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It's funny.  Laugh.

The Traveling Salesman Problem Meets Starbucks 499

Call Me Black Cloud writes "John 'Winter' Smith, a contract computer programmer, is living the traveling salesman problem. His personal quest is to visit every company-owned Starbucks and he's not doing too badly. After 7 years he's hit over 4,000 locations in the United States and 167 in Britain and Japan. What motivates him? That's one for the professionals to answer, but since Starbucks opens an average of 10 stores per week it doesn't look like Winter will be stopping any time soon. His website offers insight into why he does this ('to be different') and has pictures of the 4000+ Starbucks he's visited."
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The Traveling Salesman Problem Meets Starbucks

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  • Statistics.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This should be interesting...

    Before Slashdot = 60,293 visitors since December 2003.

    After Slashdot today = 90,000+ (estimated)? Any takers?

  • when constantly assaulted by coffee craps?

    One of the great unanswered questions.

  • 10 * 52 * 100

    in 2104 we'll have over, what, 58-60,000 starbucks?

    YES!
    • by EvanED ( 569694 ) <(evaned) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:47PM (#9643831)
      since Starbucks opens an average of 10 stores per week it doesn't look like Winter will be stopping any time soon.

      This reminds me of Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged:

      This was the point at which he conceived his purpose, the thing that would drive him on, and which, as far as he could see, would drive him on forever. It was this.

      He would insult the universe.
      That is, he would insulct everybody in it. Individually, personally, one by one, and (this was the thing he really decidid to grit his teeth over) in alphabetical order.
      When people protested to him, as they sometimes had, thta the plan was not merely misguided but actually impossible because of the number of people being born and dying all the time, he would merely fix them with a steely look and say, 'A man can dream, can't he?'"


      (Life, the Universe and Ev8hing)
  • by tcopeland ( 32225 ) * <tomNO@SPAMthomasleecopeland.com> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @11:54AM (#9643142) Homepage
    ...then we can follow his lead a la ant algorithms [rubyforge.org].
  • Venti me? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Thursday July 08, 2004 @11:54AM (#9643143)
    Just wondering if he's been keeping track of the health effects of going to Starbuck's so offten...
  • by niko9 ( 315647 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @11:54AM (#9643144)
    Among the paramedics at work they are known as Fourbucks, on acount of their prices. ;P
    • by Fouquet ( 753286 )
      Exactly. Why some people pay that kind of money for coffee is beyond me. This guy must have a wealthy benefactor or something.

      The only coffee product I drink is 'plain black coffee', so needless to say I don't stop in their establishments very often, but occasionally when in an airport, or walking around Manhattan. What really irks me about Starbucks though is how irritated they seem when I order a small (or whatever size that equates to in starbucks land), black, coffee.

      Starbucks runs all of the sma
      • You mean a benefactor like... STARBUCKS??? I am certain that they have at least considered sponsoring this guy under the table, just because of the publicity he's getting for them.
      • by bluekanoodle ( 672900 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:25PM (#9643553)
        I don't think it takes a wealthy benefactor to drink a cup of starbucks coffee. After all, that's cheaper then a pack of cigarettes, and that has never stopped people (predominantly lower income) from smoking.
      • by GoofyBoy ( 44399 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:56PM (#9643959) Journal
        >What really irks me about Starbucks though is how irritated they seem when I order a small

        How do they display this "irritation"?

        You know that the guy serving you doesn't give a care what you buy since he gets paid by the hour regardless of what you order? In fact, he might be happy that you have such a simple order since it doesn't involve alot of work or thinking.
      • Why some people pay that kind of money for coffee is beyond me.

