Starbucks is a lot of things. For one, it's universal. If you were feeling a little drowsy in the middle of an inter-planetary mission, you could probably just pull up Google maps and get Siri to find the closest Starbucks so that you could procure a grande, skinny, caramel macchiato somewhere on Venus.
Starbucks is also so universally recognizable that it doesn't even need to call itself "Starbucks" anymore. It's like Prince, except without the phallic guitar and the blouses.
And, now, Starbucks is officially too famous for its own good. A new coffee shop has popped up in Los Angeles' Los Feliz neighborhood and it's called "Dumb Starbucks." Essentially, the place looks, feels and smells like a Starbucks, except everything says "dumb" in front of it.
You can order a "dumb espresso" or a "dumb Frappuccino." The front of the building says "Dumb Starbucks." Basically, someone decided to use the fair use exemption to trademark law to swipe everything recognizable about The Coffee Shop Formerly Known as Starbucks without actually infringing on the trademark.
Famous people like Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office) and the guy behind Community, Dan Harmon, have posted on social media sites, spreading the good word about Dumb Starbucks.
Enjoy our full menu of coffees and cold drinks pic.twitter.com/wPacrEEH9k
— Dumb Starbucks (@dumbstarbucks) February 8, 2014
For now, the Dumb Starbucks is still operating, though Gawker says that it's been giving its coffee away.
It's that commercial use that may prove pivotal here; as of yesterday Dumb Starbucks were giving away their coffee for free. That may be the most un-Starbucks like thing ever. An actually successful company like them would never do something that dumb. [h/t Gawker]