'Dumb Starbucks' is.. Dumb

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Here’s an example of when a hastily typed joke goes too far: Dumb Starbucks.

This past weekend in L.A., this coffee shop opened in Los Feliz. (That’s not an area familiar with hipness or irony at all, right?)

It offers everything you might expect from your corner Starbucks… except everything is labeled “dumb.” Dumb sizes, dumb frappucinos, even dumb coffeehouse-approved CDs.


That’s the whole joke—it’s dumb, OKAY, with brick-and-mortar real estate, custom-printed cups, menus, napkins, and all sorts of other printed organic matter devoted to getting the details right.


But because this is the internet, nobody in the area could be left out. And this is what happened: a line that took hours to navigate. LOL.


Here’s the thing. If you are waiting in line at Dumb Starbucks, buying “Dumb Starbucks” drinks at “Dumb Starbucks” prices that mimic the exact real thing – you are, uh, what’s the opposite of smart?


There’s a point at which the pendulum of irony swings so far around that you’re back, accidentally,at sincerity, and that’s what this is. Like the Cronut, Dumb Starbucks is the result of people thinking something is lulzy or a novelty until it turns into an actual Thing, and here we are just feeding the hype-cycle ourbouros of it all. Darnit, internet, sometimes we need to just leave things as one-off, 140-character jokes in the digital ether.

A hanging FAQ in the shop says Dumb Starbucks is basically an “art project.”


If the project is conniving social media addicts into wasting their days on a massive in-joke, and getting people to then blog about it, then job well done. Whitney Biennial status for sure. Slow clap, everyone.

Arielle Castillo is Fusion's culture editor, reporting on arts, music, culture, and subcultures from the streets on up. She's also a connoisseur of weird Florida, weightlifting, and cats.