Starbucks Bans Screenwriters From All 19,435 Locations Worldwide; Writers Guild of America Vows to Fight the Decision

Starbucks, the international coffee company, announced today that it is banning all screenwriters from its 19,435 locations worldwide, effective immediately.  The move comes after a study commissioned by the company revealed that screenwriters not only spent the least amount of money at their coffeehouses, but they also have “a depressing and desperate air about them that spoils everyone else’s experience.”

In addition, the study noted that the highest incidence of stealing packets of Sweet & Low came from screenwriters.

starbucks“As of today, all 19,435 Starbucks locations will now be safe from the scourge of screenwriters,” said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who quickly added, “Actually the number is now 19,484 — we added another 49 locations since making the decision.”

Schultz went on to explain that the company couldn’t find evidence of a good script ever having actually been written by anyone sitting in a Starbucks and said internal research also pointed to the fact that shortly after typing the words “Fade In,” the majority of writers stopped writing and instead began playing Words With Friends.

But the Writers Guild of America, which has seen its power and stature erode since the strike of 2007, is not taking the decision lightly. “The screenwriter working on a laptop on the next big spec script at Starbucks has been one of Southern California’s greatest tourist attractions,” said an outraged Chris Keyser, president of the WGA. “Screenwriters are as synonymous with Starbucks as mediocre, overpriced coffee.”

While the WGA is weighing its options, for now it’s suggesting that screenwriters who still want to write at Starbucks, apply for jobs as barristas.  “Given that most screenwriters are out of work, we feel this is a win-win situation,” said Keyser, who was in the middle of playing five games of Words With Friends on his iPad.  “They’ll be gainfully employed and, at the same time, be able to work on their scripts during their coffee breaks.”

  • nelly

    that is mean and unfair.

    • Ken Ashe

      and it really happened.

  • Laurel Stubbs

    THIS is hysterical!! I do most of my best writing over a cup of steaming Hot Chocolate at the local Starbucks!! Maybe they won’t recognize me without my sunglasses????

  • Rhonda M. Hall

    That’s hysterical! Thanks for a good laugh!

  • Jill B

    Oh noes! And just as Script Frenzy* is about to start April 1!!!

    Oh noes some more!!!



    • Leanne

      I didn’t even THINK about Script Frenzy! Besides, there’s very little they can do to enforce this. And who’ll be next? Writers? Emo kids? Customers with bad attitudes? As long as you’re a paying customer, they can’t throw you out.

      At any rate, now I really want to start writing a screenplay at the nearest Starbucks.

  • John

    Very hilarious – laughter almost convulsive
    Quite brilliant -I’m off to Starbucks to defy the decree!!

    • Erica

      Good Luck!

  • Habilis

    Oh, if only this were true. Much as I value the fine work screenwriters have given us, I must say that I am tired of walking into local coffee shops with my kids, who are no more or less noisy than any other kids, and getting the stink-eye from sullen, bitter laptop vultures who seem to think that their $4 skinny latte purchase gives them the right to declare a large public retail space a Temple of Creative Silence for the next 8 f*cking hours. Seriously? You guys can’t pretend to work at home just as easily? You don’t need free wi-fi to procrastinate, you pretentious twits.

    • Em

      Coffee shops are for adults, NOT children, Habilis. As someone who frequents coffee shops to enjoy reading a book, or to catch up on a bit of work, I can’t get over the number of adults who seem to think that bringing their children to a cafe is the same thing as bringing them to McDonalds. Adults like yourself who impose your children on others in venues that are not appropriate for children are FAR more obnoxious than people expecting a bit of peace and quiet while they think, read, work, or decompress.

      • Michael

        On the other hand, it would be nice if the rest of us could occasionally sit down to “think, read, or decompress” without every table being occupied by someone who thinks Starbucks is their office.

