Childrearing

Starbucks Refuses To Give Mom Consistent Schedule, Internet Blames Her For Having Kids

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Starbucks scheduling unfair to parentsI am a lover of Starbucks, just like every other red-blooded American, but I’m not a lover of their workplace practices. Corporate giant Starbucks has been in the news recently because of their scheduling technology and how it affects workers with children, originally covered in the New York Times. Now, more Starbucks employees are coming out of the woodwork to criticize the chain’s inconsistent scheduling system and how it does not cater to parents.

Allison Montgomery is one Starbucks employee and parent in particular who told her story to the Huffington Post:

“Starbucks is not catering to parents at all, it’s been going on for a long time,” Montgomery said Wednesday during a segment on HuffPost Live. “You’re at the mercy of the software.”

Her woes mirrored those of Jannette Navarro, the single mother profiled in a New York Times story published last week that exposed the plight of Starbucks workers balancing home life with the chain’s irregular hours.

Montgomery is a single mother who works as a barista in Pennsylvania. As a single mother of four children, she has difficulty finding adequate daycare in the wake of her erratic work hours. Not only that, the unpredictability of her Starbucks schedule has also affected her wages; she is unable to accurately track her income to receive much-needed government benefits. This “irregular” source of income cost her state-funded childcare subsidies.

I have never worked at Starbucks, but I have worked at a restaurant before, for many years before I was a parent. At the time, it was no biggie to deal with scheduling software or to get my shift canceled at the last minute or to get sent home early if there wasn’t enough business. If I had been a parent providing for kids at the time, I would have been irate.

Montgomery is one Starbucks worker who seems to be doing everything in her power to make the most of her situation. She states that she has begged her manager for more hours. She has woken up at three in the morning to take her kids to a babysitter before taking two different buses to work. Montgomery is just asking for one simple request from Starbucks—a normal schedule so that she can be a better parent.

Of course, any time a parenting topic is brought up on the Internet, criticism abounds. Somehow, commenters on the story have connected the dots to blame Starbucks’ scheduling issues on the fact that Montgomery is a parent in the first place. Here are some of the gems:

Yeah, this woman’s plight is all Starbucks fault. Ignore the fact she has four kids while holding a basic job. Life is tough when you make bad decisions in your life.

I miss the days where people were responsible human beings making responsible decisions. How is this situation Starbucks’ problem? (unless of course they impregnated her 4 times). Its a lot easier to blame your bad decisions or unfortunate situations on others than it is to accept them as a result of YOUR own actions.

Should have considered her life choices when she was pregnant with her second. ” do I have the skill set to adequately provide for my children?” If not, perhaps breeding #3 and #4 should have been delayed. Perhaps the father(s) can assist. Not around? More unsound choices….

Nope, sorry, peanut gallery—but you are wrong. People would be complaining if this woman did not have a job and was only living off government assistance. She is busting her ass to make ends meet, and Starbucks has already received criticism for not working with their employees. How many complaints from Starbucks employees with children will it take to see a difference?

(Image: Sean Wandzilak/Shutterstock)

120 Comments

  1. whiteroses

    August 22, 2014 at 8:16 am

    For all these idiots know, all of her children were fathered by her husband who was an engineer and died in a car accident. Even if that’s not the case, though- what business is it of theirs? Perhaps they can come into her home and choose the children they should keep.

    • Shelly Lloyd

      August 22, 2014 at 9:05 am

      I have a friend who is in a similar situation. She was married for 15 years had two small children when her engineer husband walked out on her. Left her for another woman and while he makes enough to send her child support he is always behind on it, and often only sends her half of the child support and even when he send all of what he is suppose to send it is not enough to cover the bills. And he walked out on her during the worse of the recession. She has a college degree in childhood behavior but now all the groups who are hiring for that demand a master’s and she only has a B.A. and she does not have the money to go back and get her masters. So she is busting her rump trying to work two jobs to take care of her kids and she faces the same thing–inconsistent hours and schedule.

    • Rachel Sea

      August 22, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      Back in 2008 I had a great job as an office manager making a comfy and respectable five figures. Then the recession hit, we lost four big government sub-contracts, and had to close our doors. It took 9 months to find a minimum wage job that I stayed at fro a year before I found a good job. Shit happens, and you just can’t control it.

  2. Jen TheTit Whipper

    August 22, 2014 at 8:16 am

    She can’t win for losing. It’s none of your business how many kids she has. Would we still be this pissed off if she had 1 kid? No. The irregular schedule would still be an issue.

  3. Crafty Frugal Mom

    August 22, 2014 at 8:23 am

    This is ridiculous! I am a parent, but whether I was or not, an unreliable work schedule is completely unacceptable to me! I prefer to know exactly what is going to happen and when. There are situations where you can’t control that, but on the whole you should be able to, and a work schedule, unless you are a doctor or similar profession, is something you should be able to rely on. It’s not this woman’s fault for having kids. Granted maybe she shouldn’t have four if she can’t support them, but a million and one things that weren’t forseeable could’ve happened. Maybe, like my ex husband, the father or fathers were excited about the baby when it was first born, then became lazy, didn’t care about anything, and just up and left because it was the easy way out. That’s what my ex husband did and now he doesn’t even pay child support, so I’m doing it all on my own. Is it my fault that I have a child I have to support on my own? No, and it’s probably not this woman’s either. Now, if she’s been sleeping around indiscriminately with a bunch of different guys, that would be her fault. Still, it wouldn’t be the fault of the kids. They have done nothing and she is bending over backwards to try and make sure they have everything they need. I like Starbucks a lot myself, although I haven’t had the money to splurge on a frap in almost two years, but if they don’t change their policy, I may consider boycotting them altogether. It wouldn’t be too hard since I haven’t consumed anything from them in a while. What a bunch of losers, and this is entirely the fault of corporate because they are probably the ones who make these arrangements. What a load!

  4. shm

    August 22, 2014 at 8:25 am

    No one enjoys an irregular schedule, especially when you only get it days before you are due to work it. If the store is properly staffed, then it should not be hard to give all employees consistent schedules. Also, this is just one out of thousands of Starbucks, it hardly seems fair to associate this one isolated store’s scheduling approach with all of starbucks.

    • shm

      August 22, 2014 at 8:34 am

      Also, no one know the extenuating circumstances around how she became single mother of four struggling to make ends meet, so pointing fingers at her for having four kids is unfair. However, sitting back and waiting for someone else to make the changes in your life that you need is unrealistic. Yes, this may be a bad time in the job market to find a new job quickly, but it.is still possible. Good things don’t come to those who wait, good things come to those who work for it, to those who are proactive, and to those who have possitive attitudes.

    • LadyClodia the Modest Rat

      August 22, 2014 at 8:48 am

      She is working hard for her family. It is a very real possibility that she doesn’t have the opportunity to look for a new job. Job searches can and usually do take up a lot of time and time off from work. She has to weigh potentially sacrificing the job and income she does have with the uncertainty of finding another one. Plus she has 4 kids and all of their needs to take care. It is very rarely as easy as just finding a better job for people in low paying jobs with families; there are usually a lot of factors keeping them where they are.

    • Shelly Lloyd

      August 22, 2014 at 9:01 am

      I’m going to disagree with you about this whole “good things come to those who work for it.” I agree that if you do not try you are never going to get it, but I have known and I have been someone who has tried and worked for it only to not get it.

  5. Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

    August 22, 2014 at 8:31 am

    If you don’t like the scheduling Starbucks has, don’t go there. Also don’t go to any major retailer, or restaurant chain, or anywhere, really, because anywhere corporate uses these systems.

    Not only do they all use it, but in both of the companies I’ve worked for, they required us (management) to maintain a certain “efficiency percentage”. We were only allowed to make so many edits to it before we were penalized. It’s a nightmare for everyone, from students that have classes to parents to the elderly workers to the managers who are trying to retain good workers while having to consistently fuck them over or risk their own career.

    Gaming the system isn’t easy, either. I figured it out, but it took months to tweak it right, and I had to rinse and repeat with every new hire.

    The number of kids she has isn’t relevant at all. Like I said above, it affects *every* employee who wants a regular life–which most of us do. Even when I had childcare whenever I needed it, no questions asked, it was a pain. It throws your internal clock off and makes life feel more hectic. You can’t plan things in the intermediary–i.e., if you’re trying to get a doctor’s appoint for a week or two out, you can’t, because it has to be longer than that to put in notice. If you have a school project that comes up, the same thing happens–you have to be willing to put it in well in advance to get time off or have your schedule adjusted. Getting the schedule you need often means conceding the hours you also need.

