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Too Much Caffeine
July 19, 2007 8:12 PM   Subscribe

Mark Malkoff visits, buys, and consumes something from all 171 Starbucks in Manhattan in one day. (single link non-youtube video post)
posted by alms (77 comments total)

 
Vapid. That's the word I was searching for.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 8:23 PM on July 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


A win for mindless consumerism!!
posted by bhouston at 8:24 PM on July 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


He didn't even plant any explosives.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:25 PM on July 19, 2007


Plus, he threw out a perfectly good skateboard. Chump.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:27 PM on July 19, 2007


Previously (and somewhat related to this FPP) here on MetaFilter --
Starbucking, the true story of one man's highly caffeinated journey.
Starbucking is a documentary film that follows Winter, a man who has dedicated his life to visiting every Starbucks in the world. He's been to 6,000 Starbucks (and counting) since 1997, and is trying to break his record of visiting 28 Starbucks in a day. So, "sit back, have a cup of joe, and watch as one man defies society's norms in a never ending search for the lady in green."
posted by ericb at 8:28 PM on July 19, 2007


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:28 PM on July 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


Something tells me Jenny's going to be out of a job soon.
posted by iconomy at 8:30 PM on July 19, 2007


wow! fast bean nation.
posted by spaceproject at 8:30 PM on July 19, 2007


Bender: You seem a tad wound up, buddy. And your face is greasy. Real greasy. You been up all night?

Fry: Of course I've been up all night! Not because of caffeine, it was insomnia. I couldn't stop thinking about coffee! I need a nap. (He falls asleep, then wakes up) Coffee time!
posted by spiderskull at 8:32 PM on July 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


I work with a guy who thinks great coffee is Starbucks' foo foo sweet crap. His traveling experiences revolve around finding a Starbucks while on the road. I could see him doing something like this, and yes, asshole is a good descriptor.
posted by Eekacat at 8:32 PM on July 19, 2007


And at the end he learned "...that nothing is impossible."
That is a non sequitur the size of a small country.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:33 PM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


In the end, he dies.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:36 PM on July 19, 2007 [6 favorites]


I saw the title and thought, "wow, that may have been the most worthless day of that man's life."

Then I thought about it a little more, and I started to consider more deeply the type of person and the type of life that might ultimately lead to this happening, and I realized that the opposite was in fact more likely to be true. He has probably generated marginally more revenue for a group of companies today than most other days in his life, and looking at it that way, it's probably been his most productive. After all, this whole thing doesn't speak too well for his creativity.

How utterly depressing.
posted by invitapriore at 8:40 PM on July 19, 2007


His "last store, last store!" reminded me of this YouTube David Blaine spoof.
posted by djgh at 8:47 PM on July 19, 2007


Did we watch the same video? I don't think this was the quest of A MAN WHO LOVED STARBUCKS SO MUCH HE HAD TO GET TO THEM ALL IN THE SAME DAY.

I presumed it was a satire and I viewed it in that context. The sheer number of Starbucks-es in Manhattan is imposing. But they have sort-of public bathrooms and for that reason alone I welcome them. I'll just be buying my coffee next door is all.

But back on track: I viewed this as a kind of Super Size Me without the research, drive or righteous crusading. A Jackass prank. And in that light, it's cute if vapid, no?
posted by GilloD at 8:49 PM on July 19, 2007


I wonder how quickly he would have hit the LD50 for caffeine if he'd actually consumed coffee at all of these shops instead of some BS biscotti?

I had a friend who almost won himself a Darwin award in a misguided attempt to impress the cute girl at the local coffee shop.
I think it was six or seven shots of espresso before he blew chunks and she bolted.
posted by Hadroed at 8:50 PM on July 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Another previous related FPP.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:54 PM on July 19, 2007


This guy is unfunny, though I am impressed he pulled it off. And if you close your eyes he sounds a lot like David Cross doing a "voice."
posted by Falconetti at 9:05 PM on July 19, 2007


I'm appalled that he didn't name the documentary "Venti Me."
posted by charmston at 9:07 PM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


