Seattle - His nerves frayed, his hands trembling, a Houston native who goes by the name of Winter set out in the spring of 1997 to visit every Starbucks on the planet. Now a Nebraska attorney, Bill Tangeman is producing documentary about Winter. Tangeman eventually hopes to represent Winter in a lawsuit against the Seattle-based coffee chain. "This guy is destroyed. He's got to pee every fifteen minutes. His pupils are pinpoint. Forget crystal meth. Caffeine is worse. It's cheap and its legal.
As of Aug. 8, Winter had visited 4,775 Starbucks in North America and 213 in other parts of world including Spain, England, France and Japan. There are 5,715 corporate-owned Starbucks in the world, according to the Seattle-based company. The speed at which new Starbucks are opened has been a major obstacle in Winter's quest, Tangeman said. Even with a private jet, it would be difficult for Winter reach every new store. As it is, Winter suffers frequent bouts of Road Rage when slower drivers get between him and his destination.
Winter said his trek has been harsh, not he least of which has been his difficulty sleeping for the past eight years. But he's not bitter. Having the incessant goal of reaching the next Starbucks spurs him on. "Why do you think most companies give their employees free coffee?" "Every time I reach a Starbucks I feel like I've accomplished something," Winter said, "when actually I have accomplished nothing.
The movie, which will be called, "Starbucked," is expected to be along the lines of "Supersize Me" and "Fast Food Nation." "Hopefully, it will serve as a warning to others addicted to Starbuck's product, says the producer.
On his Southern California tour, Winter set a single-day record by visiting 29 Starbucks. Said his producer, "He wasn't feeling too good," "He was more than a little nauseous. I recommended he switch to Soy milk in his latte's. It comes back up a lot easier.
Tangeman wants to complete "Starbucked" by the end of the year in hopes of submitting it to the Sundance Film Festival. If Sundance doesn't accept the film, Tangeman said, he will submit it to other festivals. When you've ingested as much coffee as I have, completing those festival applications is a breeze.
Winter hopes the movie does well. One reason for his hope is that it could give him more money to feed his "drinking and driving" habit. Despite several crotch burns from spilled coffee, Winter says he feels "driven" to keep going. If that old lady got $4M from McDonalds, just imagine what Tangeman can get out of Starbucks for me suffering a complete mental meltdown.
Winter also looks forward to some of the "perks" of fame that might come if the film is successful, like maybe meeting Juan Valdez, or Mrs. Folger.