    It’s a nightmare system. Employees deserve better–with kids or without kids.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 22, 2014 at 8:32 am

      That first paragraph was heavy on the sarcasm for the record. 😉

    • Bethany Ramos

      August 22, 2014 at 8:43 am

      Agree!

    • pixie Ninja Tits

      August 22, 2014 at 8:54 am

      The students with classes thing, yes!
      I never had any problems with being scheduled during class time when I worked at a grocery store for a year and a half while doing my undergrad, but there were a few times where it was cut VERY close. My department was made up of a lot of students and a few who had been working there for years (a couple of them were parents of kids aging from 3 to 18). So between keeping the long-time employees happy and giving them their “regular” shift (4-9am a couple times a week for the parents), making sure the high school students were scheduled only after 5pm and weekends, and making sure the university/college students didn’t have any class conflicts, it was hell for our manager. And we were a pretty small department, too. Mistakes occasionally happened, and our manager did their best to fix it when it was brought to their attention, but even they had people higher up that they had to listen to.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 22, 2014 at 10:02 am

      It sucks for absolutely everyone. And in my experience, it takes a long time for the system to really catch up with when busy times are, when high sales periods are, etc. They also don’t account for other work that needs to be done in times when the store isn’t busy–you don’t want your stocking, resetting, and recovery all occurring during busy hours, but that’s the only time you have hours to give. It’s a frustrating system that takes a lot of power out of the hands of managers that know the location, ebb and flow of business, and workload the best.

    • pixie Ninja Tits

      August 22, 2014 at 10:06 am

      Definitely. And, I don’t know about where you worked, but at my grocery store the upper management kept cutting total hours of certain departments, including mine, so it meant that the manager had to be really careful with who he scheduled for how long. The total hours also included the department managers as well, too.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 22, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Yeah. We actually kept getting scheduled longer as managers because we were salaried–you could work us as long as you wanted and not have to pay us any extra–while at the same time losing good people because we didn’t have payroll to give them the hours they needed.

    • Katherine Handcock

      August 23, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Does the place where you work at least provide lieu hours for overtime performed by salaried workers? I really hope so; I hate that attitude towards salaried employees.

    • Lilly

      August 22, 2014 at 10:00 am

      yes, once I stopped working shift/scheduled kind of work that your talking about it was the best day ever and that was long before kids. The predictability of a schedule is really nice just for life.
      I will say the place I worked that used scheduling software was able to and really nicely set schedules for 2-3 months at a time so even that helped a lot.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 22, 2014 at 10:04 am

      We were never able to, because corporate was bad about not projecting workloads for more than a week or two at a time. Trucks also weren’t scheduled until the week before, which often required shift changes. Nightmare all around. Leaving it was the best day ever for me too.

      I worked for one manager that made it work during my career, and I still love him for his ability to work with everyone’s schedule. He’s the one that pushed me really hard to figure out the system, and find a way to get the schedules more regular. Even then, it wasn’t perfect, but it was a lot better.

    • Fondue

      August 22, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      I had no idea scheduling was like this these days. I haven’t worked retail in almost 20 years (I can’t believe I’m old enough to have just typed that), but way back then scheduling was done on a sheet of paper with a pencil and a well-worn eraser.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 22, 2014 at 1:26 pm

      It’s all auto-generated now. The best system we had required you to put in someone’s actual availability (what they could work), their preferred availability (what they wanted to work), their job codes and skills, and their time off requests…then it generated on its own, and management tweaked it…but not too much, or your DM was on the phone bitching because you edited it. It’s ridiculous. I don’t mind the computer doing the work–and if you get the system right, it does do a good job of it–but management needs to be free to work out kinks and issues, because they know the location and the people the best.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      August 22, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      In my province, it’s now legal to schedule employees for only two hours – it used to be that you had to pay someone for four hours even if they worked one minute, but now it’s only two hours. So you’ll get scheduled for two-hour shifts all over the place and it leaves you completely unable to do anything. (Plus you get called in literally all the time, as this makes the scheduling so unstable!)

    • Katherine Handcock

      August 23, 2014 at 7:09 am

      I will say that not everywhere is like that. I can’t speak for the US divisions (TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, etc.) but Winners and Homesense in Canada, where I worked, had rotating schedules but were not penalized for making changes to the schedule, and tried really hard to accommodate class schedules, daycare needs, etc. They were honest about what was possible when they were hiring (everybody had to work at least a few evening shifts, for example) but they did a great job of making that as manageable as possible. They also guaranteed a minimum number of hours to employees of different categories: full-time meant 30 hours per week bare minimum, for example. You could give your permission to have fewer hours than that, and when Sean and I were in the double-income-no-kids world, I often volunteered to head home so my managers would have an easier time balancing hours.

      From what I understand, Costco is another good example of a retail/service place that does an awesome job of taking care of its employees.

      I totally agree with your point that the best way to make our displeasure known would be to vote with our feet and dollars; I just wanted to let people know that there ARE places out there that are doing it right (or as close to right as you can get with this kind of position.) They don’t get nearly as much acclaim as they deserve for doing something really good for their employees.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 23, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      Aye, but again, in the US, we don’t have a strong record of trying to accommodate workers. The vast majority of corporations in the US, in retail and service industries, use autoscheduling. It’s a big part of growth plans, because controlling expense and increasing sales (which the systems claim to do by maximizing the number of people available when the location is busy) means a larger profit margin. You would be very hardpressed to find a corporation that doesn’t use it in those industries.

      30 hours for full-time is pretty standard. But when you couple it with low-pay, and the cost of benefits, it’s still ridiculous for what we’re asking of employees. My first full time position paid $7.50 a week–fully $0.25 more than minimum wage. The promotion I got afterwards paid $9.25. At 30 hours a week, it was nothing. When I received my first full-time position, there were ten total in our store, which had about 40 total employees. By the time I left the company six years later, there were 4 full-time positions in the same store. The rest of the employees picked up the slack, often being worked right up to 29 hours in a week, just enough so that the average hours worked over an 8 to 13 week span (depending on the company) didn’t go over 30, which would require full-time benefits. And this again is a trend that is pervasive.

      I don’t know about Costco’s scheduling, because they aren’t in our area. I do agree with their pay policies, which tend to be more supportive than other retailers. I know that at least Marshall’s does, because I had employees that worked for both our BRU store and the Marshall’s across the street, and the conflicts between both of our autoscheduling was ridiculous. We had more than one employee that was on the verge of being fired from one or the other for missing shifts because of the conflicts.

      Even if you really committed, you would find it almost completely impossible not to support this policy. The best way to avoid bankrolling them is to support local stores, but that’s often more expensive and difficult to find the items you actually need.

      This problem is absolutely pervasive, and I’m glad that it’s getting attention. Worker exploitation in the retail and service industries is out of control, and we’re the ones that scream to the poor, “Go get a job at McDonald’s…but don’t complain when you still can’t afford to take care of your family and your schedule is never regular.”

      So please, pretty please, don’t down play it by saying, “But no one recognizes the companies that are doing it right”. No, we don’t, because expect recognition for treating your employees like whole people is ridiculous. Respecting your employees is not something you recognize. It’s something you expect. Period.

    • Katherine Handcock

      August 23, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      My apologies; I did not by any means mean to minimize the problem by saying that there are companies that are doing it right. What I really wanted to get at was, if we make a big deal about the companies that ARE doing the right thing, doing the right thing becomes attractive – kind of like most companies now make a big deal about their recycling program or other green initiatives.
      The problems definitely don’t seem to be as big in Canada, and one of my big frustrations is hearing Canadians complain that prices are more expensive in Canada than across the border. Well, yes, there are a lot of reasons for that, but one of them is that people here get a closer to decent wage. The lowest minimum wage in Canada right now is $9.75, which is still not great, but I will totally trade an extra $2 on an item’s price tag in exchange for that.
      Part of the problem to me is that we need to change our consumer mentality. We need to start being willing to spend more to get good customer service at a place that treats their employees well. Obviously, there are many people who can only afford the bare necessities, and they should absolutely shop where they can get the most bang for their buck. But I think those of us who do have extra money to spend need to start trading one fewer goodie/impulse purchase per shopping trip for prices that allow for buying from people who treat their employees well.

