What is it with red cups?

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Cynical Jawa
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What is it with red cups?

Postby Cynical Jawa » Thu May 22, 2008 12:27 pm UTC

Seriously! This has been bugging me for a while. Whenever you see pictures/videos (real or fictional) of a party at an American universities, you can't move for the bright red plastic cups. Are there no other cups in existence in the States? Does noone drink from the can/bottle, or are American parties a keg-only affair? Or is it just an unspoken tradition?

Curiosity, ya know :)

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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Azrael » Thu May 22, 2008 12:30 pm UTC

The disposable plastic cup options tend to be clear, red or blue -- and they come in large bags that last a while.

Clear has a few impracticalities when underage drinking is occurring. And I guess blue is just lame?

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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Kikral » Thu May 22, 2008 1:04 pm UTC

It is sort of an unspoken tradition. Whenever you go to a social event, the beer is either served by bottle, or in the cups. I find the cups to be really annoying, as I can never find my drink after I set it down...
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby quintopia » Thu May 22, 2008 1:12 pm UTC

frat party = plastic dixie cups. it has never been any other way.

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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby crazyjimbo » Thu May 22, 2008 1:25 pm UTC

Because Beer Pong just doesn't work with bottles?

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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Thu May 22, 2008 1:38 pm UTC

Kikral wrote:It is sort of an unspoken tradition. Whenever you go to a social event, the beer is either served by bottle, or in the cups. I find the cups to be really annoying, as I can never find my drink after I set it down...


I've never been to parties myself like the ones described here. The couple of times I have been in the presence of a million plastic cups all the same color, I'd just either get another one if I can't remember where I put my previous one, or else not put it down, if at all possible. One habit I have is if I'm at any social gathering where the presence of red (or blue) plastic cups is inevitable, I try to keep mine covered, to prevent any "spiking" or tampering of my beverage. I don't drink alcohol, so I'd be wary of people trying to slip some into my drink, or some kind of drug.

I think the red cups are used because they're usually more prominently displayed in the grocery store, and they seem to grab someone's attention quicker than the blue, yellow, or clear cups.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby mobikwa » Thu May 22, 2008 1:44 pm UTC

We use red cups at my house simply because they sell 250 of them for 6 dollars. Or you could get the blue ones at 2 bucks for 20 of them.

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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby MoonBuggy » Thu May 22, 2008 1:45 pm UTC

I'm amazed I've never even thought about this; the only receptacle I ever think of beer coming in is a can or a pint glass. From Azrael's comment on clear cups, I guess that's maybe why cups are in and cans with prominent beer company logos are out?

PatrickRsGhost wrote:I don't drink alcohol, so I'd be wary of people trying to slip some into my drink, or some kind of drug.

But... that'd be a waste of perfectly good alcohol and/or drugs!
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Endless Mike » Thu May 22, 2008 2:07 pm UTC

In large parties, buying a keg or two is significantly more economical than buying bottles or cans of anything but the cheapest of beer (and possibly even then), since you can get around 200 servings out of a less than $100 keg of something at least somewhat decent. So now, you need a receptacle for your beer, and the red plastic cups are usually very prominant and cheap at the store. Blue cups are also used, but less common.

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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Azrael » Thu May 22, 2008 2:10 pm UTC

PatrickRsGhost wrote:I try to keep mine covered, to prevent any "spiking" or tampering of my beverage. I don't drink alcohol, so I'd be wary of people trying to slip some into my drink, or some kind of drug.
I'm all for personal responsibility and vigilance etc etc, but I really do think you've strayed into the realm of unjustified paranoia.

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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby d3adf001 » Thu May 22, 2008 2:23 pm UTC

i prefer the blue cups myself, i find the red to be annoying. at a certain point i dont care so its all good.

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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Thu May 22, 2008 2:49 pm UTC

MoonBuggy wrote:I'm amazed I've never even thought about this; the only receptacle I ever think of beer coming in is a can or a pint glass. From Azrael's comment on clear cups, I guess that's maybe why cups are in and cans with prominent beer company logos are out?


Pretty much. Another thing you have to take into account is that where there's a party, someone's going to be taking pictures. It wasn't a big deal ten or twenty years ago, unless the pictures get circulated around the school in some way, or if one kid's parents find them in their album or a dresser drawer. Nowadays with MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, and other sites where people would share such content with the rest of the world and then some, colored plastic cups would, for the most part, hide any evidence that alcohol was served at said brouhaha.

