TikTok/@stephaniezullo Brooke Sjoberg

‘My dog is literally dying in my arms right now’: In viral TikTok, Starbucks barista says manager shamed her when she called in

'I'm starting to notice a pattern with you.'


Brooke Sjoberg


Published Dec 25, 2021   Updated Dec 27, 2021, 10:04 am CST

A video posted by @stephaniezullo on TikTok in which she shares a past experience working as a Starbucks barista has garnered 1.8 million views as of Saturday. She claims that her manager shamed her for calling in as her dog was dying.

@Stephaniezullo is a TikTok creator who gained her 475,900 followers by recounting her varied experiences working at Starbucks.

In the video, the TikToker reenacts the exchange.


“It’s me, Steph, I’m not going to be able to come in today,” she says in the video. When her “manager” asks why she will not be coming in that afternoon, she tells her “my dog is literally dying in my arms right now,” and that she and her family will have to take her beloved pet to the vet to be euthanized.

“I’m starting to notice a pattern with you,” the manager, also portrayed by @stephaniezullo, says. “In the year since you’ve worked here, you’ve called off twice. One because your grandma was sick and now because your dog is dying?”

The reenactment ends with the TikToker saying they will discuss it the next day.

Commenters on the video shared their bad experiences with management, implying that they were also Starbucks employees.

“My old manager threatened to fire me [because] I kept having [doctors’] appointments for medical issues, I left mid shift and never came back,” one commenter wrote.

Another commenter wrote that their manager had made them come in after being exposed to COVID-19, for which they tested positive after their shift.

“I told my GM that I had been exposed to COVID and they made me come in anyways, without getting a test,” they wrote. “Finished my shift and turns out I was positive.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to @stephaniezullo regarding her videos via Instagram DM, and to Starbucks directly regarding its call-in policy.

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*First Published: Dec 25, 2021, 2:16 pm CST