Dumb Starbucks: Store can’t use protected name, real company says
Starbucks is looking into a parody store that mocks the Seattle coffee giant with fake green and white cups and a full menu.
“Dumb Starbucks,” which the company said is not affiliated with actual the Starbucks, quietly opened Friday in Los Feliz and drew lines of people looking to grab a free cup of coffee or a selfie in front of the store.
“We are evaluating next steps and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark,” said Zack Hutson, a spokesman for the company.
A list of frequently asked questions pegs the legality of the mock store to “parody art” — an art gallery where the coffee is considered the art.
The store looks nearly identical to a typical Starbucks location -- though it lacks the free Wi-Fi -- with tumblers and CDs, including “Dumb Jazz Standards,” on display.
Drinks are served in cups that mock the company’s logo, while pastries are pulled from display cases straight from their Vons packaging. The menu features such offerings as Dumb Iced Coffee, Dumb Frappuccinos and Wuppy Duppy Latte.
But only iced coffees and lattes were available — free of charge — to promote the new business, an upbeat barista told customers Sunday after apologizing for the wait. Just two workers staffed the busy store, and merchandise was being delivered throughout the afternoon.
“They’re definitely not serving at Starbucks’ pace,” joked customer Jeffrey Eyster, 43, who hadn’t even made it to the door after about an hour in line.
As word of the shop spread on social media, curious customers came to snap selfies in front of the sign or photos of the line of people wrapped around the small strip mall. Those who cut to avoid a several-hour wait were promptly shamed out of line.
Rumors about the store’s origin — a marketing ploy, an art installation or perhaps the work of a comedian — percolated through the crowd.
“It’s a ballsy move on their part,” said Ilya Khramtsou, 24. “It feels like they’re sticking it to the company. Everybody drinks Starbucks coffee like zombies.”
“She drinks it every day,” he said, laughing as he motioned to his girlfriend, Alisa Bazhenova, 24.
The couple stopped by to snap a quick photo but decided not to stay once they saw the line.
Those who did wait in line Sunday said they came for the novelty, assuming it would be shut down before the weekend was over.
“It’s a very L.A. thing,” said Connor Sweeney, 24. “We’ll see how long it lasts.”
Maro Ishimoro, who owns a salon next door, said people were lined up early, even before the shop had opened for the day. He saw a film crew there a few days ago but wasn’t sure what was happening.
“What’s going on? What is this, coffee?” an incredulous neighbor asked patrons, poking his head inside the store and turning to stare at the crowd. “There’s coffee right there,” he said, pointing to a bar next door.
Those looking to wait in line can find the shop — for now — at 1802 Hillhurst Ave.
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