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Starbucks Gives Away Free Drinks Nationwide After Its Computers Go Down

Customers at some stores received free drinks while the coffee giant's computers were down Friday. The problem was resolved early Saturday morning, after about five hours.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Starbucks register was down so our drinks were free #blessed

Starbucks gave away free drinks to customers Friday after the company's computer system suffered an international outage.

In a statement, Starbucks announced that the problem stemmed from the "failure during a daily system refresh."

The outage affected Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada.

The company announced at 12:29 a.m. ET Saturday that the problem had been fixed.

Reports of the outage — and the free drinks — first began surfacing about five hours earlier. At the time, a barista at a Starbucks in Los Angeles' Fairfax district told BuzzFeed News the outage started at his store around 4:30 p.m. He said the store received a call from a regional manager advising employees to give away free drinks until the problem was resolved.

As the outage swept North America, Starbucks customers posted scores of pictures showing the free drinks they received.

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That moment u get free Starbucks at Jefferson Pointe 🙆💕🌸

The rules for getting free drinks, however, seemed to vary considerably by store.

While a Hollywood barista told BuzzFeed News it was giving away only one free tall drink per customer, other stores apparently gave out multiple drinks, or larger sizes.

Tried to buy 4 drip coffees for the @BuzzFeed LA office, all were free

@romenesko Can confirm, just got a free grande latte in Vancouver, Canada

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Some stores apparently were requiring other types of payment for coffee or other items.

Starbucks baristas say they can’t log in to register system, all coffee continues to be free. Food purchases require cash

My #starbucks is only accepting mobile orders. #plateauproblems

@romenesko Some are taking cash-only payments instead of giving drinks out for free.

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While Starbucks said in its statement that stores would remain open during the outage, some would-be customers posted pictures of stores that had responded by closing down.

I've seen several @Starbucks closed in Manhattan due to computer outage. Sign:

All Temecula Starbucks are closed sorry white bitches

So while the rest of the country gets free @Starbucks, baristas in #Huntsville are taking the night off. #NotFair

Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jim Dalrymple II at jim.dalrymple@buzzfeed.com.

Jon Passantino is a deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jon Passantino at jonathan.passantino@buzzfeed.com.

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