Starbucks cup against an autumn background with pumpkins
Starbucks launched pumpkin spice on August 27. Despite not correlating with the start of Autumn, launching at the start of school is very effective.
Denise mattox//Flickr

It’s August and fall is here! At least that is what Starbucks would have you believe. Between their pumpkin spice lattes, frappuccinos, cold brew and scones, a really confused farmer walking into their store might double-check his almanac and wonder what the dickens is going on. Thank goodness we aren’t farmers. Perhaps it is time that we blur the lines of when the seasons start and end, and just let corporations decide when we acknowledge their change.

I mean, corporations already dictate most of our lives, why not let them decide when autumn starts too? Sure, it is still hot out, but it will probably still be hot out when Autumn starts in three weeks. In truth, when a season “starts” is totally arbitrary for most people. Does September 21 really feel more autumn-y than the 20? Probably not. Same with June 21, which heralds the start of summer despite the fact that it’s been 90 degrees for almost two months at that point. For the vast majority of us seasons don’t start on dates, but when certain events remind us that something feels different. Changing weather, what the leaves on trees look like, holidays, school starting and increasingly for me, when Starbucks changes their menu. 

Winter starts when I have a darn peppermint mocha in my hand, I refuse to listen to calendars on this matter. So when the marketing nerds at Starbucks say that fall starts August 27, I go along with it. It makes more sense honestly, tie the season to the start of school instead of the solstice date, since the former is more impactful than the latter to most people anyway. I didn’t always feel this way, it takes a bit of work for me to tip my hat to a corporate entity, but they swayed me with the new pumpkin cream cold brew. It tastes like what seeing different colored leaves does to my dopamine starved brain, and now I feel obligated to shill for the corporate season bringers at Starbucks like they are holy pagan spirits.

I don’t mean to just leave the power to bestow seasons solely upon Starbucks, all corporations are welcome to divide and conquer a new calendar for the consumer age. Winter doesn’t end until the date the NFL hosts the Superbowl on. Spring starts when CVS begins stocking Peeps on their shelves. March exclusively exists when McDonalds is selling the Shamrock Shake. If Chevy Truck month can be legitimized as an actual thing, we would all be powerless to stop this. The truth is, corporations already sort of do this anyway, so we might as well start thinking about what we value in our calendars and what the seasons mean for us—because for me autumn now means pumpkin spice.

Vincent Rendon can be reached a or on Twitter @VinceSagebrush.