A Starbucks cup.

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Conspiracy theorists think Starbucks is ushering in the end of the world by going cashless

As always, the actual explanation is much simpler.


Mikael Thalen


Posted on Sep 7, 2022   Updated on Sep 8, 2022, 6:11 am CDT

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One Dumb Conspiracy


A photograph circulating online that purports to show Starbucks announcing plans to go entirely cashless has conspiracy theorists convinced that the end is nigh.

As always, the actual explanation is much simpler.

The image, which began circulating widely across social media late last month, showed a sign at a Starbucks location stating that the coffee shop would stop accepting cash in October.


In posts on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere, some users argued that the announcement was linked to the Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible, which claims that the “Mark of the Beast” system will force the world into a cashless society.

“Starbucks – blazing the trail towards a cashless mark of the beast society,” one Facebook user wrote.” Starbucks does not care about their customers, but they do care about pushing a dishonest and unethical agenda. There are plenty of coffee shops around. Time to put them out of business.”

Others saw the alleged move toward cashless stores as inevitable but raised concerns over potential surveillance and data privacy issues.

Some even called for purposely sabotaging Starbucks stores as a form of protest against the purported plan.

“Clog up their stores and drive thrus,” one person on Facebook added. “Place an order and then walk away or drive thru when they won’t accept your cash. I’ve done it a few times at McDonald’s.”

But not everybody was convinced that the coffee chain was preparing to bar cash outright. For starters, some users noticed that the date format on the sign began with the day as opposed to the month, indicating that the image likely came from somewhere outside of the U.S.

Many users guessed that the sign had come from the U.K., leading the company to be tagged repeatedly in posts of the image.

The official Twitter account for Starbucks U.K. weighed in shortly after and revealed that many had misinterpreted the image.

“Starbucks has no plans to go cashless across our UK stores,” the account tweeted. “We operate alongside various licensee business partners in the UK, so this may vary from store to store and the majority of our stores continue to offer cash payment options.”

In other words, while some stores in the U.K. have independently opted to go stop accepting cash, the company itself has made no such requirement.

A Starbucks spokesperson also confirmed to Reuters that no such plans were being made in the U.S. either.

So enjoy your coffee if you choose to frequent Starbucks and rest assured that your purchase will not be directly funding the end of the world.

Why it matters

The Starbucks photo shows just how important it is to investigate viral claims before spreading them further.

While the sign appeared to indicate that cash would no longer be accepted by the company, it turns out the image was only related to a specific Starbucks location.

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*First Published: Sep 7, 2022, 6:00 am CDT