I will probably post about some more observations in the future but here's one that really struck me at a Starbucks I visited one morning. Starbucks has caved again, further perpetuating the confusion they seem to be going through.
Of course, many still lament their conversion to automated equipment for making their drinks. I remember further back when they started writing on cups to note what the drink was to be instead of just having the cashier yell it out to the obliging barista. Now, though, the order taker generates a little label that gets stuck on each cup to note what the drink is to be.
Starbucks created "community" for many people. That community is lessened when it becomes mechanical and rote instead of rough, gritty, and personal.