There was a big to-do last year or so about a group of students who were suspended from sports for posting pictures of a party on a MySpace page. The pictures showed everyone at the party holding the red plastic cups. Some teacher or principal managed to get to the site, and thought there was beer or alcohol in those cups. The pictures were a bit misleading: the kids did look drunk. They probably weren't. They were probably just pretending to look or act drunk in order to make the pictures look more entertaining. For all we know (and I think the kids claimed it), those cups could have had sodas of various flavors, or Kool-Aid. As long as it wasn't a Jim Jones Cocktail.

Then another kid at the same high school hosted a root beer kegger a month or two later to make fun of the school. It just goes to show that those red cups in the pictures may have alcohol, they may not. Don't judge a cup by its color. That's racist.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Rat » Thu May 22, 2008 3:21 pm UTC

eh... alcohol blows..
but the cups serve a number of porpoises.
i'm not exacitally sure why they're red most of the time..
but if you're hosting a party with a keg or beer pong, cans and bottles don't work.

if you show up at a kegger you have to pay for the cup in order to get the beer.. it works as a way to make back some money unless too many people sneak in their own cups..
(edit: or a dirty dirty profit.)

and they make good targets for beer pong.. as was mentioned.

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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Wanderingcowboy » Thu May 22, 2008 4:01 pm UTC

quintopia wrote:frat party = plastic dixie cups. it has never been any other way.

Any upstanding fraternity uses Solo cups. We have standards. :P
Rat wrote:if you show up at a kegger you have to pay for the cup in order to get the beer.. it works as a way to make back some money unless too many people sneak in their own cups..
(edit: or a dirty dirty profit.)

And we have never made people pay for cups to drink our beer. We have maybe 2 or 3 parties a semester where we have people pay $5-$10 to get in, but the high majority of our parties are free to the students.
Last edited by Wanderingcowboy on Thu May 22, 2008 4:04 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby MoonBuggy » Thu May 22, 2008 4:02 pm UTC

Is there a red cup hierarchy that us non-Americans are missing out on?
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Jessica » Thu May 22, 2008 4:48 pm UTC

mobikwa wrote:We use red cups at my house simply because they sell 250 of them for 6 dollars. Or you could get the blue ones at 2 bucks for 20 of them.

This is the most logical reason for red cups.
I used white ones at my house, but they're more expensive than 250 for $6. Then again, I didn't see any of the 250 for $6. If I did, I'd buy those. Best bang for your buck.

Why plastic cups? Easy clean, don't have to worry about good things being broken. Fuck easy clean alone is a good enough reason to keep a bunch of plastic cups around your house in case of spontaneous party.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Thu May 22, 2008 4:57 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:
mobikwa wrote:We use red cups at my house simply because they sell 250 of them for 6 dollars. Or you could get the blue ones at 2 bucks for 20 of them.

This is the most logical reason for red cups.
I used white ones at my house, but they're more expensive than 250 for $6. Then again, I didn't see any of the 250 for $6. If I did, I'd buy those. Best bang for your buck.

Why plastic cups? Easy clean, don't have to worry about good things being broken. Fuck easy clean alone is a good enough reason to keep a bunch of plastic cups around your house in case of spontaneous party.


I think the 250 for about $6 makes more sense than anything else said about them, even what I said. I bought a pack of 100 of them for about $2 or $3 at our local Ingles some time ago. I live with my parents, but I use them upstairs in my room if I buy milk, tea, or a bottle of Coke and put it in my fridge. That way, I don't have to go downstairs to the kitchen and grab a glass just to drink a glass of milk or tea. Besides, carrying an empty glass upstairs looks awkward.

I also agree with the easy clean-up. If no one tosses theirs into the trash on the way out, you can just gather them all up, empty them out (if there's anything left), and stack them up and toss them. Takes up less room in the garbage can that way. Also, if any of your party guests decide to leave the house with their cup, you're only out a couple of pennies, or whatever the unit price per cup would be. If you paid $6 (including sales tax) for 250 cups, that would amount to >$0.03 per cup. I think most people could afford that.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Moo » Thu May 22, 2008 5:03 pm UTC

We were a little unaware of environmental factors then but at university we used to have polystyrene cups and a few felt-tips so everyone could write/draw on theirs to distunguish from others.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Rat » Thu May 22, 2008 5:31 pm UTC

Wanderingcowboy wrote:
Rat wrote:if you show up at a kegger you have to pay for the cup in order to get the beer.. it works as a way to make back some money unless too many people sneak in their own cups..
(edit: or a dirty dirty profit.)