        Especially when you consider that all Starcruds "coffee" is over-roasted, burnt and bitter. The one thing they've ever done right is the snow job they've done in persuading people that badly-made coffee is the best thing they've ever tasted. If the average Starbucks customer ever tasted Gevalia, [gevalia.com] they'd never go back again, but Starbucks is trading on their ignorance. I guess it just goes to show how easy it is to fool people and how little

        • Re:Four bucks a cup! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Fizzl ( 209397 )
          Uhhuh... Gevalia?
          It landed here in Finland few years back. The TV commercial catch-phrase was something like: "Coffee you could offer to your guests" -- Often with a storyline where someone crashed into your home in an unexpected situation.
          Which was much joked as meaning "You wouldn't offer your GOOD coffee to uninvited guests now would you? So keep a pack of this horrible shit in the cupboard just incase."

          And personally. I hate it...
          These are my choises of coffee:
          Presidentti [paulig.fi] and Juhlamokka (Sorry, I coul
          • I'm sorry you didn't like Gevalia, but not everybody's going to like the same thing. I'm sure you're qualified, and I see that you have interesting tastes. I note that you don't list Starbucks as a favorite, and wonder what you think of it. BTW, do you know why Scandinavians are such big coffee drinkers? I've often wondered but never knew the right person to ask. I doubt that the weather's the only reason, as Russians, among others with hard winters don't drink that much.
    • Starbucks doesn't sell coffee. They sell you a short escape from your regular life. Coffee included.
  • he would have written a computer program to keep track of all the starbucks, and visit them in the chronological order that they were opened, and have that program keep track of all the messy details of any that closed or moved, etc.

    (yes, a douglas adams reference to the infinitely prolongued guy who insulted the universe in alphabetical order)
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @11:55AM (#9643154) Homepage Journal
    Visiting every starbucks to be different is like visiting every taxidermist's shop because it's the cool thing to do and all the kids are doing it.
    • Right, because posting comments on Slashdot about what the cool kids are doing is the popular thing to do.
    • by GuyMannDude ( 574364 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:13PM (#9643396) Journal

      What a sad indictment of society that people have some desperate need to be different and decide that the best way to satisfy that urge is to do something completely pointless like purchase products at every store of a multinational conglomerate. How exactly is becoming a complete and utter corporate slave a demonstration of how unique you are? I'd be much more impressed if this guy was attempting to visit every NON-Starbucks coffee shop. But that wouldn't garner him headlines, would it?

      Let's face it: this guy doesn't want to be different, he wants to be famous, in his own pathetic way. You want to be different? How about volunteering for your local chapter of the non-profit organization of your choice? Not too many people do that. If that's not different enough for you, how about starting your own non-profit organization? Even fewer people do that. Hell, as long as you have this need to show everyone how different you are, might as well make it something that can benefit someone other than Starbuck's shareholders. Of course, none of these causes would get him a mention on slashdot, or the evening news, or anything else.

      Call me a party-poorer but when I see stories about people following such pathetic attempts at gaining recognition, it makes me want to retch.

      GMD


      • I agree. It is sad when you think he is visiting other countries to go to Starbuck, because it is pretty much the same verywhere in the world.

        Starbucks in Tokyo is pretty much the same as Starbucks in London. But Tokyo and London are fascinating.

        A very sad hobby this man has.
      • by argmanah ( 616458 ) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (hanamgra)> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:37PM (#9643693)
        Let's face it: this guy doesn't want to be different, he wants to be famous, in his own pathetic way. You want to be different? How about volunteering for your local chapter of the non-profit organization of your choice? Not too many people do that. If that's not different enough for you, how about starting your own non-profit organization? Even fewer people do that. Hell, as long as you have this need to show everyone how different you are, might as well make it something that can benefit someone other than Starbuck's shareholders. Of course, none of these causes would get him a mention on slashdot, or the evening news, or anything else.


        Why is it that every time someone gets recognition for doing something that's not particularly useful, someone like you has to come along and insult his hobby and talk down to him about doing something more productive with his time.

        Do you ever watch TV? Maybe you spend that time volunteering. Do you ever read Slashdot? Maybe you should spend that time volunteering. It's a ridiculous double standard you are setting when you and everyone else does pointless things to entertain themselves in their spare time, but when he chooses an activity that garners him some attention he is immediately admonished for not spending that time being productive instead.