If it was medium strength coffee (brewed) he would have hit is Ld50 at about 130 stores, weak coffee he may have made it all the way. Course this totally neglects possible dehydration due to diuretic properties, or at the seven drinks an hour he'd need to consume I'd imagine his body chemistry would be totally whacked within the first 5 - 10 hours, simple drowning would also be a possibility too I'd think. Espresso would also get you to the ld50 at about 130 stores, less actual liquid too.
posted by edgeways at 9:09 PM on July 19, 2007


Why would you want to visit 171 anything in a day?
posted by mdonley at 9:10 PM on July 19, 2007


Hmm. That guy is kind of a dork.
posted by Brittanie at 9:16 PM on July 19, 2007


How about visiting a single location 171 times in a day? I'm fairly confident my index finger visits my left nostril that often. Wait, is this thing on?
posted by maxwelton at 9:36 PM on July 19, 2007


My personal culinary goal is to do this with pho in the DC area. Except only every so often, you know, when I want some pho. And mostly just at my regular place because theirs is damn good and has lots of cilantro in it. Conveniently, it's close to where I work. I'm pleased to report that I'm on track for success.
posted by Tehanu at 9:43 PM on July 19, 2007


So what's the word for someone who goes to great lengths to highlight their unpaid involvement with a major corporation via their ceaseless consumption of various products all wrapped up in a viral video??

Oh, right.

TOOL
posted by donovan at 9:52 PM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


That was stupid.
posted by zardoz at 9:54 PM on July 19, 2007


The only good part was Mark Linn-Baker's cameo. So ... that's what the dude from Perfect Strangers looks like now.
posted by brina at 10:01 PM on July 19, 2007


His mother must be proud.
posted by Cranberry at 10:04 PM on July 19, 2007


Did you know they create that many starbucks for people with Altzheimers?
posted by DreamerFi at 10:14 PM on July 19, 2007


Manhattan has 171 outlets for Starbuck's: is this crass consumerism or today's equivalent of a telephone booth stuffing? Do we blame the guy who wants to pull a stunt off an omnipresent cultural item? Or do we blame the way society plants corporate labels on the objects around us?
posted by ed at 10:17 PM on July 19, 2007


Something tells me Jenny's going to be out of a job soon.

Yep. The stunt itself is ok, but mentioning the store location and the name of the worker who took his bribe to reopen after closing is the move of a thoughtless jerk.
posted by mediareport at 10:21 PM on July 19, 2007


Did you know they create that many starbucks for people with Altzheimers?

There are actually (at least) two intersections like that in Houston. And within a block of each there is also a grocery store featuring a Starbucks kiosk.

And, to summarize, this video is obviously a pointless gimmick, but bitching about Starbucks is even more pointless. Unless you're going to go Weather Underground on them, save your piss for something more useful. Starbucks has saved the day more than once when an acceptable toilet was needed to sit on.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:23 PM on July 19, 2007


I try not to be a knee-jerk anti-corporate hater when the subject of Starbucks comes up, but when I'm reminded that there are 171 of them in Manhattan alone it really annoys me.
No city needs 171 of anything.
posted by 2sheets at 10:26 PM on July 19, 2007


I hope he makes a film about his bowel movements for the next 48 hours. That would be compelling.

And he should have just hired a pedicab for the day and got it done faster.
posted by peeedro at 10:36 PM on July 19, 2007


I made it through about a minute and a half, with the sound muted. I could tell right away I didn't want to hear whatever this self-satisfied looking geek had to say, or what any of those interviewees had to say, either. I bailed at the point where they cut to a shot of the guy on a pogo stick. I don't have time for this crap! I hate cutesy, stupid, pointless crap like this.

I think now he should visit every single homeless shelter in NY's 5 boroughs and donate whatever money he spent on all that coffee and such to some of the folks in some of those shelters. Just to balance things out a little.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:52 PM on July 19, 2007


Did you know they create that many starbucks for people with Altzheimers?

Is Altzheimer's what you call it when aging addled alt-rock geezers like me can't remember the names of their favorite bands from the '80s?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:55 PM on July 19, 2007


If you, like me, only care about what Mark Linn-Baker looks like, fast-forward to 2:14.
posted by chrominance at 11:17 PM on July 19, 2007


I think what a lot of people don't realize about the proliferation of Starbucks in New York City is the fact that it goes hand-in-hand with the proliferation of public bathrooms.

