Starbucks Worker Says Manager Asked Her To Change When She Puts Dog Down To Cover Shift

Exterior of a Starbucks location
Unsplash | TR

Anyone who has a pet knows that a pet is more than just an animal, it's a true member of the family. Losing a pet might not compare with losing a loved one, but it's certainly up there.

A Starbucks barista recently shared her sad experience — one where the pain of losing a beloved pet was compounded by the uncaring actions of her manager.

Starbucks has been known as an employer that treats its workers well.

Interior of a Starbucks
Unsplash | S.Ratanak

I worked as a barista at Starbucks years ago, and at the time, it was known for being a better place to work than most other low-wage foodservice jobs. This article from 2003 spells it out.

But judging from the story we're about to share, it seems that standards may have slipped.

Put your dog down or go to work?

This is the dilemma that Lailette found herself in recently. We'll delve into the details in a moment, but the long and short of it is that Lailette needed to put her dog down, and her manager wanted her to change the appointment so she could come in to work.

Lailette explained the situation.

Text exchange between Starbucks worker who had to put her dog down and Starbucks manager
twitter | @lai_lette

In this text exchange, Lailette outlines the stakes: she has to change her shift because she has to put her dog down, and she's fully expecting to be a mess.

While her boss empathizes with her a little bit, they still ask if Lailette could maybe put her dog down on a different day.

"I can't reschedule when I put my dog down for Starbucks."

Text exchange between Starbucks worker who had to put her dog down and Starbucks manager
twitter | @lai_lette

Anyone who's had to put a pet down understands how important it is to end their suffering without delay. At this point, Lailette decided it was time to pull the plug on her two-plus years of working at Starbucks.

Commenters had some thoughts.

This user had absolutely no empathy for Lailette's situation, or for the concept of family emergencies.

Things happen, and a good manager will find ways to make things work rather than sticking to an ironclad schedule they drew up a week ago.

Other folks got it.

Here's what I don't understand: yes, Lailette was scheduled and yes, she was going to have to miss her shift (for a good reason, mind you). Is there not some flexibility built into scheduling to allow for family emergencies, sickness, or positive COVID tests? Couldn't Lailette get an exemption from her manager?

Starbucks (sort of) responded.

While Lailette didn't get a response from the official @Starbucks account, she did get one from someone claiming to be a Starbucks regional manager.

After expressing his sympathies and asking the dog's name for some reason, he went on to explain that employees should put staffing concerns ahead of the welfare of their pets.

It's more common than you might think.

Employers need to be able to fill shifts, but they often do so at the expense of their employees' mental health. There has to be a better way to fill shifts than questioning whether an employee is truly bereaved.

Some bosses...

The thread turned into a chance for people to vent about uncaring bosses they'd had in the past. This story is particularly gross, but at least the boss didn't lecture anyone about the importance of filling out a schedule.

What do you think?

Exterior of a Starbucks location
Unsplash | TR

You'll likely have a different perspective on this if you're in management, but what are your thoughts? How can a manager balance the need to staff their workplace with the emotional wellbeing of their employees?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.