LOS ANGELES, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A new coffee shop called “Dumb Starbucks” opened over the weekend in Los Angeles’ Los Feliz neighborhood and gave out free coffee to locals who were smart enough to wait in line.
We're now open for business! Visit us at 1802 Hillhurst Ave in Los Angeles. pic.twitter.com/WnVefrYM9b— Dumb Starbucks (@dumbstarbucks) February 7, 2014
“We are aware of it and looking into it,” a Starbucks spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal.
The restaurant offered patrons drinks like “Dumb Vanilla Blonde Roast,” “Dumb Chai Tea Latte,” “Dumb Caramel Macchiato,” “Dumb Venti,” “Dumb Grande,” and “Dumb Tall.” The store also sold “Dumb” CD compilations at the counter.
Enjoy our full menu of coffees and cold drinks pic.twitter.com/wPacrEEH9k— Dumb Starbucks (@dumbstarbucks) February 8, 2014
The store was so busy during its opening weekend that it had to shut down early even though there were still dozens of people waiting to get a free cup of coffee.
According to a “frequently asked questions” handout that is available at the establishment, the restaurant is using the Starbucks Corp. name and logo “for marketing purposes.” The handout claims that what Dumb Starbucks is doing is legal under the “fair use” doctrine.
“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. But that’s for our lawyers to worry about. All you need to do is enjoy our delicious coffee!”
But with the appearance of celebrities over the weekend who tweeted photos of the coffee shop, and a neighbor telling the Los Angeles Times that film crews had been there just a few days before, many are wondering just who the publicity is for.
[Wall Street Journal] [Los Angeles Times]