Every fall, Trader Joe’s brings new pumpkin flavored products to its stores, along with some timeless classics. This year you might find pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin pancake and waffle mix, and even pumpkin empanadas. Many pumpkin spice enthusiasts are eager to pick up some of these delicious products from Trader Joe’s, and maybe even stop by Starbucks on the way home for a pumpkin spice latte. If you are a pumpkin spice fanatic, however, you might want to rethink some of these innocent-seeming shopping trips. After years of subjugation, the pumpkins are finally firing back.
On September 29th, not long after Trader Joe’s released its new pumpkin products and just ahead of national pumpkin spice day, the pumpkins filed a lawsuit, suing the massive supermarket chain for copyright infringement and defamation. The pumpkins argue that Trader Joe’s has not only stolen the pumpkin name and used it for financial gain, but used it in such a way as to damage the pumpkins’ good reputation.
We spoke with one of the pumpkin plaintiffs. For privacy reasons, their anonymity is protected.
“It’s just wrong,” said the pumpkin plaintiff. “For years our name has been stolen and posted on labels in the supermarket, stripping us pumpkins of our dignity. I mean, ‘Pumpkin Spice Almond Beverage’? What the hell is that about? They’ve harvested our brothers and sisters only to be pureed in a blender, our true essence disguised by a number of powerful fall spices and mixed in with a milk extracted from almonds?”
When asked what is the true purpose of their species, if not to be consumed by humans, the pumpkin plaintiff responded:
“Hell if I know. What’s the true purpose of your species anyway? Huh? Is your purpose to be blended up and mixed in to a non dairy beverage, or maybe stuffed inside an empanada? I doubt it. All I know is, there’s something better out there for us pumpkins. And we ain’t gonna find it if we keep being reduced to these ridiculous seasonal marketing gimmicks that satisfy some notion of nostalgia. I mean why does everyone get so excited about fall anyway? To pumpkins, fall is the beginning of death. For the summer months we have grown under the sun, happy, yet condemned to a fate of being puréed, carved, or placed on a porch to rot until Christmas. Fall is when we meet our fate. All we’re trying to do with this whole thing is to change a bit of our fate. We’re more than just a seasonal flavor.”
So what is at stake in the lawsuit exactly? The pumpkins are seeking one billion dollars in damages from Trader Joe’s, and any product with the name “pumpkin spice” in it will have to change to “fall spice” or “autumnal spice”. Sources say that the pumpkins are coming for Starbucks next. Autumnal spice latte anybody?
What do you think? Are Trader Joe’s and other companies that are capitalizing off the pumpkin name guilty? Do pumpkins deserve a different fate?
Trader Joe’s and Starbucks have declined to comment.