The Controversial Reason A Starbucks Employee Quit Over A Pet

During the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, food service workers became frontline workers. Not only did these employees need to worry about the risk of being exposed to the virus, but the tensions over COVID protocols like masking led to verbal and even physical abuse. One video on TikTok, for example, shows a Starbucks worker being verbally abused by someone who does not agree with the masking policy. In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a man allegedly punched a barista due to the store's mask policy (via CBS News).

The conditions in the food service industry during the pandemic have been and continue to be harsh, so employees at places like Starbucks are attempting to unionize in hopes of better working conditions. According to The Guardian, 140 Starbucks stores have unionized so far. "We want to be able to sit down with Starbucks, with the higher-up executives, and make a plan so that we, as employees, feel as valued as they say that we are," a Starbucks barista told Vox. It's common for Starbucks workers to feel undervalued, which is what ultimately led one worker to quit.

The employee's manager asked if they could reschedule putting their dog down

Those who have worked in the service industry know that you can't just take a day off, you usually have to find someone to cover your shift. College student and Starbucks barista Auralee Smith was in a tough position when she learned that her family dog had to be put down, and she texted her manager to let her know that she was going to try and get her shift covered the following day (via Insider).

To her surprise, her manager stressed that she needed to find coverage and asked if she could reschedule the appointment (via Twitter). Smith then revealed what it was really like to work at Starbucks and put in her two weeks notice because she was frustrated with the "toxic and callous" work culture (per Insider).

The former Starbucks barista then posted a screenshot of the messages on Reddit and Twitter and received mixed reactions. "I'm so sorry about your dog. Pets are family and friends all in one package. Your employer has no soul and I wouldn't bother with coverage or notice," replied one Redditor. "While I understand why you would be upset, the manager offered condolences and was understanding as long as you're able to get coverage," another personĀ tweeted. A representative of Starbucks told Insider that the text messages "do not show the full picture" and that Smith's resignation letter indicated that she had no hard feelings toward the company.