        Don't be a hater.

  • He's on TV! (Score:5, Informative)

    by strictnein ( 318940 ) * <strictfoo-slashd ... m ['oo.' in gap]> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @11:56AM (#9643166) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't want to mention this:

    I'm scheduled for a short interview on CNN Headline News Thusday, July 8, at approximately 7:45 PM EDT.

    Gotta love that Headline News. Ever since the merger they avoid any type of real news like the plague. And the average age of the news presenters is, what, 13?
    • by ryanvm ( 247662 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @03:05PM (#9645576)
      Gotta love that Headline News. Ever since the merger they avoid any type of real news like the plague.

      Oh shit - the plague is back?!?
  • by bje2 ( 533276 ) * on Thursday July 08, 2004 @11:57AM (#9643179)
    I was under the impression that the traveling salesman problem had to do with finding the most efficient (i.e. shortest) route to traverse a *finite* amount of points...how is this the same?
    • by stevemm81 ( 203868 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @11:58AM (#9643202) Homepage
      I think they just put that to appeal to our Slashdot nerdiness :).

      He's just visiting a lot of points in an ever-expanding graph without much regard for the optimal route, so yeah, it's not the TSP.
      • by kris_lang ( 466170 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:13PM (#9643388)
        Hmm... If I wanted to be like Len Adelman, I could encode each Starbuck's location into a short oligonucleotide sequence, create matched-pair of DNA oligos each representing a travel-step from starbu_x to starbu_y, create a DNA soup (watch your filthy mind!) of these oligo-pairs, do the appropriate restrictions and selections by weight and publish an article in Science or Nature, have the journalists and flacks mis-represent it as being a DNA computer capable of solving the "Travelling Salesman" problem when every mathematician and theorist knows it to be the Directed Hamiltonian Graph problem, not worry about it, and move on.

        Oh, and please insert "profit" and the appropriate "/item" tags around the list above, and let LaTeX number it for me. Thanx.
      • by winterene ( 795122 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:31PM (#9643624) Homepage
        Hey, Winter here. The traveling salesman problem (as I remember if from my comp. sci courses) comes into play when I reach a city where I've numerous Starbucks to visit as quickly as possible before leaving. For example, today, Around Atlanta--Hiram, Austell, Suwanee, Kennsaw, and Conyers. Or anywhere in California.
    • You're just lucky they spelled 'traveling salesman problem' right this time. Expecting them to know what it means is just too much to ask. This is Slashdot - we know about sci-fi TV shows and movies, CowboyNeal and his promiscuous mother, and leetspeak. Nothing else!
    • by N3Z ( 746334 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:12PM (#9643385)
      I thought it had something to do with the farmers daughter.

  • by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @11:57AM (#9643183)
    an absolute, nailed on "please let me bear your children" hit with the ladies.
    • an absolute, nailed on "please let me bear your children" hit with the ladies.
      I don't know where you learned biology, but in human beings usually it is the female who does the actual c hild bearing...
  • Cost (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bobthemuse ( 574400 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @11:57AM (#9643184)
    Let's see... 4000 stores, multiplied by an average of $8 per cup of coffee, comes to what?
    • Re:Cost (Score:2, Informative)

      by sfire ( 175775 ) *
      Use Google [google.com]darn it
    • I am paying $1.62 for a grande.
    • Re:Cost (Score:3, Funny)

      by WhiteBandit ( 185659 )
      Let's see... 4000 stores, multiplied by an average of $8 per cup of coffee, comes to what?

      Hmm, the units don't work out, but I thought I'd offer you my help anyway.

