By Kenji Koyama
Canadian comedian and writer Nathan Fielder founded Dumb Starbucks, a new coffee shop on Feb. 9. It stood out as an intuitive model for a coffee shop because of the serious business that Starbucks runs.
Starbucks has thousands of coffee selections to choose from, and many people that go there order a drink with at least four specifications. As a Starbucks consumer, I love the choices, but sometimes I just want a regular coffee to wake me up.
Dumb Starbucks takes the actual Starbucks and pokes fun at it in a satirical manner. It seems unoriginal at first glance, but the mocking business takes it to ridiculous levels by making its store look exactly the same, except everything on the menu has “dumb” stamped in front of it.
The company’s first store was built in Los Feliz, Calif., opened Feb. 9 and created quite the commotion.
According to the LA times, “Los Feliz was buzzing Sunday afternoon as crowds of people lined up for hours to grab a cup of coffee from, uh, ‘Dumb Starbucks.’”
The company went viral, and many people began to share their thoughts on the business. The real Starbucks claimed that it is “looking into it,” according to Megan Adams, spokeswoman for Starbucks.
Dumb Starbucks claimed that it is allowed to operate its company due to a parody law that protects intellectual property. Whether the company is legally able to operate or not, it caused Starbucks to investigate.
According to a Starbucks email to USA Today, “We are evaluating next steps, and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.”
Starbucks has made it evident that it does not want this business to continue what it is doing. However, the corporation may not realize that Fielder is simply trying to be funny, and needs to just laugh it off.
But they may not have to take action after all. The health department has shut down the company because of the claim that they have been serving coffee without a health permit.
It seems like Starbucks’ choice to keep quiet was a smart move.
Dumb Starbucks is not officially out of business, but if it cannot make an argument to the health department, it can be shut down for good, and Fielder can face up to six months in jail.
This whole situation has been confusing, yet intriguing. Many think that this is an awful attempt at being funny, and they may be right. It may seem immature and unclassy due to the fact that it is an idea that anyone could think of.
However, the people who lined up for free cups of coffee and pastries bought from the grocery store kept coming all day. Fielder even put out a YouTube video explaining the fact that this was serious and not a joke. But who knows if you can take that seriously when he is a comedian and may be trying to take his act further than most comics.
Whatever the motive, Fielder made a bold commitment to break the natural order of coffee shops. Some places have made fun of Starbucks in the past, but not as blatantly as this guy. Fielder took the logo and merchandise, even the CDs, and stamped “dumb” in front of them.
He may have started a business trend to think differently when making a company, and although originality may be lost, there still is the element of creativity.