Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

Too many people worship at the Church of Technology.

There's a sense that technological "progress" is always good and that anyone who's against it is a horrific Luddite.

Technology does, though, cause problems. Often, this is because it's created by people who struggle with being, well, human.

The trouble is that corporations see technology as offering an easy route to even easier profits.

You buy a few machines. They do what people can't. You connect those machines to an app. Millennials download the app. And there you have it, friction-free delights.

Not necessarily.

Today, Starbucks announced financial results that were what the constantly inebriated types on Wall Street call "disappointing."

What did Starbucks have to say? It declared that there had been "congestion" in many of its stores.

What was the cause of this inability for its stores to breathe? Why, apps.

Too many people were grabbing their iPhones, drifting to the mobile order-and-pay option, and arrogantly turning up at the stores believing that their coffee would be waiting for them.

This meant that those who had taken the conventional route of walking into a Starbucks with the intention of buying coffee were forced to endure a crowded store and were infused with an impulse to leave.

You see, the problem with making coffee is that it's still currently made by humans.

Baristas such as Kurshina, Marie, and Melissa (three of the finest, I can assure you) can't necessarily keep up with 30 digitally-entitled Millennials who all think their coffee should be ready for them at 8.02 a.m. precisely.

I confess I have been subjected to this very problem.

I like to go to Starbucks to gain more of an experience than just buying a coffee. I like to at least exchange one or two pleasantries, such as asking my baristas whether they got home last night or whether they had to kick any unruly customers out of the store this week.

Yet as the mobile orders pour in, civility must take a pew at the rear.

Naturally, Starbucks says it's addressing the problem. But how? By believing that more people will use apps and the transaction will become more, well, transactional?

Reuters reports that the company is experimenting with, gosh, hiring more humans and texting customers to tell them when their drinks are ready.

Of course, many restaurants would love to enjoy the problem of over-demand.

And as retail becomes evermore online-based, phone-based, and debased, perhaps Starbucks will become one big drive-thru, with the order texted far in advance and the human interaction reduced to a nod and a snort.

Which would be a pity, really.

How would you ever know whether your barista had a good weekend, is annoyed by the political situation, or cannot bear the fact that Tom Brady's in another Super Bowl?

Technology giveth, but perhaps it taketh away even more.

Jan 27, 2017