    • FishQueen

      August 24, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      Thank you for this! I worked for a major corporation whose scheduling practices were brutal for the mom with three kids who never wanted to work evenings, the student with classes during the day, the older man who couldn’t drive and couldn’t take the bus after a certain time, and those of us who just wanted to be able to go out with friends once in a blue moon. We were told to trade with one another, but if you did that too many times management would act all concerned and then cut your hours. So what ended up happening was employees getting resentful of one another: “YOU don’t have kids, so you should be scheduled all the crappy hours.” “Yeah, well, YOU don’t have five hours of O-chem homework to do every night, plus other classes!” And people wondered why there was a high turnover rate. You either made the schedule they gave you work for you, or you squabbled with your coworkers. Because that’s a positive work environment.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 24, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      We had a key-carrying supervisor at one of my jobs–like an assistant manager, but hourly–who was consistently scheduled to work Mother’s Day, every year, because she had no children. She wasn’t a mother.

      She did, however, have an elderly mother for whom she was the sole caretaker.

      When I volunteered to take Mother’s Day opening so that she could spend time with her mother, she cried. Literally cried. It broke my heart. Everyone has a life–everyone–some included kids, some don’t, and every employee should have space to live it. When we respect that, then and only then do we create a truly positive work environment.

  6. Lisa Walker

    August 22, 2014 at 8:33 am

    I worked in a cheque cashing place that had an irregular schedule…but I knew a month ahead if time. It was fine when I was childless but it sure didn’t work for me once my first came along. So I quit…nothing would change and I was ok with that because I knew the irregular schedule was so customers didn’t learn your schedule and stalk/rob you. But for slinging coffee you have an irregular schedule? Really? Get a grip Starbucks.

    • Lilly

      August 22, 2014 at 10:53 am

      that’s what kind of makes me confused that somewhere like Starbuck’s doesn’t have the ability to forecast better. They should be able to set a schedule I would think at least a month at a time if not longer — there always seems to be a pretty regular flow to the customer levels for time of day, day of the week and seasonally.

  7. Heather

    August 22, 2014 at 8:35 am

    On the one hand, I’ve worked retail and I’ve assisted in creating a schedule, mostly by hand. I’ve also worked with some scheduling software and the amount of work it takes to program the software to the changing needs of individual employees and changing store needs is almost as much, and sometimes more, than just making a schedule by hand. It sounds as if this software is not well-tuned to the business needs, including the needs of the employees, not just making sure the busy times are well-covered.

    But, I also agree, somewhat, with what the irate mom-blaming guy says, when he talks about having the skill-set to make sure you can provide for your children. Before I had kids, I was fine with working retail and never really felt the need to return to school. My husband and I always planned for me to stay home with the kids, so it didn’t seem necessary to spend money on me getting a college degree if it wasn’t going to pay us back through gainful employment in the future. Now that I have kids, I realize that I was wrong. I NEED a useful degree more than ever, because if something does happen to my husband, I need to be able to make up as much of his income as possible, which isn’t possible on a retail salary. Of course, this woman is doing what she can, and I don’t really blame her for her circumstances, life is life. But since making my own realization, my opinion on what type of schooling is necessary and I always advise young women to get their degrees, even if they think they will be having kids and staying home.

    • Shelly Lloyd

      August 22, 2014 at 9:08 am

      I have a degree. Having a degree does not mean automatic good job when there are simply not enough good jobs to go around. And one thing they do not teach you in college, if you want to get a foot in the door at a good company you often have to know someone. If you come from a poor background and you do not have the friends and family connections it is doubly hard to get in.

    • Heather

      August 22, 2014 at 9:16 am

      I don’t disagree. I just agree with having the skill-set to have that opportunity. I know that getting my degree will not just hand me a job if push comes to shove. But having a degree will give me a starting place. It may mean being qualified to apply for assistant manager positions that pay double digits per hour, vs store associates that earn minimum wage. That kind of thing. If my husband becomes disabled or dies or even leaves me and the kids, I know that having a degree is going to be helpful in getting me the most money per hour of time I have to be away from my kids. It will also be helpful in getting into positions with more consistent scheduling. It isn’t a magic button that fixes everything, I just think it can be an invaluable tool for a person, a woman specifically, to get a better leg up.

    • Shelly Lloyd

      August 22, 2014 at 9:39 am

      Where I work, having a degree does not mean you get the management job vs. the store clerk job. I have a degree. That did not stop them from putting me on the registers at part time. A lot of my co-workers have a degree in one field or another. Having a college degree is no longer a guarantee job. And god forbid if you have to take out student loans to get a degree.

    • Jessifer

      August 22, 2014 at 10:19 am

      And god forbid you immigrate as an adult and have a good solid education and work experience back in your home country, because you might as well wipe your butt with it for all it’s worth to them.

    • guest

      August 22, 2014 at 11:45 am

      I agree with you. It does not guarantee the best job in the world but regardless, it does give you a leg up. The classifieds are full of positions that would seem to require only a basic HS education, but now they want at least a bachelors just to get an interview. And at certain retail stores, such as walmart, it’s the difference between being able to start as salaried management vs hourly minimum wage worker.
      If you don’t choose to go to an Ivy league school, as a state resident you can often get a bachelors degree for a pretty fair price. UNLV is a good example, full time runs about 2500 a semester. So 20k for a bachelors, but with Pell Grants or other types of loans it can be done, and it’s worth the money. My niece is a single mom of 2 and has her college tuition covered with Pell grants. You can even get an associates for much cheaper at a community college (local one here is only about 1200 a semester) then continue on to the University for the bachelors. And there is nothing wrong with community colleges as a start- my DIL went to one for her associates (not my local one, she was in another state) and was accepted at U of M for med school, one of the top ten Med schools in the country.
      Thing is, you’ve got to research and know which degree is going to pay off…..you most certainly can be very disappointed if it’s something that has zero job opportunities other than to get you a crappy management position in retail.
      I’m not saying it’s easy and I realize that some people don’t have ten cents left to their name after bills, rent, etc. But, it can be done. My (single, dad not paying child support) mom made it work with 5 kids at home, a full time job and no car. But she wanted better for herself and us, and chose a career that was pretty much guaranteed work anywhere (RN). Like she always said, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

    • Spongeworthy

      August 22, 2014 at 9:46 am

      I agree in theory. A bachelors is a necessity in the job market today (it’s the bare minimum in lots of industries), and I definitely think young women should be encouraged to get some education and not just rely on a spouse to provide. But unfortunately a bachelors isn’t what it used to be. The market is flooded with them. And the cost of a college degree is absurd. So having a college degree, unfortunately, isn’t an automatic ticket to a well-paying job, and if you have to go into significant debt to get one, I can understand why someone already working to support a family wouldn’t go that route.

    • WriterLady

      August 22, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      Yep. A bachelor’s degree is pretty much the equivalent of a high school diploma these days. Currently, many companies require their retail/hospitality managers to possess degrees; 15 years ago, it was virtually unheard of for a store department manager (or assistant manager) to have a degree, because it’s largely unnecessary. The job calls for excellent communication/interpersonal skills, the ability to write a schedule and sometimes track inventory through a computerized system, and know how to handle conflicts. It is not critical that a mid-level manager know the specifics of anatomy, composition and medieval literature, calculus, world history, and all of the other courses that most people need to fulfill the coursework from a 4-year school. If they can swing it, fine, then go for it. Otherwise, it’s a supreme waste of time, money, and resources.

      And because the market is now flooded with highly educated young adults (some with advanced degrees, including M.A.’s/M.S.’s, Juris Doctorates, PhDs/MDs, etc.), more and more people are finding themselves without a job. Another problem with everyone going the higher ed route: When a graduate can’t find a job in their field (or a related field), they often turn to positions in the retail or hospitality industries. And when they apply, they are often told that they are over-qualified. That actually happened to me in the mid-2000s. It’s often a no-win situation. In my opinion, we need to make trade school careers more attractive and popular again, as well as limit the outsourcing of so much of this work to foreign countries. We will always need welders, beauticians, and automotive workers. And those jobs can pay really well, but both parents and teachers alike push nearly all teens into higher education, therefore saturating the system and causing the prospective candidate market to triple or quadruple in size (which, of course, can lead to chronic joblessness or under-employment coupled with massive debt from student loans).

    • Hibbie

      August 22, 2014 at 10:00 am

      How do you know for sure that she didn’t/doesn’t have the skill set for multiple children?

    • Courtney Lynn

      August 22, 2014 at 10:13 am

      I do need to weigh in as someone who left Starbucks a year ago on the new scheduling software. There are a lot of problems and gliches with it. It’s not just a simple, retail type schedule. Everyone understands it’s retail and most everyone who works for the company does, too. When the switched over, it became much more difficult. So this isn’t just someone complaining about a usual retail schedule. It’s a very flawed system.

