Some Starbucks locations across the US are temporarily giving out free coffee to customers, as an update has put the point of sale systems out of order at some locations. According to dozens of users on Twitter, affected locations are either closing doors, or “taking care of customers” in a very excellent way: free coffee for all.

The story was spotted by thirsty TechCrunch writers in New York, who discovered that their local Starbucks was affected and giving away free drinks. A quick search of Twitter confirmed what was happening: an overnight update bricked some of the chain’s point of sale systems, making it impossible for stores to accept credit cards.

Some stores apparently shut down, but others stayed open to give away drinks. Starbucks confirmed in a statement that “As part of our normal course of business, overnight we worked to install a technology update to our store registers in the U.S. and Canada. A limited number of locations remain offline, and we are working swiftly to resume full operations in each of these stores.  The stores will remain open during this time and, as always, our partners are prepared to take care of our customers to ensure they have the best experience possible.”

“Our partners are prepared to take care of our customers,” in this case, means free drinks. The move is obviously meant to keep caffeine-craved patrons happy and awake, so it would be a decidedly jerk move to make a special trip to Starbucks, just to see if the drinks are free.

This story is also your daily reminder of the number one rule in technology: always backup before an update.

Chris Mills has loved tinkering with technology ever since he worked out how to defeat the parental controls on his parents' internet. He's blogged his way through Apple events and SpaceX launches ever since, and still keeps a bizarre fondness for the Palm Pre.