‘You’re talking to the manager, get out!’ Cookie straw meltdown at Starbucks costs woman her job

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QUEENS, N.Y. — A shift manager at Starbucks has been fired after a video was posted that shows her screaming at a customer about a cookie straw and ultimately demanding the customer leave.

Business Insider reported that Ruby Chen was accused of stealing a cookie straw valued at 99¢. The woman offers to pay, but, as the video shows, the manager refuses to accept it, saying that when she told the woman the price “you wanted to keep arguing.”

When the customer asked for a manager, she got an earful.

“You’re talking to the manager, get out! You’re not going to be served here.”

“Bye, bye, bye” the manager says over and over in the video while gesturing emphatically.

“You’re not going to be served, so give me the straw and leave,” she says a moment later.

The  manager went on to say the woman could give her the candy straw and leave, or she could leave with the candy straw and not be allowed back at that Starbucks location. The manager also threatened to call the police.

The customer seemed to become increasingly confused by the hostility, asking, “Are you OK?” and “What’s going on?”

The manager continued the tirade, saying, “Are you OK? Do you not get it?”

The video was posted to Starbucks’ Facebook page. The chain initially responded with: “Ms. Chen, this experience is not reflective of the service our partners provide to our customers every day. Someone from our leadership team will be reaching out to you shortly to apologize and make this right.”

A follow-up post indicated the manager had been fired.

“We take this issue seriously; this experience does not represent the high service standards we set for ourselves. This partner no longer works for Starbucks,” the posting stated.



  • bob

    Did she steal the straw or not? If so, I’m boycotting Starbucks until the re-hire the manager.

    Or, better yet, I’ll just go and steal whatever I want, since that’s their corporate idea of “customer service.”

    • fe0173

      Starbucks are horrible to employees (“partners” yeah right) I had a customer call corporate on me for following company policy. I wouldn’t refund merchandise without a receipt. They literally told me, “just give her the refund.” when it was quite clear that she just stole the item at a nearby store and went to a different store to “return” it. There had been a rash of such incidents where I was and I was sick of being lied to. Get in trouble if you do the refund, or get in trouble if you don’t…. that job made me just hate people.

    • Charissa

      Even if she did end up walking out with it, that does not deserve this woman of getting her job back. Embarrassing a customer in public like this while she was trying to pay and refusing service and accusing them of stealing when she was just holding it and waiting for them to take her payment method? Yeah, definitely glad they canned her.

      And I’ve been working with the public since the age of 15 so I can definitely ‘relate’ to any customer horror stories. This behavior was just completely unwarranted.

    • Catalina

      She didn’t know the difference between the straws. They were probably all at the wrong and she picked one and turned around, and the manager lashed out on her. She should have calmly said “Oh man, those are regular straws. Those are $0.99, they’re like cookie straws you bite, the regular straws are off to the side.” “Oh okay I’ll buy one/ oh okay here you go, where are the straws again?”

  • Catalina

    Poor thing, she didn’t even realize it was a cookie straw. She just reached for a straw, no matter she was confused.

  • Frieda

    This article is woefully lacking in details. Look at all the other news outlets. The customer ordered a Frappuccino AND a special cookie straw (which is free with EVERY Frappuccino). The barista is not allowed to unwrap the cookie straw and place it in your drink, so that’s why the customer had it in her hand. It’s no different from holding a packaged biscotti displayed in front of the register while waiting to be rung up. The shift supervisor blew a fuse when the customer, who was trying to open her Starbucks app to pay, didn’t hear the barista ask her name for her order. It quickly escalated into total drama with the shift supervisor refusing to let the customer pay for her order (by taking away the scanner) and yelling and cursing at the other customers in the store who jumped in to defend the poor blind-sided customer who did absolutely nothing wrong.

  • burn

    As someone who has worked at Starbucks, I find it funny how an incident like this gets so much publicity. Customers flip out all the time on Baristas. It’s possible this Shift Manager just finally had a meltdown. Starbucks customers are some of the absolute worst.

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