      It comes to 32000 dollar stores per cup of coffe. ;)

      The thing is, *everyone* seems to complain about them, but the damn shops are always crowded! I think there is some double standard shinanigans going on... :-P
  • by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @11:58AM (#9643198)
    What's really important, though, is how many Starbucks he has seen across the street from another Starbucks.
    • Hopefully he isn't going senile or he'd have trouble keeping track of such occurances.
    • What's really important, though, is how many Starbucks he has seen across the street from another Starbucks.

      This happened to me in Columbus, Ohio a few years back. It sufficiently freaked me out that I was numb for the rest of the day.

      I think it is akin to the dream of seeing yourself of the street and your brain becomes overloaded, "how can I be here if I'm there". A primal urge crept into my skull suggesting that I had to destroy the other in order to assert my existence. It was all very Solaris [imdb.com] (the

    • There are a few of those. The most well known is the (Twin?) River Oaks in Houston. I couldn't find the video of it again, but it is the one Lewis Black is famous for complaining about. Here is a link [psu.edu] to some of the double starbucks phenom.
      (http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/i/d/idg101/st arbucks/)
    • if you look at his UK pictures, they're all in london and if you put them on a map most of them are within 2 or 3 square miles of each other. I havent been to london much but i spotted a few he missed too like the one practically on the LSE [lse.ac.uk] campus and another round the back streets of the southbank near the tate modern.
      i hope his job pays well!!
    • And for all the nay-sayers, I have proof [psu.edu]!
    • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:27PM (#9643574)
      how many Starbucks he has seen across the street from another Starbucks

      While this is quite funny on the surface there is sound business reasoning behind it. Most traffic intersections are laid out in such a way that a shop on one corner is a major pain to get to from driving along the opposite side of the street. And then getting back the way you were headed requires a major detour. So in a high density area with a lot of traffic it is perfectly worthwhile to open two shops, each on opposite corners to catch customers headed in both directions. Keep in mind when opening your own shop, whether a franchise of a major chain or a private brand.
      • by parc ( 25467 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:38PM (#9643711)
        There was an interview on NPR uite some time ago with someone from starbucks, and the interviewer asked him about starbucks so close to each other. He had a story about it that goes something like this:

        It was actually accidental. When the new store opened (across the street from the old store), the old store's sales increased 20%, and the new store nearly matched it. So we did some reasearch and found that if we can put locations within 2-3 miles of eachother, the revenue of both stores will be higher.

        The story was on maybe a year or more ago, so obviously I'm strongly paraphrasing.

        At any rate, remember: being able to spit on one starbucks from another starbucks isn't really their idea. They just went with observed phenomina.
    • Twin Farbucks (Score:3, Informative)

      by apankrat ( 314147 )
      FarFarAway in Shrek-2 has twin Farbucks :)

      Closer to the end of the movie, when that baked
      thing walks to the castle, patrons of one of the
      shops escape in horror across the street .. to
      another Farbucks. Kinda takes a couple of seconds
      to realize that and it makes it twice as funny :)

  • Am I correct that this has nothing to do with the traditional traveling salesman problem?

    You know, finding the shortest route to hit all nodes by traveling along weighted edges in a finite graph?

  • Well duh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 08, 2004 @11:58AM (#9643203)
    What motivates him?

    Caffeine, obviously.
  • Probably his "dynamic" personality.

    /lame_joke

  • This guy may think he's purpose in life is unattainable, but he's got nothing on Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged [hhgproject.org].
  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <splisken06@email . c om> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:00PM (#9643224)
    golfing across Mongolia [golfmongolia.com].

    Golfing Mongolia: A 2.3-Million-Yard Par 11,880 [nytimes.com] (free NYTimes reg. required)

  • Although not as unique, going to ALL Hooters locations (and getting pics w/the Hooties) is far more fun - IMO.
  • There was somebody who set out to eat once in each restaurant in New York City. That, at least, could be fun. Different food every day.

    Visiting every Starbucks is like visiting every Burger King.

    • Yeah - neither Starbucks and Burger King is worth actually eating at. Yuck.

