A disgraceful Starbucks order showed how much worse people are online (Or did it?)

A popular view is that the online world brings out the very worst in humanity. Is this entirely true?

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Who'd actually drink that? Or, perhaps, eat it?

Screenshot by ZDNet

The frothing could likely be seen from outer space.

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Here was a Starbucks order that was so nauseatingly excessive, so self-regarding and so disregarding of the plight of the barista that the web took one look and cried out.

Should you have missed this latest online phenomenon, this was an order allegedly placed by someone allegedly called Edward -- and placed by a barista on Twitter. (Since removed, sadly.)

The order was this: "Venti Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino with five bananas, extra caramel drizzle, extra whipped cream, extra ice, extra Cinnamon Dolce Sprinkles, seven pumps of Dark Caramel Sauce, extra Caramel Crunch Topping, one pump Honey Blend, extra Salted Butter Topping, five pumps of Frappuccino Roast, and seven Frappuccino Chips, made with heavy cream and double-blended."

This Edward Scissorbrains was clearly a nut, a fool, and raving idiot. Equally clearly, according to more than one Twitterer, this must have been an order placed via the Starbucks app.

Here, for example, was comedian Ashley Nicole Black offering: "I knew it had to be an app order. No one would order that out loud making eye contact."

It's a fairly popular belief that humans online, hiding behind aliases, are far worse than humans in person. They have the freedom of anonymity, the joy of being able to express themselves fully with little to no fear of recourse. Or even faint embarrassment.

Moreover, the highly efficient Starbucks app system makes it easy to slide into the physical Starbucks, pick up your order, and entirely avoid eye contact with anyone who happens to work for, say, Starbucks.

You have so many choices, right before your eyes. All you have to do is click on them and the pointless concoction will be yours.

How true is it, though, that the online world really is that much worse?

Black, for example, received this response from a Starbucks barista, complete with order ticket: "You'd be surprised. a lady ordered this in person with a completely straight face."

This being an order that included three iced black teas to be accompanied by six pumps of chai, six pumps of something called Honey Blend, heavy cream, cinnamon powder, vanilla, some sort of foam, and a couple of other acronyms I was too scared to decipher.

This led me to deeper contemplation.

Yes, we let ourselves go online sometimes, but are we really worse in our commercial habits than we are in person?

How often, in fact, do you see people walking into Starbucks or elsewhere and ordering without looking at the service staff? How rarely, indeed, do you hear please and thank you?

And how difficult must it be to see the faces of some customers twist in annoyance, impatience, or sheer dissatisfaction with themselves, as they order in person?

At least if you order online, no one knows what mood you're in.

Moreover, as one Twitterer pointed out, with consummate online grace: "I'd happily place my own order out loud if I thought I wouldn't have to repeat it 2-3 times just to get it punched in correctly. The advantage of the app is accuracy, not anonymity."

It's easy to conclude that technology has turned us at least a little twisted -- and I sometimes do. Yet is it really driving us to feel, act and be so much worse?

Last week, the Oxford Internet Institute released a study that suggested tech didn't exacerbate behavioral problems in teens. Yes, they were always like that.

For its part, Starbucks has slurped on the highly professional PR rap-uccino that personalized drinks are an essential part of the coffee chain's experience.

It doesn't matter, it seems, if you've ordered online or in person. Starbucks baristas are there to serve and satisfy.

So have no fear, those who use technology are no worse than they might be in real life.

Please wait. This just in.

Facebook is, according to BuzzFeed News, concerned that Starbucks wants to eliminate its page on the site.

The reason? The constant stream of hateful comments whenever the company posts about racial and social justice issues. They wouldn't say that stuff making eye contact, would they?

Perhaps the relationship between humans and technology is, in fact, quite complex.