      • Carmen

        I don’t remember there being an 18 and over sign on the door… And which adult is drinking the organic chocolate milk out of the sippy straw? Guess I missed the memo…

      • Lynn

        well said…. kids grow up way too fast as it is…. ever seen a kid on caffeine??? what are parents doing letting the kids sip their latte’s??? lol

    • Julie the Jarhead

      It’s not only SB’s, Habilis. And it’s not just screenwriters, SB’s.

      Any coffee place with WiFi is inundated by laptops, the owners of which think it’s perfectly OK to take up an entire booth.

      Diesel Cafe in Davis Square, Somerville, MA, USA is notorious for two things: great coffee and no seating.

      I say … shut down the WiFi, and they’ll be gone!

      • Karen

        I think you may be right, Julie. Starbucks will be forced to shut off the WIFi to get rid of the people who nurse the $4 latte for three hours, taking all the seats. How sad that this has to happen to make rude people give up their seats. In Santa Monica, they do the same thing at Panera and Peets. I believe they are just rude and self absorbed.

        • tom fox

          Karen that has to be on a Tshirt.
          Shut down the WiFi

          • Paul

            They’ll be coming for the kids next. Nice to have a successful business that you could turn whole groups of customers away. Nice going Starbucks your’e not all that!

    • Simon T.

      Wow, somebody needs a coffee.

    • Sharon


    • Rebecca

      Exactly!!! My child deserves to have the Starbucks experience just as much as anyone else… We have wi-fi at home even though I’m a single parent. If you want to go somewhere where children aren’t allowed, go to a bar! I don’t think it has been proven that silence creates ideas. In fact, I would think that experience creates ideas!

    • Erik

      “Home?” They’re homeless, likely living in their car.

  • Richard Haberkern

    I call them ‘Occupy Starbucks” here in Burbank. The sit there all day and demand free food and drinks. I have photos of one woman with her 26″ MAC desktop set up on the table inside Starbucks!

  • Julie Simpson

    how will they know who they are

    • bucky

      LOL. You obviously don’t know any “screenwriters”

  • Stacey Redfield

    Wow…this is hysterical…I must have missed this survey. How does Starbucks determine these their a team shirt that I don’t have?

  • Gordie

    I want to be the first to be 86ed

    • Heather Alexander

      Love it. Throw me out, and my great script!

  • DJ

    I do not steal Sweet n Low. Yuck!

    • Julie the Jarhead

      I’m an Equal gal m’self.

  • LP

    Hahahaha I’m a screenwriter, and I have never written one word at a Starbucks! This is hilarious tho! Awesome!

  • MsVixxen

    Okay so how will the Starbucks employees differentiate between student, songwriter, novelist, producer, graphic artist, or anyone with a laptop. They make a valid point; stolen creamers and sugars( which I think is hilarious ) and a depressing air around them (seriously). I apologize based off your internal research.Although, this research was provided can you really put it on the Writers, Screenwriters Mr. Schultz in my neighborhood we would say “you got to come with something harder then that….”

  • espresso loving screenwriter

    Hmmm, I sense an idea for a script…

    • Doug

      Ya a bad one, probably written in Starbucks

    • Would be screenwritter

      Yeah – two exilled Screenwriters (one female, one male) get kicked out of different Starbucks. They try and work at the public library, too hard with the toddlers during storytime. Soon they decide to meet at each others house and hold each other to a bet for showing up and getting work done. Except it turns out that neither can make a decent cup of coffee. Ya da da da … total romcom (has a Starbucks scene, and involve boring professions like writing).

      • Would be screenwritter

        In the middle, when at the girl’s house the guy writer keeps sneaking out to his local Starbucks to get coffee to go because the girl writer’s coffee is so bad. She thinks he has a crush on the barista which is why he keeping going, to keep the relationship complications coming. SImilar plot for when they are at his house – she keeps going to her Starbucks for take out coffee, but he thinks she’s timing it to meet the Wall Street banker regular who gets his coffee there at the same time everyday.

        Oh, and of course, at the end since they owe their relationship to Starbucks’ screenwriter ban – they have the wedding reception in a Starbucks.

