What happened
Starbucks last week said it is closing 500 U.S. stores, on top of 100 already announced, and cutting about 12,000 jobs. The number of customers at the coffee giant has fallen in recent months. (AP in Yahoo! Finance) Starbucks has doubled in size over the past four years; most of the closed stores were opened in that period. (Bloomberg)

What the commentators said
The “early Starbucks mojo is no more,” said Tom Mullaney in the Chicago Tribune. Once innovative and thrilling, the company has traded its “ballyhooed ‘Starbucks experience’” for corporate efficiency—ubiquity, machine-made espresso, office furniture instead of comfy chairs—and sent many of its “once intensely loyal customers” seeking a jolt elsewhere.

Starbucks expanded too fast, said The Economist via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, but not all its “wounds were self-inflicted.” The “deteriorating American economy” is taking its toll, too, as consumers with thinning wallets trade down from “premium-priced” retailers like Starbucks to discounters, such as Wal-Mart.

This is bad news for us all, said the San Francisco Chronicle in an editorial. If "the chain that couldn't seem to stop growing just a few years ago" is crashing to Earth, the economy must really be in trouble.

Maybe, but service is important, too, said Damozel in the blog Buck Naked Politics. Starbucks could probably win back some customers if it had free wireless, healthier food, and better music.