And we have never made people pay for cups to drink our beer. We have maybe 2 or 3 parties a semester where we have people pay $5-$10 to get in, but the high majority of our parties are free to the students.


heh.. i meant to stick "usually" in front of that, but i guess that isn't true of your supreme parties.
even so, you dont have to get all italicized about it. $5 for the cup to drink the beer and $5 to get into the party is basically the same thing.

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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Wanderingcowboy » Thu May 22, 2008 5:32 pm UTC

Rat wrote:
Wanderingcowboy wrote:
Rat wrote:if you show up at a kegger you have to pay for the cup in order to get the beer.. it works as a way to make back some money unless too many people sneak in their own cups..
(edit: or a dirty dirty profit.)

And we have never made people pay for cups to drink our beer. We have maybe 2 or 3 parties a semester where we have people pay $5-$10 to get in, but the high majority of our parties are free to the students.


heh.. i meant to stick "usually" in front of that, but i guess that isn't true of your supreme parties.
even so, you dont have to get all italicized about it. $5 for the cup to drink the beer and $5 to get into the party is basically the same thing.

...sorry... I just really like italics. They look pretty and make me sound important.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Sebeka2 » Thu May 22, 2008 5:47 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:Why plastic cups? Easy clean, don't have to worry about good things being broken. Fuck easy clean alone is a good enough reason to keep a bunch of plastic cups around your house in case of spontaneous party.

Right. Those cups are a household staple in my area. The assumption that redcup = booze is a new one for me; I use them for snacks, popcorn, icecream, ice scoopers, water, pretty much anything except booze, excluding Hairy Buffalo parties.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Thu May 22, 2008 10:18 pm UTC

If I have to put mine down, I put it out of the way and/or in an unusual spot, so I can identify it by location. If said spot is somewhat difficult to reach, bonus, as this helps prevent tampering and can help with conversation if someone sees me reach for it ("lol, why'd you put it way up there?"). If I have a sharpie on me (I often do), or a pen if it's a Styrofoam* cup, I might also doodle on it. If I'm bored at work I often draw crazy shit all over a cup.

Easiest method though is to not put it down until it's nearly empty. Then if I've lost track of which one it is, or suspect someone has done something to it, I just get another one. If there's been a couple others set next to it, this can also help in identifying it (it's the only empty one).

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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby quintopia » Thu May 22, 2008 11:38 pm UTC

Wanderingcowboy wrote:
quintopia wrote:frat party = plastic dixie cups. it has never been any other way.

that's what i meant to say. except of course i meant to say the off-brand grocery store variety.

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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Stewart1 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:43 pm UTC

d3adf001 wrote:i prefer the blue cups myself, i find the red to be annoying. at a certain point i dont care so its all good.

Yes dude blue are also looking nice but i like the red cups,.

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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby eSOANEM » Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:02 am UTC

Rat wrote:but the cups serve a number of porpoises.


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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Endless Mike » Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:06 pm UTC

MoonBuggy wrote:Is there a red cup hierarchy that us non-Americans are missing out on?

Yes. Red > Blue > Yellow. Clear is acceptable if you're sure it'll be a closed party and/or no minors around. I've found clear plastic cubs are not as strong as their colored counterparts, however, and would never bother with them myself.

Also, I recently ran into the greatest red Solo cup innovation: there's a thing you peel off to find a square of black something to scratch your name into. No more losing your cup!

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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:01 pm UTC

Cynical Jawa wrote:Does noone drink from the can/bottle, or are American parties a keg-only affair?

Frequently kegs, but you also need a place to mix things with rum or vodka.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby TaintedDeity » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:08 pm UTC

That's what your mouth is for.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Jessica » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:21 pm UTC

There are also white cups. And, if I remember correctly, the coloured cups actually cost more last time I checked. But, that's probably a marketing thing.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:27 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
PatrickRsGhost wrote:I try to keep mine covered, to prevent any "spiking" or tampering of my beverage. I don't drink alcohol, so I'd be wary of people trying to slip some into my drink, or some kind of drug.
I'm all for personal responsibility and vigilance etc etc, but I really do think you've strayed into the realm of unjustified paranoia.