      More fun would be visiting, say, every county courthouse in the country. There are a finite and stable number of them, and how you make your visit can vary greatly from one to the next!
  • Haha. Starbucks. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pclminion ( 145572 )
    What shitty coffee.

    Here in Portland, we firebomb [oregonlive.com] new Starbucks facilities. Fuck you and your corporate coffee. Quit Walmarting the good old coffee shops out of existence.

    They've just opened another one across the street from the tiny espresso shack I love to frequent in the mornings. If she ends up going under because of it, I think I might get in the mood for a little firebombing myself...

    • Same thing here in the SF Bay Area.

      However. In most of the US, Starbucks created a desire and a market for decent little coffee shops. It's increased the demand for coffee shops so much that it also increased the demand for non-Starbucks coffee shops.
    • by Tenebrious1 ( 530949 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:18PM (#9643455) Homepage
      Here in Portland, we firebomb new Starbucks facilities. Fuck you and your corporate coffee. Quit Walmarting the good old coffee shops out of existence. They've just opened another one across the street from the tiny espresso shack I love to frequent in the mornings. If she ends up going under because of it, I think I might get in the mood for a little firebombing myself...

      If that coffee shop goes under, it's not the fault of Starbucks, but the cheap customers. We have plenty of indy coffee shops in NYC that survive because there's enough people willing to put their money where their mouths are. If the shop goes under, then go rant to the PATRONS who decided the fate of the small shop; SB and WM only gives them the choice, they don't make it.

    • I don't really mind Starbucks coffee. Yes it is a little burnt, but their cold drinks are really nice on a hot day (although they make you sweat profusely). That being said I probably would rather go to a smaller joint just for regular coffee, but I've only seen one before. In Shrewsbury, MA there's one called Lala Java (or something like that). Doing a quick search I see there's one in California. It didn't look like it but is there some sort of a chain going on?

      How do people generally feel about Du
    • by strictnein ( 318940 ) * <strictfoo-slashd ... m ['oo.' in gap]> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:22PM (#9643511) Homepage Journal
      You're right! Firebombing companies we disagree with is the wave of the future! Screw laws!

      F'en idiots couldn't even firebomb the place right. THEY DIDN"T EVEN START THE PLACE ON FIRE. YOU BREAK THE WINDOWS FIRST, THEN THROUGH THE FIREBOMB IN.

      I'm definitely not a Starbucks fan (I prefer Caribou (the #2 chain)), but maybe some people like to get coffee at a place where they're not treated like they're interupting the employees by wanting to order. Or, they can get service even though they happen to be in a good mood and aren't wearing a completely black outfit to show that they're deep, dark people. IT'S FUCKING COFFEE PEOPLE! COFFEE! THEY SELL COFFEE!!

      Fuckin nitwit.

      Best quote from your article:

      "if neighbors don't want the Starbucks, they should stay away from the store"
      • Actually, it's milk (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PCM2 ( 4486 )

        IT'S FUCKING COFFEE PEOPLE! COFFEE! THEY SELL COFFEE!!

        Not really! They more sell milk. Think about it. What's a cup of coffee cost? Buck fifty? But now, reduce that cup of coffee to a single tiny shot of espresso and then fill the rest of the cup with milk. Foamy milk, too -- it's mostly air. But now you can charge maybe $3.25. Whenever you hear about outbreaks of hoof and mouth disease and how hundreds of cows need to be put down, don't think about McDonald's ... think about Starbucks.

  • is actually somewhat interesting. The original logo is (in my opinion) better than the one they use for the rest of the country. It's basically a naked mermaid. Now all you see in their logo is her face. The original logo is also brown, not green. I visited Seattle a few months, and personally I think they should have stuck with the old stuff (then again, it kinda makes them look like UPS).
  • Loser? ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by auburnate ( 755235 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:07PM (#9643331)
    mod this down if you must, but let me be the one to say what a friggin' complete waste of time. He says he wants to be unique ... freak guy ... hop on one leg, pull out your hair with left hand and slap yourself across the face with right hand and repeat the mantra "no one has done this before, i am unique" ad nausem ...

