A Starbucks barista’s TikTok post about being verbally abused at work went viral on the social media platform, with throngs of other users chiming in with workplace horror of stories of their own.
Sadly, there have been reports that the stress of rude customers is seemingly extending to some managers as well, who may take their frustrations out on employees. The barista who posted the TikTok, @babybimb0, doesn’t specify who was being abusive to her in the post, however, many assumed it was at the hands of an irate customer.
@babybimb0 yummy panini #starbucks #fyp ♬ original sound – Skylar
According to Reliable Plant, approximately 44% of workers surveyed by the Employment Law Alliance stated that they’ve worked for an abusive boss in the past. On top of that, “More than half of American workers have been the victim of, or heard about supervisors/employers behaving abusively by making sarcastic jokes/teasing remarks, rudely interrupting, publicly criticizing, giving dirty looks to, or yelling at subordinates, or ignoring them as if they were invisible,” according to the analysis.
The report also suggests that employees in Southern states seemed far less likely to have negative experiences with a boss, with only 34% of those working in the South stating they’ve dealt with an abusive manager. This number is significantly lower than the 56% of Northeastern workers who’ve reported unfavorable interactions with supervisors, and 48% of Midwesterners who wish they had received better treatment from higher-ups.
The TikToker, @babybimb0, writes in a text overlay, “me eating my free employee meal after just being verbally abused in the most disgusting and horrific way known to man,” as they munch on a Starbucks sandwich and sad music plays over the clip.
@babybimb0 Replying to @kimmiponce just wanted to put this out there bc people love saying this when someone complains abt their job!! its not always as easy as just quitting!! #starbucks #fyp ♬ original sound – captain obi’s gf <3
The barista posted a follow-up TikTok in response to one commenter on the aforementioned sandwich-eating video, who suggested that the treatment she experienced, whether from customers or a manager, probably wasn’t all that bad if they were still working there.
“So I wanted to address this cause I’ve gotten tons of comments like this and I don’t wanna like single this person out, but, I’ve gotten a ton of comments exactly like this, like, ‘Oh just quit, just leave,’” the barista explains.
“Not everyone can afford to just leave their jobs,” she continues. “Like I have bills to pay, I have things I need money for which is why I’m here. Starbucks pays me well compared to other jobs that I’ve had. It’s not like, not everyone has the luxury of just being able to get up and leave.”
The creator adds that while she’s applied to other jobs, she has yet to hear back from them.
“And so it feels very….not rude, but like very unaware,” they say of commenters who presume it’s easy to leave her current job situation. “Like not everyone is just able to quit their job whenever they want and still be able to make it. Cause I know, me personally, I don’t have that ability. Like if I quit this job I’m shit out of luck right now.”
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been reports of understaffing at various Starbucks locations (and many food service jobs in general) as “killing morale” of overworked employees who have to deal with the stress of performing multiple job tasks simultaneously to make up for the lack of available workers.
The Guardian also reported that Starbucks baristas must also deal with rude customers, who’ve apparently forgotten how to conduct themselves in a post-COVID world. Again, these added stressors could influence managers who are already dealing with understaffing to take their frustrations out on the employees they manage, which is ultimately just bad for business.
Many TikTokers who commented on @babybimb0’s post expressed sympathy for the barista.
“Bruh why are people so mean to food workers I don’t understand like verbally abusing them,” one user said.
“People don’t understand why the pay should be higher, just dealing with machines and customers = STRESS!!! Much Love,” another wrote.
“I understand being upset cause your order was wrong but I WILL NEVER understand yelling & acting like a child over fast food,” a third shared.
Several alleged Starbucks employees and service workers shared just how much more difficult it is to be effective at their jobs when they’re also struggling with the added stress of wrestling verbally abusive customers.
“I received more verbal abuse in my 6 months as a Starbucks barista than I EVER did in my 8ish years working in emergency rooms,” one viewer claimed.
“I’ve been in situations where my manager or customers were extremely abusive. I didn’t leave bc I had bills but also actually loved my job. It’s hard,” another added.
“You have to pay your bills I was abused at my last job and I looked hard for my new one and I hope you get the new job girl I know it’s hard,” a third wrote.
Others called for unionization, which many Starbucks locations are pushing for after staff at a Buffalo franchise became the first to ever do so.
Even the union’s TikTok account, Starbucks Workers United, commented on @babybimb0’s post. “This is why we unionize! Sorry you’re experiencing this, too many of us do :/,” they wrote.
The Daily Dot has reached out to @babybimb0 for further comment on TikTok, as other methods of contact were unavailable.
Today’s top stories
*First Published: Aug 14, 2022, 1:31 pm CDT
Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot covering trending human interest/social media stories and the reactions real people have to them. He always seeks to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and facts pertinent to these stories to create your not-so-average viral post.