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    Genius. Absolute. I am now happily a subscriber, keep it going!

  • Rick Miner

    You can bet that there will be a movie script written at Peet’s or Tullys’titled Starcrash-:)

  • Fernando Rivera

    I find it sad that they are looking at the glass as half empty. I never used to drink Starbucks until I started using their establishment as a writing forum. If anything, screenwriting is the reason they get ANY money from me at all. If they were smart business people, they would embrace the fact that they have identified such a specific niche and find ways to capitalize on it. Who they should be banning are the people using Starbucks as an office to recruit members to Pyramid schemes. There’s nothing a writer hates more than hearing, “Do you have any friends who would be interested in prepaid legal services/selling gold/etc.”

    … By the way, Howard, I just finished the first draft to my screenplay. You better believe I’m giving you a shout-out at EVERY festival/premiere/awards ceremony I attend… 😉

  • BD

    Wow! I thought the 10′ smoking ban at Starbucks would discourage most writers, but this is a real knock-out punch. Didja hear that Congress is considering a bill requiring a license to write? It’s true. There’s an amendment exempting birthday cards and another amendment about highway funds for Idaho, but who cares about that?! You’ll be able to get the license at the DMV, which is kind of a pain. But while you’re waiting with half of L.A. to fill out the application… you can WRITE–illegally of course. Hey, I just thought of something: wouldn’t it be illegal to fill out the application since you wouldn’t have a license yet? Gee, the law is a complicated thing. Glad I’m just a writer. (Shh, don’t tell anyone; I’m probably not gonna get the license.)

    • bucky

      Notice the depressing air…?

  • Douglas Pritchard

    Awesome. I must confess to having drunk a Venti or two from Starbucks AT HOME while working on scripts. It’s not the sullen, depressed screenwriter vigil that keeps me out, it’s just that I use the drive-thru. Hmmm… I guess I COULD write scripts at Sonic. No, that’s not only poseurish but geeky as hell. OK. Settled. Continued desktop use for sceenwriting. Of course – I might get SO sullen and depressed I accidentally crash my car into a Starbucks. THEN maybe I could work on the script, drink coffee and sit in the car while the police fill out the ticket… Of course, that would pretty much blow the Barrista gig for me.

  • Renee

    Starbucks isn’t for kids, and yet they carry Peter Rabbit baby food and Horizon chocolate milk!

    Public places are for the public, if you want to police who is in the same space as you, go home.

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  • Don

    Oh no! Just when I was about to have a creative thought !! And is there any more half-and-half?

  • Laura Bianca Collins

    no no Is this a joke?

  • dsvespa

    I am an actor, so I think I will just hang out and read my scrips there 😛

  • Steve

    Screenwriters do not write in Starbucks you idiots! People with computers, who want the other people buying the weak piss Starbucks pass off as coffee and want you to think they are writing a script, sit in Starbucks. Sitting in the Staples centre in my Lakers top doesn’t make me a Laker. Why do people go to Starbucks anyway?????? The coffee is weak piss…….

  • Virginia Duigan

    An inaccurate report. It is screenwriters, in general depressed & desperate people of style, discrimination and taste, who have collectively banned Starbucks.

  • Eric

    You all have been PUNKED!!!!!

    Its a total HOAX!!!

    Didn’t you even bother to go to and read their latest press releases???

    But, one thing is for sure, I can NEVER concentrate properly when I’m at a Starbucks trying to work on a script!

  • Samantha

    I REALLY wish this was true. Screenplay writing in Starbucks is such a narcissistic thing to do, vanity at it’s best (look at me I’m writing the next big movie… Right, you and every other writer in there). but truly you aren’t writing sh**, just taking up space.

    • holly

      Writing is narcissistic how? You had to write in order to post that comment…writing is a craft and a skill, not a vanity complex. Read some Henry Miller or Hemingway or Faulkner. You’ll see.

