I have recently had two coffee purchasing experiences. Each involved buying three cups of coffee.

Independent coffee shop: Usual choices. Efficient order taking. Friendly smile. No up-sell pressure. Discount automatically provided.

Starbucks: Too many choices – I just wanted a coffee. Up-sell offered. Frustrated look on employee. Regular price charged.

Okay I am biased. I’ll copy that. However, this time I went into each store deliberately to assess the experience. In Starbucks I sensed that the employee was counting through the steps of the sale. You know, the production line approach. Whereas at the coffee shop there was a bit of conversation. At Starbucks there was pressure to move through the sale at a certain speed, as if a clock was on. At the coffee shop, even though it was a little frustrating, there were in no hurry.

The coffee was almost the same quality so it was the experiences (cultural and social) which separated the two in my mind.

The locally owned shop was a far better experience for me. For others it will be different. Some people like the sameness of the Starbucks experience. Others like that they can do “starbucks” as it’s more socially acceptable than a local coffee shop – such is the power of marketing I guess.

My point is that as consumers we ought to be fighting the drone retail experience. It is killing a generation. All these school leavers working ion the huge corporations learning their eight to ten steps for each sale and not being allowed to express themselves in their work place. It’s so sad. These corporations stifle individuality in pursuit of the common experience.

Beyond the generation being homogenised the community and our culture are being homogenised as well.

Dreadful.

This is why our retail chains and global brands need to get smaller and not bigger. It’s why local is more important than national and international. It’s why pharmacists need to dispense prescription medication and not supermarkets.

Retail is personal. Every experience is different and needs to be driven by the needs of the consumer. Supermarkets, companies like Starbucks and their global ilk don’t get that in my view.

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