the ones “just for show.” In the interests of fairness and/or good behavior modeling, you might have to do so AND that would be a tragedy! Until then, Happy New Year … and careful opening the kitchen cabinet!


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