      • funkytaco

        Exactly. Writing is a medium. Samantha is just made her coffee shop is always packed.

      • Michael Rowe

        None of them wrote in public to show off, let alone at Starbucks.

        • Allie Shepherd

          With your logic, anyone doing ANYTHING in public/at Starbucks that they could also do at home, would be doing it out of vanity. So, I consider your sitting there with your coffee, staring into the air/playing on your phone as a sign of vanity. Very slippery slope, my friend.

  • sp

    Good joke for Jay Leno show

  • ted baldwin

    Just realized the ban affects screenwriters only. You can still work on your screenplay – BUT AS A NOVEL! When completed, you can still claim an academy award for work derived from literature, which is almost as good as an original screenplay award. You will however need to start with a title, and a first sentence that involves your personal view exposited tersely and poignantly.

  • Heidi

    This. Is. Brilliant. Were I in the Starbucks marketing department, I would adore it (except the part about mediocre overpriced coffee) for its humor and virality.

    And to the debate above about kids/no kids in coffee shops, may I suggest that Starbucks start offering a Happy Meal? That would attract hordes of kids and permanently rid all 20,113 locations (number updated since your story was released) of screenwriters.

    • Soapstef

      I’m done with kids at coffee shops! I can’t write or make a schedule or get anything done while these little snots are running around knocking things over. Then there’s the inevitable request to use the chair that my backpack occupies! As if these parents would actually be firm and make the little brats sit the hell down!

      Anyway, if all the screenwriters suddenly scatter they are about to miss the onslaught of single woman who were just advised on where to find the “smoldering writer” by a certain woman’s magazine!

      • holly

        BOOO! You sound more snotty and disruptive at a coffee shop than the kiddos. At least they only take up one chair! If you don’t like the public, don’t go out into it (:

        • tf

          i think his comment is satire

  • Charles

    I think it’s funny. Oh I’m a writer SO I MUST BE SEEN AT STARBUCKS WRITING. Real writers write someplace quiet and not in public.

    • Druidblue

      That’s a false and uninformed statement.

      Writers need a “writer’s space”. You have to be comfortable- it is NOT possible to write anywhere.

      I, and I’m sure many others, have no writer’s space where we live. I don’t have my own place. I could not write at this relative’s house if I had to- and I tried once. Managed two sentences I was so uncomfortable.

      I write at Starbucks because it’s got free Wi-Fi, lower cost and higher quality Mochas than anywhere else, I get a free $7-8 drink (adding everything I want) every 15 drinks, and there are hot young women there to motivate and stimulate me. I may even finally meet someone for once.

      Or I could write at home, be alone for life, and have… What, water? Water sucks (no flavor) and it makes me thirsty for a flavored (good) drink.

      There is *nothing* wrong with writing in public or at Starbucks. It’s a nonsense meme created by the judgmental, jaded younger kiddies who hate and malign everything in our society.

  • Murvis

    well there you go, the corporate coffee shop is now worse than the nazis, colour me shocked!

  • Bruce Manning

    This is an outrage.
    I am writing a script and I go to Starbucks to work everyday. I have been working on my script for years now.
    It’s getting close, I’m giving Starbucks a screen credit don’t worry about that– I’m good for it.
    Title “Cold Fish”.
    I like it at Starbucks, pretty girls, 50 cent refills, nice music, cozy setting , not to mention free Wi-Fi.
    I get ideas sitting there.
    I got to admit, I don’t buy their pastries. Well, because there overpriced. You can get better, cheaper at How’s market three doors down.
    Yes, I admit, I’m depressed most of the time, but writing is hard taxing, tedious, work.
    Which of course leads to stealing packets of Sweet & Low

  • Tatiane de Mello

    I translate the article for my blog, in portuguese. I’m a screenwriter too. Sure, I put a link to the original article.

  • Leigha Baer

    Now that screenwriters are out, I’m hoping bloggers won’t be next! Go for the poets. lol

    Hysterically funny! Thanks.

