too much coffee man
July 9, 2004 1:41 PM   Subscribe

Obsessions come in many sizes and flavors - small, tall or veinte. Meet the man who is living the Traveling Salesman Problem by attempting to visit every starbucks.
posted by elwoodwiles (24 comments total)
Last night I bumped into an Ottawa man who apparently spends his days bouncing from one of the city's Starbucks to another, in a Starbucks t-shirt, drinking ice-water and talking to the employees. He's slightly legendary.
posted by Marquis at 1:51 PM on July 9, 2004

nono, it's tall, grande, venti -- "small" exists only as an urban legend in the fevered mists of the pre-starbucks wilderness.

gotta love how starbucks describes itself as an "experience".
posted by casarkos at 1:52 PM on July 9, 2004

D'oh! You're right casarkos. I hate the way that if I want a cup of coffee, starbucks makes me speak Esperanto.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:55 PM on July 9, 2004

Is it cool to note that he's been to my morning Starbucks?
posted by grabbingsand at 2:01 PM on July 9, 2004

The totally fantastic amazing interesting part of the site is Winter's exceptionally detailed travel blog.

At the next store, I waited another 15 minutes waiting to get the manager's attention, and I considered forgoing intros for a while to make up the time. But what was worse than the delay was the manager told me of some girl that was going around photographing the new stores. Dammit! More shark-biting niggaz! Shit, man, I was gonna have to enlist the RZA to deliver a message to these punks biting my style.

Driving directions, cute girls, Scrabble and Wu-Tang. Yes!
posted by Marquis at 2:26 PM on July 9, 2004

I'd never noticed this, but Starbucks actually does a really great job of blending their stores into the architectural styles of a given community. That's rare in the world of American copy/paste corporate giants.
posted by 4easypayments at 2:33 PM on July 9, 2004

Next time you are at a Starbucks, note the little (R) symbol next to Venti drink size on the order board - they trademarked that size measure! Guess there was too much precedent around other yuppie coffee houses for grande - but Venti - that one is up for grabs (many centuries of Italians using the words non-withstanding).
posted by blindcarboncopy at 2:52 PM on July 9, 2004

Is it cool to note that he's been to my morning Starbucks?

grabbingsand: I know what you mean. I live right across the street from this one. If you imagine yourself walking up the sidewalk, just past the lady sitting down in the red jacket (an employee of the Safeway next door) you'll see, to your imaginary left, three low concrete abutments. In between these the concrete is formed into tilted platforms: every time my daughter and I walk past these she has to run up and down each one. The guy in the blue plaid shirt sitting on the street is a familiar street person.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 2:58 PM on July 9, 2004

Frankly, I see touring Starbucks as akin to golf green lawns, faux-Victorian houses, Disneyland, crab-flavoured pollock, and every other nasty simulcra typical of the American landscape. Too much fake, too little reality, too little quality.

Also, Starbucks coffee is overpriced, overroasted, and overblown.

Their "Barista" espresso maker, however, is a pretty good deal when you catch it on sale. It's a relabeled Estro, manufacturers of a good number of quality Italian espresso machines. Good bang for the buck, certainly loads better than steam machines, not quite as good as the next-tier machines (that also cost 3x as much).

Their "Barista" grinder is also a relabeled quality item. Does a good job, far better than anything below its price range.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:19 PM on July 9, 2004

Is it cool to note that he's been to my morning Starbucks?

Well, as long as we're noting these sorts of things, I work two floors above this one, and this other one is right across the street.

Just looking at the list of all the Starbucks he's been to in Phoenix gives me a headache.
posted by crawl at 3:20 PM on July 9, 2004

This is definitely a repost. He's very famous. But it'd be worth a repost if there is new information that he's actually struggling to deal with the traveling salesman problem. Is that the case?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:27 PM on July 9, 2004

EB: that's been driving me crazy, too. Everybody and his dog is blogging this with some inevitable cutesy reference to the traveling salesman problem when they guy is clearly just iterating through one possible, partial, suboptimal solution to the problem, and that's not even the point of the exercise.

Which, okay, being bothered by this is maybe a little obsessive since the guy is just going to a bunch of Starbuckses and it's not a math thing, but then, Christ on a stick, don't go dangling that carrot in front of us nerds just because you think it's a cute phrase!

posted by cortex at 4:01 PM on July 9, 2004

Not only is this definitely a repost, whoever posted it obviously yanked it from Slashdot.
posted by banished at 4:04 PM on July 9, 2004

my favorite. it is quiet. lots of trees around.
posted by th3ph17 at 4:43 PM on July 9, 2004

"small" exists only as an urban legend in the fevered mists of the pre-starbucks wilderness.

Actually there's a codeword for it, the small is called "Short", but if you ask for a small they'll give you a Tall, so maybe to them Short is extra-small. Usually I'd get a Short at Starbucks.
posted by bobo123 at 5:52 PM on July 9, 2004

Wow. That guy is the biggest tool ever.
posted by Sxyzzx at 5:57 PM on July 9, 2004

Is it cool to note that he's been to my morning Starbucks?

No, being a starbuck's regular prevents anything cool from emanating from your general direction.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:45 PM on July 9, 2004

And the counter argument. Not that I agree. I'm quite ambivalent about Starbucks (I hate all coffee and coffee products, so Starbucks sucks, but they do serve other stuff, so they don't).
posted by shepd at 6:48 PM on July 9, 2004

posted by stonerose at 7:46 PM on July 9, 2004

It's sad to think this guy came to Austin and missed Spider House, Mojo's, Little City, Pacha, Flightpath and all the other great local coffeehouses here, where the owners and employees have created unique local environments, in favor of endless canned iterations of the same homogenized experience. I imagine he stopped by Taco Bell for some Mexican food while was here, too.

Somebody should just build a big hamster wheel inside a Starbucks for this guy. He could hop in and run for a few hours between coffee breaks and have the same experience while saving himself a lot of gas money.
posted by boredomjockey at 4:06 PM on July 10, 2004

Indeed. It's like visiting an exotic foreign country, and then eating at McDonald's. How repugnent.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:10 PM on July 10, 2004

Here in New Zealand there is currently a charity competition thing going on - The competition is to visit all the Starbucks' in New Zealand and raise money for charity along the way, or something... The Grande Roadtrip

And the really weird thing is, I had a dream last night that I visited Starbucks wearing a Starbucks t-shirt. I can't imagine why, but the first comment here scared me, I don't want to become that guy.

There is a Starbucks in my apartment building!
posted by sycophant at 6:19 PM on July 10, 2004

i'd rather have my money stay locally. i regularly hit one of two chain stores in town, one actually started here and expanded, the other started a bit south of here. either way, i get better coffee than in the starbucks down the street (fair trade, anyone?) and i don't have to use dumb meaningless words with trademarks. if i want a goddamn large, i ask for a goddamn large, and the coffee chick/dude behind the counter knows what i'm talkng about and doesn't try to cheerfully correct me like the smug bastard behind the starbucks counter.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:24 AM on July 12, 2004

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