Try to find one before they broke out like acne in, for instance, the East Village, where, if you get up high enough around Astor Place, you can spot about eight, and about four from ground level.

Fuck whatever your miff is with corporate culture, I've got a place to piss that isn't a back-alley now.
posted by griphus at 11:21 PM on July 19, 2007


I'm just glad that I managed to talk my ex-girlfriend in 1991 out of investing all her hard-earned money in the original Starbucks IPO.
posted by muppetboy at 11:24 PM on July 19, 2007


Hey, all you wannabe filmmakers with your Super Size Me knock-off ideas: save your time and money.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 11:44 PM on July 19, 2007


This made me angry because it was SO CLEARLY a desperate attempt at a publicity stunt. I mean, if you're going to do something stupid, and put it on the internet, then at least do it only for the sake of doing something stupid, not because you want to be famous, and that you hope this will help your comedy career.
posted by geryon at 12:01 AM on July 20, 2007


I think he mistakenly believes that the word Manhattan has three T's or something—he is really putting his elbow on that second T.

"Manhat' Tan!"

And yes, it is a very David Cross Squagels voice.
posted by blueberry at 12:18 AM on July 20, 2007


I blame zefrank for this - that sort of over exaggerated video podcast-y way of speaking. "HEllOO CHILDRENNN! DO YOU like BLENDERSS"!
posted by oxford blue at 12:22 AM on July 20, 2007


Is Altzheimer's what you call it when aging addled alt-rock geezers like me can't remember the names of their favorite bands from the '80s?

No, that's probably more of a reflection of how crappy and ultimately forgettable most 80's music actually was. You're better off forgetting it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:41 AM on July 20, 2007


Fuck whatever your miff is with corporate culture, I've got a place to piss that isn't a back-alley now.

New Yorkers are a practical lot.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:42 AM on July 20, 2007


No, that's probably more of a reflection of how crappy and ultimately forgettable most 80's music actually was.

No more than any other decade. There's always been a surfeit of crap, but also a heaving dogchoking motherlode of great stuff that nobody ever heard on commercial radio or MTV or whatever.

Also, everyone has a special place in their heart for the stuff they heard during their musical coming-of-age, even if some of it was crappy -- for me that was the early-to-mid '80s.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:58 AM on July 20, 2007


"Music was bad in the 80s" is an unfortunate meme.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:35 AM on July 20, 2007


No city needs 171 of anything. et al

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that isn't true. Take your exaggerated inflammatory nonsense somewhere else.
posted by public at 1:56 AM on July 20, 2007


This is an example of why the bad old days under, say the reign of George Bush I, were quite good really.

1. Firstly, making films was pretty expensive and no old media outfit would have stumped up the cash for such a shit idea.

2. Secondly, even if he had been able to self finance, there would have been no outlet to show this crap.

3. Thirdly, there were only a few dozen Starbucks.

Christ, the nostalgia.
posted by rhymer at 1:59 AM on July 20, 2007


exaggerated inflammatory nonsense

Hey, wasn't that an 80's band?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:00 AM on July 20, 2007


stavros writes: Also, everyone has a special place in their heart for the stuff they heard during their musical coming-of-age, even if some of it was crappy -- for me that was the early-to-mid '80s.

Well, I believe I know what you mean, but I can't quite relate to that personally, so I think I'm not part of that "everyone" you mention. My musical coming-of-age commenced at around age 7, I'd say, when I first heard the Beatles, and it hasn't ended yet, at age 50. I'm still coming of age, musically. I have a special place in my heart for a great amount of the great music that I've heard over the last few decades, and the crap music, well, I've always ignored it, to the best of my abilities.

