Target shopper tries buying exclusive Stanley Valentine’s Day Cup—gets an unusual message when she scans it at the register

@nikki.camara/TikTok Tada Images/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘Why put it on the shelf???’: Target shopper tries buying exclusive Valentine’s Day Stanley Cup—gets an unexpected message when she scans it at the register

'This happens ALL THE TIME at my Target.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Dec 30, 2023   Updated on Dec 30, 2023, 1:37 pm CST

Stanley cups, no, not the NHL trophies (although this top prize in professional hockey has its admirers also), have legions of devoted fans who swear by the water bottle’s quality. Some have even gone viral by showing how great at serving their purpose the sturdy bottles are. One owner was shocked to see that her cup not only survived a car fire but managed to keep the ice inside of the cup chilled and intact.

Stanley only furthered its legend as a company by gifting the woman a brand-new car for her bit of inadvertent internet marketing, which probably only made folks love the brand even more.

One Stanley fan, a TikTok user named Nikki (@nikki.camara), recently went viral with a post about one of the cups, but not because it was tossed into an active volcano, shot out of a cannon, or survived some extremely worrisome test of abuse—it was because she wasn’t allowed to purchase it.

Nikki thought she was “hitting the jackpot” when she spotted a deep red Valentine’s Day edition of the cup on Target’s shelves. So she grabbed a 40 oz. “The Flowstate Quencher H2.0 Tumbler” in the special edition color and then headed to checkout to try and purchase it—but was met with a message she probably wasn’t expecting to see.

Her 18-second clip begins with a proper show-off of the cup: she spins it around as if she were selling the item on QVC, before the clip quickly cuts to the error message that popped up on the checkout machine: she wasn’t allowed to purchase it until December 31.

A red octagonal sign populated the screen with a discouraging “X” on it, along with a notification that reads, “Item can’t be sold until 12/31 12:00 AM.”

It seems the only way Nikki could’ve taken that cup out of the store would be through a manager’s intervention or a trusty old five-finger discount.

Either that, or camp out for the limited-edition cup on the final day of the year to ensure that no one else stocks up on them to make a killing on the Stanley Cup resale market.

@nikki.camara When you think you are hitting the jackpot….. #ohno #stanley #stanleycup #valentinesday #target #targetfind #targetstanleycup #fail ♬ Oh No – Kreepa

Several viewers shared how they would’ve walked out of the store with the cup that day while still paying.

“I definitely would’ve scanned another Stanley, and placed that one down in a bag and then proceeded on my day,” one user said.

This was a tactic another user said they would’ve adopted as well, commenting, “I wouldn’t ask a manager. I would have gone back, grabbed a different Stanley.. paid.. and proceed on my way.”

Another shopper said that they experienced this same error message while shopping at Target, commenting that they couldn’t understand why a store would place an item out if customers weren’t allowed to purchase it.

“This happened to me with candy…like why put it on the shelf?????” they asked.

Someone else said they encountered a similar issue when they tried to buy a Lego set at another popular retailer. “It happened to me with the LEGO Rose bouquet at Walmart lol,” they said.

Nikki wasn’t the only one disappointed after attempting to purchase the Valentine’s Day cup. One viewer who saw her clip penned, “Listen!!! I was so embarrassed bc I literally smiled all the way to check out just for the clerk to take it away from me.”

Another user said they even attempted to rely on the graciousness of a store manager. Still, it seems like store policy, as far they were concerned, was store policy—and it wasn’t getting breached for anyone, no matter how much they wanted a V-Day Stanley.

“Same thing happened to me I asked the manager if she could at least hold one since they effed up and nope,” they said. “Fingers crossed for the 31st! lol”

It seems that there are Stanley cup lovers who take their devotion to the brand very seriously, and there are TikTokers who’ve posted lengthy videos to show how consumers can spot dupes or imitations.

Others have shared the dupes that they’ve come across, albeit in a bit more positive light, like this one Buc-ee’s customer who noted that the popular gas station grocery store chain offers its own cups that are similar to Stanley’s, but cost $24.99.

This isn’t the first time social media went into an uproar over a Stanley cup in a particular color: there was some controversy over a viral pink-colored variant several TikTokers accused of being fake.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Target and Stanley via email and Nikki via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: Dec 30, 2023, 3:00 pm CST