  • Sandra

    We are now here in Thailand going to Starbacks everyday. They charge here for 1 day of WIFI about 4-5 USD. And 1 month WIFI about 10-15 USD. Well, everybody is welcome – children of all ages, screenwrites or anybody of all nationalities and all professions. But I agree the coffee and pastries are overpriced!

  • Arona

    I did drink their horrible expensive and not so good coffee quite often, but never have I used their services for Scriptwriting. It is a shame for them to reduce a somewhat descent atmosphere to now an unwelcome place… It is cruel to crush anyone’s dreams because your interest is money…Their presence helped your business, as did your location assisted with the ability for them to express their selves and be more creative… It is too bad you are so short sighted….

  • Anthony Brown

    Starbuck’s is way overpriced and it’s not very good coffee…I say …go to Tim Horton’s instead…no you can’t because there is such an international cross section of customers…. the scripts might not get to the low quality content Americanized scripts.

    • Gideon Balzar

      Timmy’s is good, in Vancouver we have a ‘waves’ coffee shop which is always filled with people on laptops, writers? maybe

    • Campo

      With all the RCMP at Tims, might be a good place to write a cop show or something, that is if you can concentrate over the din of all the single mothers feeding their noisy brats Timbits.

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  • Toby

    The fact that half y’all don’t know this is a joke is pretty telling. This is why I don’t go to the movies. Ha!

    • bygeorgie

      You do realize that the three million “aspiring screenwriters” who type their drivel in Starbucks are not actually “professional screenwriters” (who have their own proper offices [home or otherwise] and do not write as a spectator sport), yes?

      • Noah Diamond-Stolzman

        There are some professional screenwriters who like to write in coffee shops, or other public places. They find it more freeing than sitting at a desk in an office.

  • Olivia

    Glad I’m not part of the Starbucks crowd.
    How the heck can anyone think let alone write a screenplay at Starbucks.

    Give me my quiet space at home to write the remainder of my ideas for screenplays, characters and script. Heck I need to concentrate for those things. But then there are ideas..they can come to me where ever I am, but 100% of the time I am never in Starbucks.

    So no, I don’t want a job as a Barrista or a screenwriter hopeful who does their writing in Starbucks. I hate, and I mean hate their coffee.
    I might add that anyone drinking sweet and low or any other artificial sweetener has to have a death wish anyway. Google it because you will never drink it’ll probably ban it from your house.

  • Kapid

    Only wannabe ‘look at me, I’m a writer’ write their scripts in a cafe…I speak from experience…

    • Allie Shepherd

      Then how come I wrote my screenplay mostly at a Starbucks and ended up selling it?

  • Ricky

    Not fair. I wrote a good part of my ebook there; I guess the title was very apropos – Life Seemed Good, But…. Of course it’s not a movie yet but hope springs eternal!

  • sambo

    this is unbelievable! and it’s discriminating. really… I feel for the writers. I am boycotting Starbucks effective immediately. generally speaking, I think the Starbucks products are way too expensive, contain way too much fat, and the coffee is not very good. anyone who boycotts it, too, will do something good for their health.

    • Sgrbhngsfb


    • bygeorgie

      Here’s a clue: sometimes when something is “unbelievable,” there’s a reason. I’ll bet you get your world news from The Onion.

      • Gideon Balzar

        But you have to admit, this comments thread is a hoot!

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  • Alex

    Seems this got released a couple of weeks early. April 1st isn’t till, well…April 1st!

  • Alan Warrick

    Is Starbucks banning songwriters too? It doesn’t seem that way because I am sitting in a Starbucks.

  • Jessica

    OMG Best.Thing.Ever!

    “Schultz went on to explain that the company couldn’t find evidence of a good script ever having actually been written by anyone sitting in a Starbucks”


    Love that my pal Toni turned me on to this, now I can’t stop reading LOL!