And sorry to the OP for derailing, but this video is really crappy anyway, so if the discussion starts moving toward music, maybe it's for the best. And who knows, maybe we can tie music into this anyway and somehow stay on-topic. For example: anybody heard anything from any bands on this Starbucks label?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:13 AM on July 20, 2007


The traveling salesman problem he has with this is really a non-issue. If all Starbucks are equal can't you just go into one and come out at another one?
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 3:08 AM on July 20, 2007


I think I'm not part of that "everyone" you mention. My musical coming-of-age commenced at around age 7, I'd say, when I first heard the Beatles, and it hasn't ended yet, at age 50. I'm still coming of age, musically.

I started to reply when I was at work, flapjax, but it became beer o'clock so I cancelled out with extreme temporal prejudice, and now that I'm drinking and singing and hopefully not disturbing my long-suffering wife too much, I'm just going to have to say: good for you, man. I hope that whole smarminess thing keeps working for you. I can't be fucked to whip out my dick for a my-musical-juice-is-thicker-than-yours competition. Maybe somebody can page jonmc to the thread or somethin'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:19 AM on July 20, 2007


Yeah, you're all pretty much on the money, but I must admit that I laughed when he chugged coffee. Don't ask me why, though.

I wonder if Starbucks will ever make it to Sweden? It is kind of weird that they aren't here already. No KFC (anymore) and no Starbucks. And I think the only Applebee's here (in Stockholm) shut down after being open for about eight minutes.

Count my blessings, I suppose. But anyway, there's probably only a matter of time until we also have a Starbucks at every corner.

It's kind of funny, but when I went to Chicago a couple of years ago, I felt like I had to visit a Starbucks. Because, to me, they're sort of exotic. I was like "oh, here's one, I have to go in, I've heard so much about them". :)
posted by soundofsuburbia at 4:49 AM on July 20, 2007


One day, not too long ago, I decided to visit 10 coffee shops in as short a time as possible in a misguided attempt to discover which made the best espresso.

Along with two friends, one of whom had come up with the idea, we began our odyssey.

Espresso #1: "mmmm, this is good coffee"

Espresso # 5: "hmmm, I really need something to eat"

Espresso # 8: "I feel weird"

Espresso #10: "My brain hurts"

It was at this point I quit. My two friends went to two more coffee shops, one of them got sick and the other felt depressed for about 24 hours.

I went home, had a glass of water, went to a friend's house and had a five course meal and shared a few bottles of wine. After two courses, I felt fine.

Overall, we discovered where did the best coffee (and where did the best value for money coffee), but I would never do it again.
posted by knapah at 4:54 AM on July 20, 2007


What's "Starbucks?" Where is this place "Manhattan?"
posted by MarshallPoe at 5:23 AM on July 20, 2007


Heh heh. Love you too, stav.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:35 AM on July 20, 2007


And love back to you brother -- I admit I get prickly when I feel challenged.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:45 AM on July 20, 2007


i played video games in a drunken haze
i was seventeen years young
hurt my knuckles punching the machines
the taste of scotch rich on my tongue
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:47 AM on July 20, 2007


And indeed, stavros, it wasn't my intention to challenge you, not exactly. And I can see where you would've interpreted what I wrote as evidence of a kind of smarminess. In fact I was well aware while I was writing it that it might seem that way. I'm aware that it could seem braggartly (or whatever the word is...). But I really wasn't trying to out-dick you in the music department, I really wasn't. I think if anything I was challenging your use of that key word: "everyone". As a musician (and I pretty much knew that was my calling from a very young age) I think I really do feel pretty differently about music than, well, non-musicians. It's only natural, I suppose, and I didn't mean to infer that your personal tastes are backward or limited or uncool or whatever. So apologies for coming off as hipper-than-thou.

Now, do me a favor and go over to MeFi Music and listen to the snake song I posted the other day. You might hate it, you might love it, or you might be indifferent. Why am I asking that of you? Heck, just cause I'm a musician, man, and I'd like to play you a song! What the hell, right?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:05 AM on July 20, 2007


Hey, wasn't that an 80's band?

Yeah, wasn't it A Flock of Exaggerated Inflammatory Nonsense? Or was it Orchestral Exaggerated Inflammatory Nonsense in the Dark? Or Frankie Goes to Exaggerated Inflammatory Nonsense?

posted by kirkaracha at 6:16 AM on July 20, 2007


Now, do me a favor and go over to MeFi Music and listen to the snake song I posted the other day.

