If you’ve ever worked in the food service industry, you know things can get fast and furious in a heartbeat. There are throngs of hungry and thirsty patrons who wanted their order two minutes ago. Even after stay-at-home orders from COVID-19 were lifted, food service businesses at large are purportedly still understaffed.
This has led to a litany of anecdotes from food service employees who have delineated how they’re being overworked due to the lack of sufficient staffing at their workplaces.
A Starbucks barista named Kas (@mama_medusa_) says that this workplace stress extends to her job with the coffee chain, stating that she was so inundated with job responsibilities, she wasn’t even able to use the bathroom during her shifts, prompting her to finally quit her job.
She posted about her experiences working for the chain in a viral TikTok that’s accrued over 67,000 views as of Monday.
Kas says in the video, “If you’re looking for a job and you’re thinking about applying at Starbucks, don’t do it.”
The barista explains why she wouldn’t recommend employment with the globally recognized coffee chain, saying, “It’s a sh*tty f*cking company to work for. Starbucks has a rule about employees talking about Starbucks on social media but I put in my two weeks’ cause I can’t f*cking take it anymore.”
While there doesn’t seem to be any nomenclature from Starbucks that expressly states employees aren’t allowed to discuss the company on social media, the chain has shared a two-page online document delineating a series of guidelines for its workers when they do post about their job online.
The document highlights that while the brand does want its employees to share their “passion,” there’s wording that states this shouldn’t come in the way of workers performing their job. There is a section on there about complaints, highlighting internal methods of voicing said complaints, seemingly suggesting that instead of airing their grievances online, partners should speak “privately with fellow partners…face-to-face with [their] manager…[use] Partner resources…[or contact the] Business Ethics & Compliance helpline at 800-611-7792.”
In the TikTok, Kas criticizes Starbucks’ union-busting practices. CNBC reported in March 2023 that court rulings found the chain “repeatedly broke labor laws” and “fire[d] pro-union workers,” along with “interrogating them [and] threatening to rescind benefits if [said] employees organized and [even] threaten[ed] to call the police on a worker, according to a spokesperson from the National Labor Relations Board.”
The TikToker continued in her video, “I’ve been an employee at Starbucks for four years and they have just shown time and time again that they don’t give a d*mn about you. And then a bunch of stores try to unionize and the company is doing everything in its power to make it as difficult as possible.”
Another grievance she has with the chain is that stores are so understaffed, employees are overworked to the point that folks can’t even go to the bathroom while on shift.
“Like, I’m sorry but you should not keep your labor so low that if somebody so much as has to go to the bathroom it ruins the entire morning,” Kas says. “I don’t care about the whole you should go to the bathroom on your breaks thing, like my bladder doesn’t work on a schedule. If I have to pee, I have to pee.”
Another gripe the barista had with Starbucks was the perceived lack of care when it comes to how patrons treat and interact with employees.
“They don’t care how customers talk to us and the reason all the customers are pissed off is cause they have to wait so long for their stuff,” she says.
Kas continues, “People are overworked and overwhelmed and we’re expected to just do everything with a big old smile on our face.”
While Kas acknowledges that Starbucks pays better than “some other companies,” it’s still not enough.
“Like as a supervisor, I’m still struggling to survive on the income I make from this job,” she concludes. “That is absurd. I don’t doubt that I could go on like several long rants about this company.”
One viewer who saw Kas’ video offered a different perspective, stating that working in the “trenches” at Starbucks is much more exciting than existing at a “boring” office job, painting a “grass is greener” scenario.
“Until you go to an office job after 5 years in the trenches at starbs and it literally as exciting as waiting at the DMV,” they wrote.
Another person commented with their own Starbucks gripes where they called out the chain for its “food waste,” which other social media users have said.
“I see so much food/drink waste, they never fill my drink to the top,” the user said. “The employees look miserable. I’m over them.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Starbucks via email and Kas via TikTok comment.