Hot on the heels of Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ epic conquering of Everest, at the age of 65, comes a far greater test of willpower and endurance - one man’s effort to visit every Starbucks outlet in the world. We have The Telegraph to thank - and, revealingly, an almost identically worded version of the same article in The Times - for taking time off from witch-hunting MPs over dodgy expenses to copy and paste the following story from the newswires.
Our hero, a 37-year-old American software engineer who has changed his name to ’Winter’, has arrived in Britain to make inroads into the 400-or-so UK outlets he has yet to visit. He’s already some two-thirds of the way to the 9,000+ world target, which he began in 1997, and which has cost him $100,000. His mother is quoted as saying his mission is a "waste of time". How unenlightened.
To Stop the Week’s immense delight, Winter has been chronicling his trip at starbuckseverywhere.net. Behold, the literary banquet that is the latest diary entry from our pilgrim’s grand tour, posted after sampling the relaxed ambience of a London store:
"My mental ease was offset by sheer physical discomfort because of my stuffed, sniffling nose," we learn of our ailing adventurer. "An explosion of sneezing on Oxford Street prompted me to add a third active ingredient, fake benadryl, to the mix I’d already taken (fake Sudafed, fake Tylenol cold pill)." Is it worth dwelling on what he means by fake? Probably not. "I hoped this shotgun approach would have some effect, because so far I was getting worse, not better."
"Oh, boy," he continues quaintly, "just three stores into the day, in about two to three hours’ time, and I already reached the point where I had to pass water constantly," he concludes unquaintly. "I’m sure part of the reason was all the water, I was drinking to stave off dehydration from all the mucus I was producing."
You can’t deny it’s a riveting yarn. If further insight were needed into our intrepid traveller, Winter’s listed goals range from "changing the world" to "reaching the highest Scrabble ranking I can" - presumably achieving the former via the latter. At the same time our highly eligible bachelor hopes to be meeting as many women as humanly possible. Ladies, form an orderly queue.