  8. LadyClodia the Modest Rat

    August 22, 2014 at 8:35 am

    It really sounds like Allison Montgomery is doing everything she can to work and provide for her children. It sucks that she doesn’t have a reliable schedule, and especially bad that it’s keeping her kids from getting the assistance they need. And yet people are bitching about her? And I’m sure they are the same people that would bitch if she had welfare. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. But it’s her life and she has to live it; it’s not some “what if” thought exercise. It already sounds like she has a pretty rough time of things, and asking that a place of employment be a little more accommodating to its employees isn’t unreasonable.

  9. Shelly Lloyd

    August 22, 2014 at 8:36 am

    When you see “Flexible hours” listed in a job opening it means they want you to be flexible. I deal with something similar where I work. For the first 18 months at the grocery store I work at I had to be willing to come in anytime between 6am to 11pm, Monday through Sunday. It was only after I had been there and showed myself to be a good employee that they have allowed me to work mostly day shifts Monday through Friday, but I still have to be willing to come in any time on Saturdays and Sundays. I still have to be able to work the occasional closing shift during the week if needed.
    One of the inconsistency with the schedule at work is when the damn thing is posted, our work week is from Sunday to Saturday. So often they do not put up the next week’s schedule until Friday afternoon. There has been several weeks were it was not put up until Saturday morning. Today is Friday and I can not tell you when I’m working and when I’m off next week because the schedule at work will not be posted for several more hours. Not to mention the inconsistency with hours. This past week I had 30 hours. The week before that I had a grand total of 12! Unless you are management you are not guaranteed more than 8 hours a week. I have no ideal how many hours I will have next week.
    Another thing I dis like with my job is that while I am crossed trained for many departments I am suppose to only be in the bakery. I actually have a doctor’s note that states I’m an not suppose to do any more cashiering shifts because the long hours standing in one place is terrible on my feet and one of the things that lead to me developing feet and leg problems. I can work 8 hours on my feet as long as I am in motion. I can do this in the bakery. And I love working in the bakery–but so often they will try to schedule me in other parts of the store that I can no longer work. I have to constantly remind that I have a doctor’s note for this. But it doesn’t matter. Ugh.

  10. Shelly Lloyd

    August 22, 2014 at 8:37 am

    I truly believe that the people who are bitching about her that she has too many kids are most likely the same ones who would have condemned her if she had an abortion.

    • Spongeworthy

      August 22, 2014 at 9:24 am

      I agree. They’d condemn her for an abortion, condemn her for trying to get birth control “on their dime”, they condemn her for working and trying to support her family, and they’d condemn her for being on govt assistance.

  11. Shelly Lloyd

    August 22, 2014 at 8:41 am

    The whole thing about she should have had the job skills before she had skills….Well fuck that. I have a college degree in elementary education. I graduated with a 4.0 and a Summa Cum Laude and I still could not find work when I graduated. I’ve been working in a grocery store for the last 5 years. And now that schools are starting to hire again, I still can not apply because my student loans are all in collections so all my degrees, transcripts and professional licenses are frozen. Talk about feeling stuck.

    • Bleu Cheese Bewbs

      August 22, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Exactly, Shelly. And honestly, regardless of what choices she made before, she is trying her best to take care of her family now. People need to get off her ass, stop judging her, and at least try to understand what she is saying.

    • Sri

      August 22, 2014 at 9:22 am

      Yep. I had 2 bachelor’s degrees and half of my master’s in Education, and I was working in a department store for years because I graduated right when they started to lay off teachers in my area, figured my master’s would make me more attractive to schools, then realized that it was actually pricing me out of the market (plus I couldn’t really afford it). I had baby boomers CONSTANTLY tell me that I should have gone to school to get real skills and a real job. Ok, you retire, and then I’ll take your job.

      Beyond that, like Bewbs said, I think that people should try less to judge her for trying to take care of her family, and try more to see how this issue might be resolved.

    • Liberty

      August 22, 2014 at 10:20 pm

      Yep, I have my teaching certificate and a degree in history/English but my area is so full of teachers that I haven’t found a job so I’ve subbed. I’ve ended up subbing so long I need to figure out something else to do because no one’s going to hire me at this point. I’ve worked in a retail store for 4 1/2 years in addition to subbing and it is hell. With my student loans and bills I hardly have any money leftover so I can’t exactly just pick up and move somewhere that needs teachers. I’m so stuck.

  12. Lacey

    August 22, 2014 at 8:41 am

    I don’t fault her for being pregnant at all. My issue is when mothers/fathers think everyone should “cater” to them. If the job isn’t a good fit for your situation, get a new one. I’m speaking as a mother of three so it’s not like I’m insensitive to her plight but we can’t expect the rest of the world to give us exceptions just for having children. It would be nice but it’s hardly realistic or fair.

    • lea

      August 22, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Ah the ol’ if you don’t like it you can leave line, hey?

      I disagree that having a regular schedule of shifts is asking to much, nor expecting to be “catered” to. And it is, in my opinion and the opinion of many, both realistic AND fair to expect one. Whether you have children or not.

    • wonderstruck

      August 22, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      In her line of work it IS asking too much. It is completely typical for a food or retail establishment to not offer set or regular schedules.

    • Ms.Anne'sNotoriousLadygarden

      August 23, 2014 at 10:45 am

      Why not? Keeping in mind the variables, they could have at least a general idea. I worked for a few years in a local coffee shop (competing with a Starbucks) and while I didn’t know exactly what my schedule would be, I had a general idea of what to expect. Between x and x amount of hours, and I worked certain shifts. Some weeks might be 5 days, others 4, others six, but it wasn’t a complete mystery. The managers planned around the variables– they knew how many employees they had and what hours they regularly worked, and had a few “floaters” who didn’t mind picking up open shifts.

    • Spongeworthy

      August 22, 2014 at 9:40 am

      Where is this magical land where one can drop a job they need and just find a new one immediately that perfectly fits their situation? Please tell me so I can move there.

    • Jen TheTit Whipper

      August 22, 2014 at 9:52 am

      I do have a regular schedule job. And I find it difficult to make time for interviews etc. I also don’t have kids. Simply looking for a new job, starting over at the bottom, finding childcare etc. isn’t that easy. I think “cater” was incorrectly used. Managers need to know and understand certain aspects of their employees, are they a student? Are they only here for spending money? Are they parents? if you have an awesome employee who is a single mom and needs a fairly consistent schedule? That’s part of management anywhere.

    • coffeeandshoes

      August 22, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      I think I had an issue with the word “cater” also, as it implies some entitlement I’m not sure should be there. As Kay Sue said, retail is notoriously challenging for anyone who wants a regular schedule, and parents really aren’t the only group who warrant scheduling consideration.

    • whiteroses

      August 22, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      So I can just go out in my backyard and pick a job off the job tree? Shit, why didn’t I think of this before?

  13. VA Teacher

    August 22, 2014 at 8:44 am

    I do think it would be nice if Starbucks would work with her and that people should shut up about her kids. However, I do dislike the phrasing she used in her complaint: that Starbucks doesn’t “cater” to parents. Unfortunate wording I’m sure, but it may have put people on edge because it makes it seem like she expects MORE consideration just because she has kids.

    • JJ

      August 22, 2014 at 9:28 am

      I agree with you. I don’t think having kids means she or others should get consideration over others. The fact is everyone has responsibilities be it kids, school, elderly parents to care for, a second job they have to get to. I get her complaint and I agree but I don’t like the emphasis of parents deserve a better schedule over others. No everyone deserves a decent, stable working schedule. People who don’t have kids shouldn’t get stuck with the shitty shifts and all the holidays because they don’t have kids and their life is so breezy apparently. I get the main complaint of hers and I totally agree however having children doesn’t trump everyone else to. All the people she works with deserve a fair, stable schedule regardless of children or no children status.

  14. jane

    August 22, 2014 at 8:44 am

    The internet is an asshole most of the time, so it’s not super surprising that it’s an asshole in this case either.

    The scheduling thing is especially problematic for parents, but really, it’s an issue for everyone. I don’t know anyone who could survive on a schedule of 8 hours one week and 30 hours the next. And what about students? What about people who care for an elderly parent? What about people who are working a second job?

    I worked at Starbucks many moons ago, and they were known for being great to their employees. It’s really a shame that they’re willing to sacrifice a lot of employee satisfaction for the sake of “efficiency.” (And I do wonder how efficient it is if people keep quitting and new people need to be trained because of scheduling nonsense).

    I appreciate that part time work often means more schedule flexibility than full time work. I know that when you sign on to work at a chain that is open far more than “standard business hours” you are agreeing to work at “off” times. I just hope that they can find some way to humanize and rationalize the process.

