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Dumb Starbucks Pop-Up Store Pokes Fun At Coffee Shop Culture

By Alexandra Ward   |   Monday, 10 Feb 2014 07:13 AM

A parody pop-up store called Dumb Starbucks opened in California over the weekend with the apparent function of poking fun at the popular coffee shop's subculture.

But despite having no affiliation whatsoever with the real Starbucks, this Dumb version in Los Feliz is creating a buzz and attracting customers.

At first glance, it looks legit. There's the signature Starbucks green and the mermaid logo. There are the typical sizes — tall, grande, and venti — and all the standard menu variations — white chocolate mocha espressos and iced chai tea lattes.

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There's even a display of jazz CDs seemingly for sale.

So what's the catch?

This "coffee shop" is actually a work of art, at least according to whoever's behind it.

A closer look reveals the label "Dumb" in front of the sign outside the shop, in front of all the menu items, and even on the CDs by the registers.

What's more, nothing's actually for sale. Sure, the people that line up can get a cup of coffee, but it's free. And the barista who takes your order and asks your name was hired a week ago on Craigslist. It's all "art."

"Although we are a fully functioning coffee shop, for legal reasons Dumb Starbucks needs to be categorized as a work of parody art," reads an FAQ sheet posted on Forbes.com. "So, in the eyes of the law, our 'coffee shop' is actually an art gallery and the 'coffee' you're buying is actually the art. But that's for our lawyers to worry about. All you need to do is enjoy our delicious coffee!"

It's not clear yet what the point of it all is or who's the mastermind behind Dumb Starbucks, but people are lining up to experience it firsthand.

The real Starbucks has only briefly commented on the pop-up shop.

"We're aware and this isn't a Starbucks location and we're looking into it," spokeswoman Megan Adams told The Hollywood Reporter.

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