I love Starbucks. That seems a silly thing to say, since obviously a lot of people do--it's more notable (or at least more chic) for someone to say they don't like Starbucks. I do consider myself a true fan, though, even buying those Christmas ornaments they offered that look like Starbucks to-go cups. The fact that they designed and sold those things blew me away, given the brand loyalty a company has to assume to try that move. You don't even see McDonalds selling golden arch Christmas ornaments...
People make fun of the chain's ubiquity, and I enjoy a good laugh at that fact too. I love how it's spoofed in Shrek 2, with the two "Farbucks" shops right across the street from one another. When Matt and I were in NYC a couple weeks ago, we literally saw two Starbuckses 100 yards from each other in Penn Station. (Maybe that's a good marketing strategy--you're tempted by the first one but keep walking, then you see the second one just as your willpower is breaking down.)
People like to patronize local establishments, and I appreciate that concept as well, from a social and economic perspective. There are plenty of local coffeeshops whose ambiance I enjoy and that I'll go to if I'm in the area. Still, I was a little annoyed with the clerk (should she be called a barista?) who got annoyed with me when I once ordered a "tall caramel macchiatto" at the Frothy Monkey, only to be told, "This isn't Starbucks. We have a small caramel latte, if you'd like that." So I've heard, a macchiatto and a latte aren't the same thing, but since I couldn't tell you the difference, I'll let that one slide.
You can call me a sell-out if you want, but I like the fact that there's a coffeeshop I can frequent where--while everyone may not know my name--everyone will know exactly what I mean when I order my "grande non-fat toffee-nut latte," and I'll know exactly what I'm going to get. I've never been big on change (Matt can tell you about my out-of-body experience when he rearranged the appliances on our kitchen counter), so I like the fact that Starbucks is the same no matter where you go, never more than now, when I live in a town I would never choose to live in of my own accord. There's something comforting in knowing that I can walk into one of the two Starbucks here in little-ole-Clarksville, and it will look and feel the same as a Starbucks in Nashville or a Starbucks in Manhattan.
I doubt that in Manhattan I'd be able to see seven fast food restaurants, a mud-spattered pick-up, and a guy in too-tight overalls when I look out the window, but nonetheless, I can smile, sip my latte, and breathe an espresso-scented sigh of contentment.