*goes, listens*

I had no idea that you could and do make music, 'cause to be honest, even though I spend way too much time here at the 'filter, my damaged brain prevents me from keeping track very well.

But that is exactly the kind of stuff that makes my brain and my bits and my soul and my beery joy-organ hum. I wish I could make music like that, rather than just sing along with things with Great Vigour when I'm juiced.

You rock, cap'n. That is a song that I now love, and better because I somehow know the person that made it.

but there was still lots of great music made in the '80's. damn it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:18 AM on July 20, 2007


You rock, cap'n. That is a song that I now love, and better because I somehow know the person that made it.

Stav, I really, really appreciate that, that makes me feel really good.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:43 AM on July 20, 2007


I've just been to starbucks to meet someone, their choice not mine. I ordered a macchiato (an espresso with a single dollop of foamed milk). Instead I got a pint of warm, bland sweet crap.

This is why I hate starbucks. No matter what you order, you get served something that tastes like hot ice cream.
posted by rhymer at 7:05 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Mark Malkoff's achievement was marred by the opening of the 172nd Starbucks in Manhattan during the very day that he undertook his project."
posted by adamrice at 8:04 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Turning ANYTHING into a music-cred pissing match since 1999.
posted by everichon at 10:21 AM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


[steaming three-coiler]
Has anyone mentioned that Starbucks coffee tastes like it's been burned? No? Ok, there, I just did. Discuss.
[/steaming three-coiler]
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:48 AM on July 20, 2007


Burhanistan : In the end, he dies.

No spoiler alert? Flagged.
posted by quin at 11:15 AM on July 20, 2007


It's the meta-spoiler, mind you.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:23 AM on July 20, 2007


and then cathy showed up and we hung out.
trading swigs from the bottle all bitter and clean
locking eyes, holding hands,
twin high maintenance machines.

posted by ludwig_van at 12:03 PM on July 20, 2007


I mean, come on, what a verse!
posted by ludwig_van at 12:04 PM on July 20, 2007


What, they don't have one in Harlem? Or, he just didn't go to those...

Even given that this is a tool's mission, I'm not convinced that the abridged list reported is possible. Even in 24 hours, with a team of support people working together and a person in prime shape and skilled in dodging cars, police, and pets.

Dodging people and cars and waiting at the odd stoplight (even blatantly ignoring most of them) would consume the lions share of the time on top of the transaction in each store. Then theres the physical constraint... after several hours of on-again-off-again, his muscles would not function as efficiently and his brain would start to be impaired from the constant focus and strain. Just putting a sentance together after 10 hours on a bike is a challenge, much less navigating and not getting hit. Not to mention he'd smell something awful and look a sight worse from the effort.

As a former bike courier covering an area much, much smaller than manhattan, I call bullshit.
posted by ilovemytoaster at 3:17 PM on July 20, 2007


I wonder if this will be a generational thing. It used to be that one used McDonald's for their bathrooms, but maybe my children will use Starbucks.
posted by bijou at 9:16 PM on July 20, 2007


ilovemytoaster may be on to something. 171 in 24 hours would be greater than 7 an hour, so on average he is making a purchase once every 8 and a half mins? really?
posted by edgeways at 12:44 AM on July 21, 2007


[steaming three-coiler]
Has anyone mentioned that Starbucks coffee tastes like it's been burned? No? Ok, there, I just did. Discuss.
[/steaming three-coiler]


Yup, I avoid Starbucks for this very reason. I've just recently started going to a local coffee shop that roasts their own coffee.

Very nice.
posted by so_ at 7:06 PM on July 21, 2007


Is it the coffee itself that gets burnt, or rather the milk that gives that rather unappealing taste?

A friend alleged it was the milk, but I'm skeptical.
posted by oxford blue at 2:15 AM on July 22, 2007


This rubbed me the wrong way for reasons I couldn't accurately express until I saw geryon and ilovemytoaster's comments. My disgust at this guy's obvious desire for attention almost outweighs my urge to give him exactly what he wants by talking about how irritating this is.
posted by Saellys at 2:54 PM on July 24, 2007


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