    • Ms.Anne'sNotoriousLadygarden

      August 23, 2014 at 10:51 am

      You make a great point there: ” (And I do wonder how efficient it is if people keep quitting and new people need to be trained because of scheduling nonsense).” They seem to be feeding their own problem and then poof! it’s just the way things are!

    • FishQueen

      August 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      As a former trainer, you are spot on. I was kept hopping all year long because of turnover largely due to people not being able to take the inflexibility of management, often with regards to scheduling. My trainer rate was higher than my normal rate; all trainees got a guaranteed five days of eight hours for training. Multiply that by what collectively amounted to about eighteen weeks out of your year for me alone (there were four other trainers in my department)…how is that cost efficient?

  15. Jessifer

    August 22, 2014 at 8:45 am

    I would take it one step further and say that this kind of scheduling is awful for ANYONE (although even moreso for parents). And it’s not just Starbucks but pretty much the entire restaurant/retail industry doing this. My spouse was working as a cashier for a retail chain, and it was terrible because the schedule would only come out a few days in advance, so you really couldn’t make any plans unless you specifically asked for a day off, which they treated it as the end of the world, even though they might only end up scheduling you for one shift that week (oh, but of course the day you want off is the ONE day that week where they need you at all costs!). And then of course, there’s weeks where they will only give you 2 shifts even though you are begging them for more hours or to be hired full-time (nevermind the schedule, just guarantee me full-time hours) and they say they don’t have more shifts to give, yet they keep on hiring more part-time employees. They’d rather have 4 people working 10 hours a week than 1 person working 40 hours a week, cause then they might actually be entitled to *gasp* benefits and pensions that all the employees working at corporate office are entitled to. They are terrible.

    • JJ

      August 22, 2014 at 9:23 am

      I agree. Even if someone isn’t a parent that is a rough, last minute crazy schedule to get thrown at you. Your screwed if your a parent, a student, do volunteer work or work a second job to pay the bills because their schedule just expects you there last minute whenever they beck and call. Plus most people can’t survive on such low hours if the company is trying to avoid hiring full time workers by just giving everyone small part time hours at odd times with little notice. Sucks for everyone who works there and for similar companies.

    • blh

      August 22, 2014 at 10:25 am

      I agree it’s an awful schedule, but you’re right that’s how all retail is. You know that going in, it’s not like a shock. I have to agree with other people. Having four kids with that kind of job is stupid. I got pregnant when I was 2o working as a cashier with irregular hours. Guess what. It was a stupid ass decision on my part and I’m willing to admit it. Even with normal hours you are NOT going to make enough to care for four children working at starbucks.

    • Jessifer

      August 22, 2014 at 11:23 am

      You seem to think that people can just walk up and leave if they don’t like the hours. Don’t you think they’re not trying to find something better, like it hasn’t crossed their minds at all? There are a variety of reasons why, unfortunately, people are working these jobs. It can take months in order to find better options. Just because they are “stuck” there, even if it’s just temporarily, does not give an employer the right to treat its employees like that. These people are trying to WORK and earn an honest living. They might not expect to make the same salary as a doctor or a lawyer doing the job that they do, but they certainly shouldn’t accept being treated poorly just because they’re working minimum wage.

    • Warren Pacholzuk

      August 23, 2014 at 12:24 am

      This didn’t just happen overnight. She knew the scheduling going into the job, and should not have taken the job if it wasn’t good for her.
      It is not the responsibility of any employer to make your life easy. And they definitely cannot treat you different because you have kids, because that just sets them up for complaints and suits based on discrimination of the other employees without kids.

    • Guest

      August 23, 2014 at 1:52 am

      “…should not have taken the job…”

      So if she turned down the job and was on government assistance while waiting for the perfect job with the perfect scheduling to fall into her lap, you’d be fine with that?

    • Warren Pacholzuk

      August 25, 2014 at 11:59 am

      If you know the job going in, you have no right to take your complaints to a public forum. So it is not a great job, big freaking deal. On the other hand, just because you have kids does not get you special treatment as an employee.

    • Jessifer

      August 23, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Wow, tell me more about this magical world you live in, where single moms with 4 kids can just turn down jobs until they find the perfect one for them. Do you think this woman wakes up at 3am and takes two buses to go to work to get paid minimum wage, because she loves Starbucks so much that she wants to stay there at all costs? Besides, it’s not about treating mothers differently, it’s about treating ALL employees like they are valued and that they matter. They work hard and get paid very little, so that Starbucks can make their millions in profits, and Starbucks couldn’t care less about them. It’s sad that we’ve now normalized and accepted, rather than question and criticize the fact that these large retail chains can act this way. It’s wrong.

    • Warren Pacholzuk

      August 25, 2014 at 11:53 am

      No this story was about a parent wanting special treatment because she has kids. Nothing more. And she is wrong for it.

  16. Bleu Cheese Bewbs

    August 22, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Random Internet commenters ignoring the actual problem and instead giving a WOC shit for how many kids they don’t think she should have? What a fucking surprise.

  17. pixie Ninja Tits

    August 22, 2014 at 9:07 am

    I worked for Starbucks for about a year when I was in my last year of high school and I think the main issue with scheduling lies with the majority of employees being part-time. Depending on the location and amount of business that store gets, they might not even hire baristas on as full-time (mine didn’t because it was new and relatively slow for the majority of its first year). If she’s a good enough employee, there’s the option to try and go for shift supervisor, which can be full-time, but of course that means full-time hours and you still might have to cover in the event of an emergency.
    In retail and food service jobs it really sucks for both the employees and the one doing the scheduling. There are usually a number of students – high school and postsecondary – who need to be scheduled around class time, several parents who need to work around childcare and be able to call in without fear of losing their job if there’s an emergency with their kids, and some older people who have their own unique scheduling requirements. Part-time work, unfortunately, requires quite a bit of flexibility. I don’t remember what it was like at Starbucks, but at the grocery store I worked at, I know the system wouldn’t allow an employee to be scheduled if it was outside of their “available” time (what you write down on your application/when you’re hired). Of course there will be some irregularity still if you write down 9am to 5pm monday to friday as the only times you can work, but the system won’t allow you to be scheduled before 9am or after 5pm. The system at Starbucks could be different, though.

    Long story short, though, it’s like being between a rock and a hard place for both parties most of the time.

  18. NIGHTHAVEN

    August 22, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Ok so here is my 2 cents worth. I work shift work and it sucks. shifts like 7-2, 9-9, 3:30-11pm 11:30-8pm I think having an irregular schedual blows however, you can always look for a new job that has better hours. why should a company “cater” to parents. I am contantly bombared by co workers (who have worked in this same feild with me for 13 yrs so it isn’t like they didn’t know the hours before they popped out snowflakes) switch shifts so they can attend jonnys soccer game or suzys ballet. but when I ask for a shift change to say go to dinner with my husband or take the weekend off nope nope nope. Also for 13 yrs i worked every major holiday because “I don’t have snowflakes” it even got to the point where my coworkers with kids have made there own scheduals to work around there daycare needs! leaving others like me (BTW I am trying to get preg) with all the shit shifts. so yes a reg set schedual is needed HOWEVER don’t expect companies to cater to your HOME needs you choose this job find another. what if the company said ok your set hours are 3am-9am tell me she wouldn’t bitch about how hard it is t get to and from her job and drop off her kids or find daycare at that hour. (Now I do give her credit for working and not being on welfare cudos to her but someone ALWAYS has it worse and someone ALWAYS has a sob story!)

    • that girl

      August 22, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      I always felt those WITHOUT kids (me – by choice for 39 years) get hosed because parents get first dibs on days off. Christmas is just as important if you’re single/kid-less/whatever. This happens all the time in my current office job — we have a deadline so someone has to stay late to get the work done. Parents in the office always say, “I have kids” and then I have to stay late (regardless of seniority, etc) even if I had plans that night. “Plans” (aka A life outside of work) never trump “kids/family.” I have a co-worker who HAS to leave on time (we work late a few times a month on last minute notice) to let her dog out. WT?! I’m going to put a picture frame on my desk with the stock photo of kids/dogs in it and just point to it when I’m asked to stay late.

    • Coffee&Cats

      August 22, 2014 at 6:52 pm

      I’m childless. I had the same experience as you did. I worked literally every holiday for years because those with kids would always bitch and get the holidays off. I wanted to tell them that my life outside of work was just as important as their’s even though I don’t have snowflakes of my own….it’s enraging.

  19. Boozy Shark Lee

    August 22, 2014 at 9:44 am

    I feel for this mom but the inconsistent scheduling is the nature of the beast in the service world. It sucks for everyone, not just parents. My husband is a restaurant manager and his schedule still changes every week and he only gets that schedule on Thursday for the upcoming week. It makes scheduling daycare a bit of a nightmare (and there are two of us) but it is not something we would bring to the internet and publicly call out the company for. We just had to think a bit outside the box on daycare and find a home provider with very flexible hours and a couple back up sitters. It is not impossible to work around that. I don’t think people should be telling her she shouldn’t have had kids but I also don’t think this is something she should be publicly complaining about.

    • Jessifer

      August 22, 2014 at 9:48 am

      But why should people just have to accept that it’s “the nature of the beast”. I work at a company which operates 24/7 and is very much seasonal in nature, but people still have relatively regular shifts and stable work hours. Why should it be any different just because it’s restaurant or retail?

    • Boozy Shark Lee

      August 22, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      When you work in an industry with so many school aged people it is very difficult to have the schedule be set. One person will have a swim meet, three have homecoming, one has a study group that came up. Unfortunately in the service industry if one person can’t work someone has to cover for them which then changes the whole rest of the schedule. In my office job, if I’m not here, I’m not here. Someone may need to pick up one of my tasks but there is no need to call in another employee.

  20. Courtney Lynn

    August 22, 2014 at 9:50 am

    I worked for Starbucks for 8 years before leaving to be a SAHM. When I started, I just had a boyfriend, so no kids, no husband, not responsible for anyone but me. Even as an unmarried, childless woman, I still had issues with the scheduling sometimes. I’ve worked with a lot of young college students, who also had similar complaints. They’ll get their schedule for the next week and see that they either have to choose between it or school. Not fair at all. People don’t seem to get it. She’s not complaining about having kids. She’s saying scheduling is a problem. And it is. It really, really is.

    A lot of it can depend on your store manager, too. I had a few store managers who worked HARD to make sure everyone got a fair schedule. There was some compromise from both parties, but for the most part, most were happy. Then came along the NEW scheduling software and even the best managers had issues. It would be a several page essay if I were to go into all the issues I had with scheduling. It only got worse after I had kids!

    And before people assume ANYTHING, I’m happily married with a bachelor’s degree. The job market blows. I’ve worked with people with Master’s degrees.

    • pixie Ninja Tits

      August 22, 2014 at 10:01 am

      Agreed that it also can hugely depend on your manager. Some managers are great and do their best while others are awful and don’t care.

    • Courtney Lynn

      August 22, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Yes. And with the new software, it became so much worse. For the good and bad managers. I had single friends who had issues who were trying to work, pay rent and go to school. This is not just the usual erratic, retail scheduling. The new software has a lot of bugs and is hard on almost everyone. People need to understand that.

    • pixie Ninja Tits

      August 22, 2014 at 10:45 am

      I left before the new software (worked there 2008-2009), but I definitely understand there can be huge issues with scheduling software.

    • samantha

      August 22, 2014 at 10:12 am

      I worked for a licensed store so our schedule was made by our manager without the software. We were desperately understaffed and everyone was taking classes. There were times I’d open the store at 4am, work til 11:30, hightail across town for class at noon (and usually be late), class from 12-8 or 12-9, and then wake up the next morning and do it all over again. It was hell, but I told my manager I could do it because I needed the hours. She worked her ass off to make sure that I still had time for homework and sleep, and I’m extremely grateful for it.

      Managers at the hotel where my Starbucks was worked a minimum mandatory 50-60 hours a week, and our Starbucks manager often worked way more than that, and she was a single mom herself! It was insane, but the hotel would rather have her work extra hours on a salary than pay to have an hourly worker do it. She’d work 7 day weeks for months with no day off to ensure that her employees got the time off they needed, and we very seldom were refused for time off. There were still tons of issues with scheduling though, mostly because we were so understaffed– but that was the fault of the management of the hotel, not our direct Starbucks manager. The whole hotel had shit scheduling, the place was a nightmare.

    • Courtney Lynn

      August 22, 2014 at 10:24 am

      Sounds like a nightmare! It definitely does depend on your manager. I’ve seen managers who complained about having to give someone a day off for something school or kid related and then make sure they scheduled their vacation.

    • Ms.Anne'sNotoriousLadygarden

      August 23, 2014 at 10:33 am

      We used to joke that the coffee shop I worked at after college required at least a BA and preferred a MA for all their employees. I think there was maybe one employee who didn’t have a degree.

  21. Hibbie

    August 22, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Even if she were a teen mom with 4 different kids from 4 different dads…who the fuck cares? She’s taking care of her kids and is working during a time in our economy where that is a feat in and of itself. People need better things to do with their time than judge others.

    I’d also like to point out that having to apply for government assistance is embarrassing as fuck. Medicaid? Food stamps? Embarrassing to use. Yeah there are people who abuse the system, but let’s not be ignorant enough to color everyone with that brush.

    • FishQueen

      August 24, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      The interviews alone for SNAP and other social services are BRUTAL. It would a cold-blooded person to sit through that kind of grilling just to game the system, which is so much rarer than people seem to think. It’s hard enough- I wish people would tone down their ignorant comments for a while. Then again, I also wish that I lived in a country where fewer people would need assistance because there were plentiful jobs that paid decent wages, but that’s neither here nor there.

  22. samantha

    August 22, 2014 at 10:02 am

    When I worked at Walt Disney World my sophomore year of college, I had to completely rearrange my class schedule because it was nearly impossible to change your availability. If you were part time, you had three set days a week that you would be scheduled, at whatever time for however long. I worked fourteen hour shifts before, if there were “extra magic hours” or a special event like Grad Night or Night of Joy– but the upside was that every hour over 8 was time and a half, so I didn’t complain too much. I’m just thankful my three days weren’t consecutive, because there were plenty of part timers who would work 12p-12a and then have to be back at 5 or 6 to open the next morning.

    Full time was even worse. You had to have complete open availability, scheduling was incredibly erratic, there’s ‘mandatory overtime’ whatever that was. Schedules were released a week in advance though, so it was relatively easy to switch shifts if you could find someone, otherwise you were shit outta luck. Call out or clock in more than five minutes late more than three times in a set amount of months, and you were fired, no excuses.

    I kind of understand Disney’s methods though; they have to be extremely strict because there’s literally thousands of people who work for them, and one misplaced cog in the machine could cause disaster. Surprisingly though, the turnover rate wasn’t that high and there were people I worked with who had been at the same exact position for decades with no complaints. However, being located in Orlando with shit tons of colleges around, it was incredibly easy to hire someone to replace you if you got fired.

  23. Courtney Lynn

    August 22, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Also, I had to stop reading the comments on HuffPo! GAH! The fucking ignorance.

    • Ms.Anne'sNotoriousLadygarden

      August 23, 2014 at 10:50 am

      NEVER read HuffPo comments. I don’t know where they find those people.

  24. Guinevere

    August 22, 2014 at 10:12 am

    (I’m just envisioning a Starbucks brand “creamer” that impregnates now.)

  25. KaeTay

    August 22, 2014 at 10:18 am

    First I HATE the way she worded that “starbucks is not catering to parents” I hate that word because it makes it seem like you’re entitled to something and takes away sympathy of those reading.

    That being said; this is why I work at a place that is open 24/7 Sure walmart gets a lot of flack and I would be getting paid around 10 dollars an hour if they paid by experience.. but I have a set schedule and although I’m part time I get 3 hours shy of the max full time hours a week that you can get. I will also soon be getting a 15% discount off of my college I attend because of their partnership. I’m looking forward to that the most. I know some employees complain about the place.. but I’ve found it differs on the location. Mines great, laid back and people actually do their jobs and the bathrooms are sparkling clean (if you’re a girl you understand the importance of a clean bathroom with doors that you can lock).

    I made it clear when I got hired I could NOT work certain hours at all.. and if they scheduled me I wouldn’t be able to make it. My daughter is not in day care, the hubs and I work rotating shifts because last time we put her in daycare she got injured by another kid and the teacher was oblivious then even said “I don’t know why he always does this to the new kids”. So, we’ve decided to put daycare off until she’s older.

    I hope this woman applies to a different company.. maybe Costco I know those are in PA. They also pay a living wage and are open about the same hours as Starbucks. I’d apply but they close too early for me to work there.

    • RW

      August 22, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      This is another good point too – employers often forget that they can have a say in setting their hours. Students are a prime example – here’s my class schedule, I cannot work these hours. There’s no negotiation there. With childcare this woman may have more flexibility, but if she knows what hours/days are simply impossible SHE SHOULD BE TELLING HER EMPLOYER. And like as not instead of doing so she just agrees, wrings her hands and says “what am I going to do?” I’ve known people terrified to ask for time off for doctor’s appointments. Or vacation days they are entitled to. You can accommodate to the best of your ability, but a company is also obligated to accommodate as well, and if you can’t be there, you CAN’T be there. You cannot be fired for refusing certain work hours unless those hours are critical to the job requirement.

