- A Starbucks employee said she quit after her boss asked her to reschedule her sick dog.
- Auralee Smith, who worked at Starbucks for more than two years before leaving, called the culture “ruthless.”
- Her beloved rescue dog Gandy was her “best friend” until she got cancer and needed to be put down.
A 21-year-old college student quit her job as a Starbucks barista after her manager asked her to reschedule an appointment to drop her dog so she wouldn’t miss work.
Auralee Smith said her family’s rescue dog, Gandy, was her “best friend”. The family adopted Gandy when she was around 8, and Gandy “was really scared when we got her,” Smith told Insider.
“My family helped her out,” Smith said. “It’s like she’s finally happy not to be in a stressful, scary situation.”
The family joked that Gandy was a “cat dog” because she liked to nap in the sun so much. Smith, who teaches piano lessons in New Jersey, said Gandy would “sing along” when she played the piano.
“I’d play a note, and she’d try to match it to the howl,” Smith said. “Really, really sweet. She likes that.”
It was devastating when Gandy’s family found out she had cancer and veterinarians advised against surgery due to Gandy’s advanced age. In dealing with the pain of choosing to let go of Gandy, Smith said the last thing she wanted was that her Starbucks manager “really wanted me to change the days she put her to sleep,” while Smith said she asked to finish her shift.
“I’m sorry to do this, but I’m trying to find coverage for my Sunday shift. I have to put my dog down on Saturday night and I’m going to be a mess. She’s my best friend,” Smith said in a text message Said to her boss in February, adding: “I’m going to text some people to see if they can help.”
“I really need you to find coverage,” Smith’s manager responded. “I know it’s a tough situation, but you have a lot of notice, so if you don’t come in, it won’t be approved. Is there a way for you to do this the next night when you’re not working?”
After working for Starbucks for more than two years, Smith said texting was the last straw.
“I read the last sentence and heard, ‘Oh. What the heck? How to do it?’ How is it decided what to say to me?” Smith said. “That was a harsh response to me, just asking if I could change the day she was put to sleep.”
Responding to her manager, Smith texted: “I’ll try to find coverage. Sorry for the inconvenience, but this is the family dog and she’s very sick and that’s something my family has decided to do. I Can’t “rearrange when I put my dog in Starbucks. This is also where I officially put in two weeks. I’ve been with this company for 2.5 years and I appreciate what it has done for me, but I’m ready to move on. ”
— Lai Lette (@lai_lette) July 31, 2022
While disturbing, Smith said she wasn’t entirely surprised by the manager’s reaction and didn’t put all the blame on her. She said it was Starbucks as a company that created an environment in which employees were overworked and undervalued.it has become a common chorus between coffee chain employeeMany of them have unionization.
“To me, it’s just the mindset that Starbucks is promoting behind the scenes,” Smith said. “This mentality got worse while I was at Starbucks, leading to someone asking me to change the day I put my dog to sleep. I already felt like I was exhausted. Then, when I just saw it, that was it. “
A Starbucks spokeswoman said the text messages sent by Smith did not show the full picture. In text messages shared with Insider, Smith’s manager expressed sympathy for her situation but insisted Smith needed to find coverage for her shift.
“The health and well-being of our partner has always been our top priority. Under these circumstances, we were able to support this partner’s job security at the time,” a Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement.
Smith said she received overwhelming support after tweeting screenshots of the exchange, Reddit After she had time to grieve Gandy, she was still frustrated with how the company was trying to create a happy extended family atmosphere while employees worked in a stressful environment and customers wanted to get their coffee and leave quickly.
“As they’ve become more toxic and callous in this way, they’re still — they mean the company — still clinging to the idea that they’re trying to be a small family-run coffee shop or something instead of The McDonald’s of coffee shops,” Smith said. “This is not a small mom-and-pop shop and they want you to behave like this when you’re understaffed and toxic and callous.”