Not unjustified. Dropping a shot or two of alcohol in drinks does happen, but it's usually done "for the lulz" rather than any particular malice. The person doing it is usually utterly wasted themselves. I can very much imagine drunk people finding it hilarious to put a shot of vodka in the drink of a teetotaller just to see what would happen.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Jessica » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:37 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:
Azrael wrote:
PatrickRsGhost wrote:I try to keep mine covered, to prevent any "spiking" or tampering of my beverage. I don't drink alcohol, so I'd be wary of people trying to slip some into my drink, or some kind of drug.
I'm all for personal responsibility and vigilance etc etc, but I really do think you've strayed into the realm of unjustified paranoia.
Not unjustified. Dropping a shot or two of alcohol in drinks does happen, but it's usually done "for the lulz" rather than any particular malice. The person doing it is usually utterly wasted themselves. I can very much imagine drunk people finding it hilarious to put a shot of vodka in the drink of a teetotaller just to see what would happen.
Huh. I guess I've never been at a party with douchebags like that before. I generally only get drunk with people I know, or at least a large contingent of people I know around strangers.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby podbaydoor » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:40 pm UTC

Yeah...when I went to college, we were frequently bombarded with official advice and informal advice from friends to always watch your drink. Everyone usually knew somebody who knew somebody who was roofied. It became kind of a protective thing - friends would watch friends' drinks for them, or encourage them to just get another drink instead of picking up their unattended cup again.

This kind of thing wasn't necessary at gatherings with closer friends, but was absolutely standard for large parties with lots of groups who didn't know each other.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:42 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:Huh. I guess I've never been at a party with douchebags like that before.


I have. First year of university, some of my flatmates dropped a double shot of vodka in my beer (effectively doubling the alcohol concentration in my pint). I pretended to find it as amusing as they did.

Edit: they're not really douchbags, they were just drunk. When you're drunk, you do stupid and occasionally very dodgy shit. It happens.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby podbaydoor » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:46 pm UTC

Yeah, that's also a reason why I only took mixed drinks from people I knew.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Endless Mike » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:56 pm UTC

Yeah, when I was in college, I remember lots and lots of flyers and such saying not to accept drinks from people you don't know, and to always watch your drink. (Generally targeted at women.) I don't know that I knew anyone who had been drugged, but I think it's a case where it doesn't take much effort to prevent it.

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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Jessica » Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:03 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:
Jessica wrote:Huh. I guess I've never been at a party with douchebags like that before.


I have. First year of university, some of my flatmates dropped a double shot of vodka in my beer (effectively doubling the alcohol concentration in my pint). I pretended to find it as amusing as they did.

Edit: they're not really douchbags, they were just drunk. When you're drunk, you do stupid and occasionally very dodgy shit. It happens.

I disagree about them not being douchebags. But that's me. If you're a dick when you're drunk, that isn't an excuse. You were still a dick, you just hide it better when sober.

But that's me. I don't excuse behavior because of drugs/alcohol. They may not have meant it, but they still did it, which sucks.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:09 pm UTC

Uh, yes, but there's that whole 'impaired judgement' thing to consider. I'll agree that being a douchy drunk doesn't excuse the behavior, but it doesn't mean you're inherently a douche.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Jessica » Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:28 pm UTC

We can agree to disagree if you'd like. There is some impairment, but certain things really don't get you off from douchebag status. When slapping a friends back you slap too hard because you're drunk is acceptable. Spiking people's drink is unacceptable.

I've been drunk, and high as a reference.
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:05 pm UTC

Again, I'm not suggesting that the behavior is acceptable, just that the ability to recognize acceptable behavior becomes impaired. Sure, climbing that trellis seemed a great idea...
In short, spiking a buddies drink with more booze than they were expecting, in my opinion, can run the gamut from hilarious to totally unacceptable. Without context, or knowing Sly, it's hard to tell where it falls.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

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SecondTalon
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Re: What is it with red cups?

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:24 pm UTC

I understand what Izzy's saying. You have a person who on one level thinks it'd be hilarious to get someone unexpectedly drunk. The sensible part of them reminds them of how monumentally stupid this is, and so they'd never do it.... sober.

Once they've had a few too many and the Sensible part's gone to take a nap, Captain Comedy there is the only one at the helm, and Captain Comedy's a dick.

So is the person a dick? Yes. In the same sense that every person in the Southern US is a racist. The person (and most people in the South) just know they're dicks and do what they can to not be dicks.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.


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