    • Blueathena623

      August 22, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      In the case of Navarro (mom in the NY article), she and her son were *barely* hanging on. She needed every second she got. If her life was chaotic before she got hired, she wouldn’t have a “preferred” schedule, and she was too scared to push too much for fear of losing her job.
      Negotiating only works if you are able to say no.

    • KatDuck

      August 22, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      I’ve done that with retail before, telling them before they hired me that I was a student and my schedule was reeeeeally open except for these specific hours. They put on a show of being totally fine with that. Guess when I’d get scheduled? And the general attitude was that it wasn’t their problem, it was mine and I’d have to find replacements or get fired. I chose to walk instead but, fortunately, I had that option. DH got stuck in his own retail job with the same issues.

      Most places I’ve worked were fine with working around their employee’s schedules, so long as the employee has a certain number of hours open to work with and accepts it might mean short weeks, but there’s some that really don’t care.

  26. Alanna Jorgensen

    August 22, 2014 at 10:27 am

    I used to work for Dominos Pizza, and scheduling could be very inconsistent like this because you had to try to schedule according to projected business needs. Times in were exact, time out varied depending on how busy/slow the store was that day. That said, when I was put in charge of the schedule I tried very hard to make it as consistent as possible and to give full time employees the same schedule every week with two days off in a row. Consistency in your work schedule, with or without kids, plays a HUGE factor in personal happiness and reducing stress. You can actually plan the rest of your life around work instead of guessing.

  27. Dirty Old Lady Phillips

    August 22, 2014 at 10:28 am

    When will these large corporations realize that their employees are their first customers? Happy employees means better service, more productivity, higher sales, etc. A relatively minor thing like giving employees who have been with the company X amount of months first crack at the schedule would make employees feel more valued, which improves an employee’s commitment to the organization and lowers employee turnover rates (thus saving money on hiring and training.) Paying a living wage would also go a long way improving employee morale and dedication, and has the added bonus of improving the economic status of millions of potential customers (ie, everyone makes more money, everyone has more money to spend.) Offering employees monetary or other tangible incentives for meeting goals would drive up the quality of service and help identify workers’ strengths and weaknesses, which would help improve strategic HR planning, as well potentially improve employee training programs and weed out the workers who are not genuinely contributing to the organization. Companies like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods do this, and it’s definitely not hurting their bottom lines. None of this is rocket science.

  28. The Redhead

    August 22, 2014 at 10:48 am

    I feel for people in this situation. When I was going to school and working retail type jobs scheduling was always a mess. I would get hired with the understanding that I had school on certain days, and yet the schedules would never accommodate that. Trading with other employees was always a nightmare. And forget trying to make any kind of appointment… you never had any idea what your schedule would be two or three weeks down the road.

  29. ChillMama

    August 22, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Why do people act like work is a privilege, and therefore you should suck up whatever your employer throws your way? Employment is a two-way street. No, empoyees cannot expect their every whim to be catered too. However, if employers truly value their empoyees, and want to attract and keep people, then they have to show some consideration and respect.

    The fact is, people have to work to live.

    • RW

      August 22, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      That’s true, but at the same time, a business can only be expected to accommodate so much. With jobs like this, inconsistent scheduling is an industry standard. While I agree that each individual establishment should take it upon themselves to accommodate their employees where they can, expecting a consistent, repeating shift at a high turnover, part-time laden business that is likely already accommodating employees with fixed schedules like students is a bit much. I would go so far as to call it an unrealistic expectation of the job. I agree Starbucks can probably do better, but if this woman is gunning for M-F/9-5 she picked the wrong line of work.

      You also raise another good point – if they want to keep her they should accommodate. They should, but if they don’t, she needs to be looking for a job with a schedule that is a better fit for her. I understand that job hunting in some areas and economies is difficult, but you won’t find better if you don’t try, and it shocks me how many people view low-paid, unskilled jobs as “theirs” and therefore never attempt to leave or seek better. If you don’t like the job, you change jobs, not expect the business to change for you.

    • Ms.Anne'sNotoriousLadygarden

      August 23, 2014 at 10:39 am

      But if no one speaks up, things will never change. That’s the other issue here– companies are increasingly treating employees worse and worse, and it’s because people just accepted it– or quietly left and some other, desperate person took the job. Across the board, employers are squeezing everything they can out of employees, replacing full-time with temps, expecting unpaid overtime when they don’t bother to replace people, treating employees like indentured servants. Businesses are run by people making choices, they aren’t set in stone as “this is the only way”. Where does it stop? Employers are not gods, or lords of the manor, they NEED employees as much as employees need work. The quality of goods and services is already suffering, and the economy shows the impact of these practices, too.

    • RW

      August 23, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      It’s true, but employees need to be realistic in their expectations too Other than that, they need to hold their employers accountable. Employees don’t have to be protected by a union to have rights, and they should know their rights. In the age of the internet ignorance is no excuse – you can find your state’s labour laws easily enough.

  30. Tina

    August 22, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I think it’s damaging to say “omg how dare they not cater to parents!!” because then all the world sees and hears is “entitled” parents complaining about their strife. But the harsh reality is that most retail and service industry companies treat their employees like total crap, and among a plethora of problems, will not accommodate any schedules someone might need to work around. That goes for everyone from parents to students, people volunteering or taking care of sick family members or younger siblings. On top of that they will hire an additional part-time employee instead of giving their existing employees the additional hours that they need to make ends meet because they don’t want to have to give the majority of their employees benefits. The entire industry needs an employment policies overhaul and it’s not because of parents. It’s because they shouldn’t expect anyone, no matter who it is, to be robot without a life of their own. It’s irrelevant that this woman is a parent, she is a human being who deserves to be treated properly and with respect by her employer.

    • KatDuck

      August 22, 2014 at 11:59 am

      In full and total agreement. I actually really like retail because of the weird schedule but only because I have an amazing manager backed by an entire corporate structure that really does try to work with employees. I know from experience that they’re not all like that and that’s a problem. I don’t have solutions but framing it only as a “Parent” or “Student” or “People with freckles on their toes” issue just frames it as an entitlement thing when, instead, it’s systemic and harmful for a whole swath of the population.

  31. Jessica Johnson

    August 22, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    the unpredictability of her Starbucks schedule has also affected her
    wages; she is unable to accurately track her income to receive
    much-needed government benefits.
    Wait. I don’t get that. Back in the day when my family was on food stamps, they wanted last month’s wages, not next month’s schedule. Same with medicaid. Have they changed that?

    • Sri

      August 22, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      I assumed that it meant that some months she earns over the cutoff point, while others she might only get like 8 hours per week, but you know what they say about assuming and all that.

    • FishQueen

      August 24, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      A lot of social services want an estimated annual income or monthly now, which is often impossible when you have no idea what your schedules will be like.

  32. WriterLady

    August 22, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    My SIL has worked for an inexpensive hotel chain near in northern Ohio for nearly 8 years, making just above minimum wage as an assistant manager. With her qualifications and prior experience, she could have a much, much better paying job. However, she’s a single mom to 2 young school-aged kids (the dad ran off after the second was born, which is clearly not her fault). A few years ago, her hours were crazy and unpredictable and she contemplated quitting. The hotel’s general manager pretty much gave her an ultimatum: ‘If you continue to work for us at your current $9.50 an hour, we will accommodate your schedule.’ They desperately wanted her to stay, and she insisted on a more consistent schedule and better pay. The first request was granted; the second was not. Currently, she does has a fairly stable schedule (some evening hours and weekends are required, but not too often), although this trade-off comes at the expense of her feeling trapped. Despite working full-time, her family stills requires SNAP, after-hours daycare assistance when necessary, and Medicaid. She also feels trapped because she knows that the hospitality industry is notoriously bad about permitting their employees—especially those with children—to have anything even remotely close to a consistent, reasonable schedule. In other words, her bosses are using and abusing her situation in an effort to keep her there and pay her next-to-nothing. It’s absolutely terrible, in my opinion.

    Meanwhile, another SIL, who is childfree at the moment, makes really good money working as a manager at a very upscale hotel in a larger Ohio city. She is slightly younger and has less experience in the industry than my other SIL, but because she can work at noon, 6pm, or 3am, she is considered to be more motivated, driven, and qualified to do the job. I’m happy for her, but my other SIL should have the same opportunities (and especially a similar level of pay). Nobody should be punished for being a parent.