    Oh wait ... a handful of /.ers are now doing this!!!

  • Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by secondsun ( 195377 ) <secondsun@gmail.com> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:08PM (#9643341) Journal
    While the traditionl travelling salesman problem is NPC and anyone who has taken a proper CS track will have heard of it and studied it to death, are there any proofs, algorithims for it when the graph is adding new nodes?

    The biggest thing wrong right now is that when you add a new Vertex to the graph it could change the shortest path between two other verticies.

    Damn I knew I shouldn't have picked up the coffee of the day on my lunch break.(Right now my job is testing the wireless network in several areas so I am wandering around with a laptop surfing /. and gett 12.50 an hour)
  • by general_re ( 8883 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:09PM (#9643356) Homepage
    His website...has pictures of the 4000+ Starbucks he's visited.

    Presumably his camera has some serious jitter correction built in...

  • by ebh ( 116526 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .hcrohde.> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:12PM (#9643381) Journal
    He's getting more press these days. There's an article in Fortune [fortune.com] about him.

    Also, the name he goes by is simply "Winter". The only reason he has the "John Smith" in his name is because too many things (like the DMV) break when presented with a single name.

    He is also a fairly good tournament Scrabble player. Because the National Scrabble Association [scrabble-assoc.com]'s database can't handle single names either, he's registered as "Winter ZXQKJ".

  • Arch-ranter Lewis Black [lewisblack.net] has a funny bit about finding a "Starbucks across from a Starbucks" and he declares that to be the end of the universe. They're in Houston, Texas. [starbuckseverywhere.net] Also shown in a composite photograph [psu.edu] on another website.
  • by [000000] ( 130723 )
    This chap is a freak, nuff said.

    NEXT >
  • ....the freaking McDonald's of the Coffee world.

    I can say this because i grew up in the PacNW, dammit!!

    There are FAR better places to get coffees than Starbucks, without the pretentious attitude and self-illuministic trumpeting (Go Dutch Bros.!!), but unfortunately it is Starbucks that seems to spread all over, along with the attitude. What is in the syrup that makes people suddenly an Espresso Afficianado after their 3rd visit to Starbucks?
  • Human Psychology (Score:3, Insightful)

    by upsidedown_duck ( 788782 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:20PM (#9643474)

    I'm no psychologist, but I do wonder why people are driven to collect things, and, very often, they are driven to the point of mental illness. For example, people went nuts over those McDonalds Beanie Babies a while ago. Trash cans were filled with Happy Meals discarded uneaten, because people wanted only that 15-cent imported toy. Visiting every Starbucks is no different, where a person spends personal resources just playing catch-up to someone else's marketing scheme. I wish people were more resistent to this "collector's disease."
  • If he could generate enough finite improbability, he could simultaneously appear in every Starbucks in the universe, and accomplish his goal.

    He just needs a cup of really hot tea for his atomic vector plotter. Does Starbucks serve tea?
  • Say... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by devphaeton ( 695736 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:22PM (#9643502)
    Did anyone read what his hit counter said when the article was first posted?

    I saw it at 64105 at 11:21 CST.

    I hit reload and it's up over 65K now.

    Watching the /. effect in RealTime!

  • Did anyone else do the math?

    He's visited over 4000 locations in 7 years. That works out to about 11 locations a week.

    Starbucks is opening an average of 10 stores a week.

    The guy is doomed if he doesn't really pick up the pace.
  • by Roadkills-R-Us ( 122219 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:28PM (#9643588) Homepage
    I can understand this.

    I, myself, have a desire to visit every McDonalds on the face fo the planet.

    But first I have to buy a bulldozer, and a cargo plane to carry it between continents...
  • Oblig. (Score:4, Funny)

    by fizban ( 58094 ) <fizban@umich.edu> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:28PM (#9643593) Homepage
    "Starbucks of Topeka, Kansas? Starbucks #2046 of Topeka, Kansas?

    "Err... Yes"

    "You're a jerk, Starbucks. A real kneebiter."
  • by Capt_Troy ( 60831 ) <tfandango@NOSPam.yahoo.com> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:33PM (#9643648) Homepage Journal
    I think it was Whirlpool who made a middle of the road washer and dryer set. They didn't sell very well, so they upped the price over 1 grand each and they sold like crazy.

    I think this is the same phenomenon we are seeing with Starbucks coffee, and the proliferation of legion's of coffee related drinks ending with chino or latte.

  • Math?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Spackler ( 223562 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:38PM (#9643705) Journal
    Well, he has had 7 years
    2555 days
    Thats an average of 1.5655577299412915851272015655577 starbucks per day.
    Opening 10 per week, and he is hitting 10.958904109589041095890410958899 per week.
    They have 8000 stores now.
    I calculate about 13 more years, and he should be able to enter maintenance.

    Therefore, he is ahead of the curve.

  • by redwoodtree ( 136298 ) * on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:45PM (#9643809)
    I spent a while surfing his site which suprisingly wasn't /.'d into oblivion. After about 5 minutes I was convinced the guy is brilliant.

    This is an amazing and important piece of work. The sheer volume of pictures, the sheer enormity of this effort is so impressive that I think this has to go down as one of those pieces of art/documentary/social commentary/lark that if it's preserved, people will look back on in 50 or 100 years (maybe less , maybe more) and just find terribly facinating.

    First of all, just the pictures of all the architecture of locations in all 50 states alone is amazing. It's absolutely insane once you realize how much revenue and commerce Starbucks generates (all politics and love and hate of the company aside, it's just amazing when you see them all in one web site). Thes buildings had to be constructure, outfitted, opened, etc. The record of all these buildings, all these locations is like a mini snapshot of the whole U.S. from coast to coast and then world wide as well. It's an amazing piece of compare and contrast, and an amazing document.

    Coming at it from the other side, I think the guy is a great artist also. This definitely qualifies as art in my mind, bordering on journalism, bordering on madness which is where a lot of great art comes from. Think of how many stories each state/city/area of a city/district tell about this experience, picture him going from store to store documenting this, etc. It's an endless story, he could write a book about it. Others have mentioned on here how comedians like Lewis Black have also seized on the sheer crazyness of the Starbucks phenomenon. Artists bring these issues into focus for people and the number of people critizing him here make me feel even stronger about the fact that he's doing something cool.

    Winter is alright in my book. I don't think he's ruining the environment by travelling , I don't think he's a nut and don't think it's a waste of time. It's actually quite an important piece of work. Congratulations man.
  • by FromWithin ( 627720 ) <`moc.nihtiwmorf' `ta' `ffuts'> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:55PM (#9643946) Homepage

    He sounds like he'd get on very well with Dave Gorman [davegorman.com], who, after a drunken bet, made it his goal to find 52 other people named Dave Gorman [amazon.co.uk], and also got a bit obsessed with Googlewhacking [amazon.com].

    Also Danny Wallace [joinme.info] who after having bet Dave Gorman to find 52 Dave Gorman's got it into his head that he needed 1000 people to join him [amazon.com], without actually knowing what they were joining (there are now over 8000 joinees).

    And then of course there is the inimitable Tony Hawks [tony-hawks.com] (not Tony Hawk) who needed to win a bet that he could hitch-hike around the entire coast of Ireland with a refridgerator [amazon.com].

    All of their books are highly recommended (especially Join Me [joinme.info], which is the funniest book I've ever read.

  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <[gro.daetsriek] [ta] [todhsals]> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:02PM (#9648755) Homepage
    Is that something like a Tim Horton's?

    ??!?! :)

To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. - C. K. Chesterton

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