  • Neil

    This is really quite funny, and very in keeping with both national lampoons and the onion news. However, what I find even funnier, is the number of people that think this is real. Not only is the title an obvious tip, but the comments by the “representatives” are a dead give away……or you could always check the SATIRE website it was published on!! Very funny!

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  • Mrwhite426

    Future type if movie. ‘WW3’ title. Two-three buddies. One in army. (Ages 19-20.) Doin fine.. buddies get drafted. Three wifes friends in a little town. One guy in army comes back only.. @ *** good idea.. 🙂

  • Bow

    my,my,my, I could only hope all was as it is and has been represented   :{)> ++

  • Karen Spears Zacharias

    I had to check and make sure this wasn’t written by The Onion staff. Schultz. Get. A. Life. 

  • Druidblue

    Funny. Particularly the part about Starbucks being mediocre and overpriced (since it’s the peerless standard of perfect coffee. Those used to bad coffe are those who most complain about Starbucks.)

    Glad I’m safe from being punted out as a mere author! I have nowhere else at which to spend 4-5 hours a day writing! >_<

  • BeJebus

    get rid of the second “words with friends” joke. it’s redundant. and cut the entire thing down by a third. you’re welcome.

    • YourMom

      Check plus.

  • L. Todd

    I used to write my screenplays in a gay club on Thursday Nights. No, really! It was part of my writing schedule.

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  • Mike Kureth

    Members of the Slavery Activists Group should be included on the banned list as well.

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  • w c engerson

    well piss on the corprate socialist americans .their values are progressive,and communist , evil eat their owan

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  • Phil Schumer

    They should ban screenreaders, too.
    All those antisocial losers staring at their laptop screens, taking up tables long after they’ve finished their lattes, are a damn nuisance.

  • noCore

    the screen writers ought to start a boycott on Starbucks, in response to this banishment.

    • Campo

      They are already banished. What is left to boycott?

  • John W

    I don’t care. I don’t go to Starbucks anymore since I learned that Howard Schultz supports Obama.

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  • Campo

    How do they know if they are screenwriters? Are they hiring staff to peek over laptops, or do they have a mole-bot in their wifi?

  • Tom Tapping

    “……as synonymous with Starbucks as mediocre, overpriced coffee”. I can relate to this !!!!

  • Michael Rowe

    As Toby has said, the fact that so many don’t understand this is satire proves the point about humourlessness and being “desperate and depressing.”

  • Sarah_M547

    @John he screenwriter working on a laptop on the next big spec script at Starbucks has been one of Southern California’s greatest tourist attractions(…) &#104ttp://♣

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  • Jayne Err

    I don’t drink coffee, but I’m seriously considering taking up drinking coffee so that I can stop drinking it at Starbucks while playing Words With Friends, uh, I mean tweaking my new opus on Final Draft.

  • zorrewe jefferson

    Lol where else are we banned?

  • IceGuy

    You think screenwriters have “a depressing and desperate air about them that spoils everyone else’s experience”? Imagine their countenance when doing the same thing in a Producer’s office.

  • Max Myers


  • Itizdone Clement

    I sm dying over here lol!

  • johnclark1

    The renovation of my favorite Starbucks in Toluca Lake indicates how the company is REALLY solving this for my screen-writing friend Aaron Berger. Yesterday a Special Operations team descended, out went the comfy leather armchairs, the side tables and the wall plugs. In are going the high hard seats with beds of nails, and signs that say “In and Out, Berger! ” And so the concept of one on one is being replaced with one on one hundred. Next, drive-in only? We’ll see what it does to their stock price and my backside.

    • johnclark1

      Unbelievable! I think that Schultzy reads this stuff, because I went into the reconstituted Toluca Lake branch, and there were the old armchairs back in place, and everything was much as before, except that the screenwriters were expected to sit on high chairs side by side (less comfortable) and us oldsters were able to relax as before and read the day’s news. So bless you, Schultzy, smart move.

  • jijjaja

    We could start by disrupting waiting in line to pee at starbucks. very clever