What a soulless thing this is. Not the video, but the Starbucks.
The video explains: "The baristas are hidden, and this screen tells you when your order is ready." It's a nice screen, of course.
Yet what may seem surprising is how much baristas -- and former baristas -- seem to like it.
Sample: "As an ex barista who loved making the drinks but hated being harassed by customers, I would work this job for FREE."
Second sample: "Oh, this is my literal dream; I do like talking and connecting with customers, but when it's 1 good customer for every 50 bad, I'd rather just do this."
The third sample lays bare what so many seem to feel: "The fact that they're starting these because of how awful the customers are. Convenience too... but believe me when I say the main factor was 'Karen's'."
One barista isn't quite so optimistic about the peace these stores create: "A dream, but customers will still find a way to constantly yell in our faces."
Surely customers want a happy interaction that lifts their day just a little. Perhaps no longer.
Here's one commenter on the video: "I don't get why more places can't have order screens like they do now in McDonald's. Drinks would be faster if they didn't need to run a register."
So we arrive at the "what has become of us?" part of the program.
Does Starbucks realize that a non-human interaction retail construct is the true future of, well, humanity?
I do feel the need to offer one tiny tinge of hope. I hear that orders at these pick-up stores can become just as backlogged as orders at the more human stores.
When that happens at a human store, you can at least -- perhaps -- chat with a barista. While you overhear a frustrated app-ordering customer whine that their drink isn't ready at the precise moment, it was supposed to be.
Whom can you talk to when the barista is hidden?
Oh, silly me. You don't need to talk. You just look down at your phone and keep poking it in search of pleasure.