It's said there is a fine line separating genius and stupidity; you can decide for yourself on which side of that line “Dumb Starbucks” resides.
Dumb Starbucks is a coffeehouse that opened for business in Los Feliz, Calif., last Saturday. Its logo, cups and all other paraphernalia look exactly like that of “classic” Starbucks, only with the word “Dumb” in front of everything. According to the unnamed people behind Dumb Starbucks, adding “Dumb” to everything makes Dumb Starbucks a fair-use parody rather than a trademark violation.
Technically, it's not strictly accurate to say that Dumb Starbucks opened “for business” last weekend. Business, after all, implies some sort of money-making venture, and on Saturday and Sunday, all Dumb Starbucks offerings were free.
On the other hand, Dumb Starbucks is happy to use the phrase. A letter asking and answering various questions, including “So is this a real business?” Answer: “Yes, it is. Although we are a fully functioning coffee shop, for legal reasons Dumb Starbucks needs to be categorized as a work of parody art. So, in the eyes of the law, our 'coffee shop' is actually an art gallery and the 'coffee' you're buying is considered the art.”
DumbStarbucks has a Twittter account which, as of presstime, had only four tweets, all urging people to come by for coffee.
When Southern California Public Radio's KPCC sent reporters to Dumb Starbucks on Saturday, one of the customers-qua-free coffee recipients speculated that it was either a prank or possibly a setup for a reality show.
It's not yet known who is behind Dumb Starbucks, nor who shelled out the money to rent and furnish the storefront space, and buy all the coffee and paraphernalia which was handed out for free. On Sunday, at 2:42 pm (Pacific time), KPCC updated its story to show that a Starbucks spokeswoman was “looking into: the Dumb Starbucks matter, but had no comment other than to confirm Dumb Starbucks is not connected to regular Starbucks.
It's also not known if Dumb Starbucks coffee tastes as scorched as the real thing.
As of Monday afternoon, Starbucks reports that its legal team is trying to identify or contact the Dumb Starbucks owner.