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Dumb Starbucks


Photo: Jed Kim/KPCC

Paying $4 for a cup of coffee? That's dumb ... or maybe not. Maybe it's genius because that's basically the premise of Starbucks, the world's largest coffeehouse company worth over $56 billion that we know and love.

Similarly, the jury is out whether this next venture is dumb or genius: a coffeehouse called Dumb Starbucks has recently opened in the city of Los Feliz, California, as reported by Los Angeles radio station KPCC. It looks and feels just like a regular Starbucks, except everything has the word "dumb" in front of it.


Photo: Christina House/LA Times

Dumb Starbucks' menu includes "Dumb Iced Coffee," "Dumb Frappucinnos," "Dumb Espresso," and so on, that you can buy and drink while listening to "Dumb Norah Jones" and "Dumb Jazz Standards" CD.

The story of the Dumb Starbucks went viral on social media just days after the store opened, and people flocked to check it out - some waiting hours to get get their drinks, which are free at the time being.

"They're definitely not serving at Starbucks pace," customer Jeffrey Eyster, 43, after waiting about an hour in line, said to Samantha Schaefer of The Los Angeles Times.

... before taking a photo of themselves in front of the store's logo

But what is Dumb Starbucks? Is it a real business or a prank? Perhaps a marketing ploy or even - gasp - a reality TV? And how could they get away with using Starbucks name and logo so blatantly?

From the store's frequently asked questions, it's an "art gallery" and that the coffee its patrons are buying are "works of art."

According to the Wall Street Journal, the store was staffed with just two barristas who were immediately overwhelmed by the demand. One barrista who identified herself as Amber said that she got the job from a Craigslist post, and shrugged the questions of whether Dumb Starbucks is an art installation. "I don't know. What is art? Maybe serving coffee is art."

Megan Adams, a spokesperson from the real Starbucks said to KPCC, "It's obviously not a Starbucks," and that the company is "looking into it."

In the meantime, customers continue to line up for hours to experience Dumb Starbucks while it's still there. Megan Gillmore of Glendale summed it best "We figured it wasn't going to be here very long ... before they get sued."


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