Can you imagine what would happen if the world suddenly ran dry of coffee? It would be chaos as sleepy-eyed commuters made their way to the workplace and tried to grind out the work day instead of grinding coffee beans. That could have been the case today for Starbucks patrons following a mysterious and reportedly widespread register outage, except that baristas decided to hand out free cups of java at affected locations.
It is not clear what is causing the outage or how many stores are affected. According to a local NBC news affiliate, baristas at some locations told customers that Starbucks may have been a victim of a cyber attack. That has not been confirmed by Starbucks, which as of this writing has not mentioned the outage on social media. The last Twitter post from Starbucks was yesterday in regards to free tuition for baristas.
Starbucks has more than 24,000 locations worldwide. From what we can gather, the outage appears to be affecting some store locations in the United States and Canada where there are more than 14,000 Starbucks coffee shops combined. A post on Reddit claims that a quarter of all Starbucks stores are down due to the register outage.
The outage comes hot on the heels of a massive ransomware outbreak that has been hitting systems around the globe. That is not to say the two are related, it just an interesting coincidence. Whatever the cause, Starbucks deserves equal parts kudos for giving out free coffee, and criticism for keeping quiet on what exactly is going on.
In any event, if you live near a Starbucks (and who doesn't?), you might be able to score yourself a cup of coffee on the house today.