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Starbucks is a name and a logo that is impossible to miss. They pop up just about everywhere and more and more open each day. This past weekend, in Los Feliz, California, a “Dumb Starbucks” opened for business.
The coffee shop, which does in fact actually serve coffee, looks identical to a usual Starbucks, with the same green mermaid on every sign and cup. The menu is pretty much the same, except the word “dumb” is in front of each drink name. "Dumb Espressos," "Dumb Brewed Coffee," and "Dumb Frappuccinos" are some among the many others featured on the menu. Besides the word “dumb,” the only major difference between the two is that this coffee shop is giving its coffee away for free.
The store features a “dumb FAQ” list and Gawker reports that this makes people aware that all of this is completely legal. It is okay to do this because of parody law. The list says, “By adding the word ‘dumb,’ we are technically ‘making fun’ of Starbucks, which allows us to use their trademarks under a law known as ‘fair use.’”
The dozens upon dozens of people that waited in line for this parody store were receiving coffee in the form of art. The FAQ list explains, “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.”
Southern California Public Radio reported that messages have been left with the people associated with this Dumb Starbucks, but who is running it is unclear and comments have not been returned. Messages were also left with the real Starbucks Corporation, but there have been no responses from them either.
All the baristas working at this “art gallery” were apparently hired from Craigslist. One of the baristas told the Hollywood Reporter that he’d been hired two weeks prior. “Our boss wasn’t prepared for all this, that’s why we’re short staffed.”
People were really interested in the idea but most were just confused. A man told the radio station, “I saw online that there was a Dumb Starbucks sign. One of my friends posted about it, and I live across the street, so I just walked over.” He described the place as “weirdly off-kilter.” He believes it could be an art project or a TV prank show.
The shop already has its own Twitter account, which has over 2,000 followers. A few celebrities, including TV writer Dan Harmon and The Office’s Rainn Wilson have tweeted and put pictures up on Instagram about the location. The shop can be found on Hillhurst Ave in Los Feliz, California.
— Dan Harmon (@danharmon) February 8, 2014
Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons