Saturday, May 23, 2009
If only it were as easy for others to find purpose in their life as it is for Winter in this Wall Street Journal story about a man whose quest to visit every Starbucks in the world is facing unforeseen challenges as the global economic slowdown causes stores to be shuttered.
The freelance software programmer, 37 years old, calls himself Winter. He was on a job in Wisconsin last month when he learned that a Starbucks in Prince George, British Columbia, would close the next day. He spent $1,400 to jet there for a cup of coffee -- sugar, no cream -- and a photograph.Maybe Winter should seek an expert opinion on his own tendencies, what some medical professionals might go so far as calling disorders, rather than trusting his own diagnosis.
"If the store closed before I visited, I would lose another piece of my soul," Winter says.
He has been to more than 9,000 Starbucks stores in the U.S., Japan, Lebanon, Turkey and 13 other countries in the past dozen years, a trek chronicled on his Web site, starbuckseverywhere.net. He gained some notoriety mid-decade, when he was the subject of media reports and a documentary film, "Starbucking." He has "mildly obsessive-compulsive tendencies," he concedes, and a "mild addiction" to coffee.
A wild guess here - he's not married?
Correct. And a few other interesting tidbits...
When he's not on the road working on software contract jobs, playing in Scrabble tournaments or visiting Starbucks, he lives with his parents in Houston, where he stores his collection of 10,000 super-hero comic books.It gets even creepier from there - I chose to stop reading. Continue if you dare.
He changed his name because he didn't want his credit history confused with his father's. (His dad's credit history is fine, Winter says.) His mother, Georgina Lozano, says she and her husband refuse to call their son "Winter" and pray he will halt his Starbucks mission. "My husband and I feel it's a waste of time," she says.
At the Wisconsin pharmacy-equipment supplier where Winter has worked for several months, his supervisor, Don Rich, says he finds the hobby amusing. To a point. "When he does something for you on a Friday and then flees the state, it makes it kind of hard," he says. "You can't call him in on a Saturday to fix something."
Is this really deserving of that bottom-middle, human interest spot on the front page of the WSJ, a feature that was added shortly after Rupert Murdoch took over last year?
Oh yeah, there's a video too.