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Starbucks will eat your soul
Member Name: Burning_Darkness
Date: 30/09/09, updated on 30/09/09 (80 review reads)
Advantages: pleasant coffee,reasonable service, clean, efficient,
Disadvantages: May be a front for a worldwide invasion force by the Lizard People
Starbucks outlets are coffee shops in the same way that Mcdonalds outlets are 'restaurants' and Wetherspoons outlets are 'pubs', ie technically so but realistically speaking not so at all. Starbucks shops are utterly omnipresent in town centres everywhere nowadays, something which I find both worryingly oppressive and incredibly depressing. They are little ubiquitous centres of anti-culture masquerading as cosy meeting places, when in fact they represent the beginning of the end of all thought and life, everywhere, throughout the universe.
Okay, so I'm exaggerating just a little there, but there is still something about Starbucks outlets that puts me on edge. In their favour they are clean and efficient places, but they possess a sterility and blandness that makes me feel very uncomfortable. The bored teenagers that work there generally do their best to appear cheerful and polite, and there are signs everywhere reminding you that Starbucks only use coffee beans that have been hand-reared and agreed to be part of the coffee-making process in the first place (or whatever), but there's an overwhelming fakeness about the places that makes it impossible for me to relax.
Like many chain bars and food outlets throughout Europe, Starbucks shops are frequently set up in old, grand, long-vacated buildings, and there is something about this that always makes me think of an alien invasion force setting up command networks across the world in evacuated human dwellings. But maybe that's just me. There's a Starbucks in Leeds City Centre that bears the legend 'F*ck Starbucks' daubed in black paint on the stonework by the entrance, which suggests that the Underground Human Resistance is still fighting on, but their cause seems all-but hopeless now.
The service is reasonable, the places are clean and inoffensive (almost TOO inoffensive in fact....) and the coffee is pleasant enough, although for a massive international chain store I don't find the coffee to be particularly cheap. They do offer free WiFi as well, but frequenting Starbucks is such a soul-crushingly empty experience that it remains one that I strive to avoid at all costs.
Summary: A depressing and not particularly cheap experience