  33. wonderstruck

    August 22, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Welcome to almost every job in retail and food services ever. I wouldn’t bash her for having kids, but if she doesn’t like the way their scheduling works she should look for a new job. This is far from an uncommon practice. Parents aren’t the only ones it’s inconvenient too, but it is what it is – you know going into it that your schedule and hours will fluctuate almost constantly. No, it’s not ideal, but it’s not some sort of attack on parents and unless she is full-time and receiving less than full time hours, there’s legally nothing to be done here.

  34. shivago

    August 22, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    The whole situation sucks..and I’m glad that she is bringing it to their attention. Hopefully they can make some changes considering that they are a large corporation with resources.That being said, if they want to keep their stupid way of scheduling they can and at that point you have to weigh the options and either deal with the stupidity or try to make the move to another job. Of course finding a job is not easy but if you need to do it then you will find a way. The fact that she has kids, or how many, doesn’t matter. I’ve worked in retail and places that wouldn’t follow through on what hours they promised when they hired me and drove me nuts but I just walked off. I will say though, working in retail I’ve always found that you can hope for the best but you can’t be surprised when these places screwed you over.

  35. CrazyFor Kate

    August 22, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Why just parents? I get that this is a parenting site, but there should at least be a token acknowledgement that there are tons of people out there who need a stable schedule for various reasons, even if they don’t have kids…

  36. Coffee&Cats

    August 22, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    As someone who has worked at Starbucks and other retail jobs, I’m not surprised. These jobs are often unfair and soul crushing. For example, I was told by one employer that I would be fired if I needed to miss another shift due to an er visit (I have a medical condition that warrants an er trip to get my medicine. I can’t self administer it). I was also expected to finish a shift when I was so sick from my condition that I was almost passed out. I stayed and was bedridden for 3 days afterwards because of it. So I’m totally not surprised that Starbucks doesn’t care about giving a parent regular shifts to help her out. Retail managers view us as robots. They freak out if we need ANY sort of accommodation.

  37. kittymom

    August 22, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    I worked at Starbucks over the summer before university, then VERY shortly after starting. Despite TELLING them, WELL in advance, I was unavailable for Tuesday/Thursday evenings (due to classes), they would schedule me and then tell me it was my job to fill my spot.
    Good coffee, love the ice tea, sucky employer.

  38. koolchicken

    August 22, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    I’m not trying to be a jerk, but this IS kind of her issue. Retail and food service jobs are all like this, and they’re like this for a reason. I worked retail for nearly a decade. And sometimes we’d find out from corporate our hours were just getting slashed for no reason. It was incredibly stressful for my manager who tried really hard to give people consistent hours. We had a lot of single working mothers and we did what we could for them, but we couldn’t just give all the hours to one person. And everyone wanted the “best” hours, so we did have to try and be fair. We also had periods where we were incredibly busy and we’d sometimes have people working extra or on days they said they couldn’t work. But here’s the thing, when you sign on as an employee to these places they make you agree to work when they say you have to work, even if it’s a day you requested off. So by signing that agreement you can’t really complain about it later when it happens. You were told it was a real possibility, and now that it’s happening you need to just deal with it or leave.

    This woman needs to find a proper 9-5 somewhere else. Those hours will not happen in a retail or food service environment. It’s just the way it goes. I’m sorry if she can’t find employment elsewhere, or for as much an hour. But it is her burden as a working adult. The fact that she has kids really shouldn’t even factor into things.

  39. Liberty

    August 22, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    I’ve just worked retail for 4 1/2 years while subbing which meant some days I would work 11-12 hour days a couple of days in a row. While it’s sometimes nice & fun to have a varied schedule it’s also incredibly hard. You never know how many hours you’ll get from week to week or if you’ll have enough to pay your bills. There’s no way to get more hours than you are needed either and some weeks you get so overloaded with hours at both jobs you can hardly breath. Then, the one time you need a day or a couple of days off and ask you get called/scheduled just for those days. My horrible retail manager really rude about days off. If I asked for a Tuesday off a month in advance, which no one else asked to have off, most often she’d schedule me for it and then I’d have to find someone to cover it. If someone doesn’t constantly ask for day after day off or call in sick all the time and there’s someone else who could work the same shift and you could work the other shift then there’s no reason not to give the requester the day off.

    But when you sign up for retail then you know you won’t have consistent hours or a consistent schedule most of the time. It’s not just parents who have these problems. Most people want to know when they’re working, how many hours they’ll have so they know how much they’ll make, and when they can do things. It isn’t reasonable to set schedules 2 months in advance because new things come up where people need to have appointments or funerals or get sick. Even a month in advance is hard for everyone. A couple of weeks, though, is fair and reasonable. Managers and companies need to realize that employees are human beings who need to be able to live and employees need to realize that sometimes employers can’t put schedules together in tiny pieces. But, mostly companies need to take better care of employees because then employees are happier and everything goes better.

  40. Warren Pacholzuk

    August 23, 2014 at 12:29 am

    How many complaints from employees with children, will it take? Infinity, I hope. Just because you have kids, does not get you extra special anything, over employees without kids. Don’t like it, stay home, because that is life.

    • Katherine Handcock

      August 23, 2014 at 6:36 am

      I think the point is that ALL the employees are complaining about the erratic schedule that’s totally at the mercy of software, but that the parents have been singled out for giving their specific reasons for having a problem with it. Having worked that kind of erratic schedule before, there are lots of reasons a single person with no kids finds it incredibly difficult too – just try scheduling, say, a doctor’s appointment for a day you’re guaranteed to have off.

    • Warren Pacholzuk

      August 25, 2014 at 11:55 am

      Or do what the rest of us do, and book the time off so it is not a crapshoot. Sorry, but this is the job you took, this is the way the schedule is done, and you know that going in. Suck it up.

  41. Quinn

    August 23, 2014 at 2:53 am

    Like everyone else here says, the article’s cool until I see “cater.” I actually backtracked to check that I wasn’t just delirious and the quote was by someone else (because why would the mom say that?). That definitely conveys entitlement that shouldn’t be there.

  42. Katherine Handcock

    August 23, 2014 at 6:43 am

    I’ve worked a retail job where you had an unfixed schedule – some nights, some days, some weekends – and I’ve worked a retail job where you had a set schedule that got modified if necessary for vacations, etc. The fixed schedule job had WAY less problems with scheduling EVERYBODY. When you have an unfixed schedule, you are basically constantly adjusting the schedule for special circumstances – either a manager spends a ludicrous number of hours working on the schedule, as mine did, or a computer spits out a schedule and then a manager spends a crazy number of hours modifying it as people aren’t able to attend.

    In a place like Starbucks, I imagine there are actually relatively few people looking for 9-5 (or 8-4, or 7-3) shifts, because a lot of your part-time people are in school during those hours. That was certainly the case in the place where I worked. So you’d be struggling to find people who were available during the day, while putting people who WANTED to work during the day on evening or weekend shifts they didn’t want.

    I know there has to be a certain amount of flexibility in a retail or service job — management, especially, in both the fixed and unfixed schedule jobs had their schedules bounce around a fair bit, because you were required to have a manager on duty at all times — but honestly, I think most of these places would have an easier time scheduling (and a much lower rate of people just throwing up their hands and skipping a shift) if they at least let people set their preferred hours.

  43. Lana

    August 23, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I can see both sides a little. I mean, it used to take me hours to sit down and make a schedule, and the place I managed only had 12 employees. And then there would inevitably be some kind of conflict, which would make it so you had to shuffle things around. I see the appeal of a software that just randomly generates it. Especially when you’re talking about that many employees. No manually trying to figure it out, no employees whining at the last minute after you’ve spent two hours getting it right because they totally forgot to tell you till after the schedule was posted that they can’t work X day…sorry, it’s not me, it’s a random computer program and everyone has to abide by what it says.

    And I realize parents have special needs sometimes when it comes to things like childcare. But you know what, to non parents and other employees….that’s fucking annoying. Every employee feels like they have special needs. Every day off needed, everyone who feels like they need a certain shift, they feel like that is important and valid. It creates resentment sometimes in the workplace, the accommodations that are often given to parents. And if you shuffle things around to accommodate one, you have to do it for all of them. And, again, my experience comes from 12 employees, not however many assload of them an average Starbucks probably has to maintain. I feel bad for the woman that she’s having to take extra busses and get up early and everything…but really, that IS what you get when you work a low wage service industry job, and it isn’t just a problem for parents, and it isn’t just Starbucks.

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