British Teenager Fired From Job Via Facebook, After Cookie-Related Ineptitude

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Things you need to know before we get started: in England, cookies are called biscuits. Also in England, the word "cookies" does not also mean cookies, because this story revolves around a cafe called Cookies that does not sell cookies. This may all sound like a fun bit of wordplay leading up to a punchline, but it's not—that's just how they roll in England. It's a mysterious island nation, I know.

As the Daily Mail reports, Chelsea Taylor, a 16-year-old clerk at the Cookies Cafe in Leigh, was sent, improbably enough, on an errand to retrieve cookies for the staff of Cookies. She was given a "tenner" (in proper American English, God's own language, that's a "Hamilton") for the purchase of said sweets, only to lose it sometime during the journey. She returned to the Cookies Cafe both cookie-less and penniless.

Young Chelsea Taylor's boss at the Cookies Cafe was not pleased with this turn of events. How, she wondered, did she manage to open and run a cafe named after a snack she could not manage to procure? Heads would roll for this one! And it was our poor heroine who got the axe—and not in a very pleasant way.

Yes, Chelsea was fired via Facebook. The message is conciliatory, apologetic, and polite, yet its mere medium suggests a lack of personal involvement and a distancing that borders on the insulting. The shortened words, the text-message abbreviations ("u" for "you"), and the aversion to tell Chelsea in person all combine to form an epic brush-off—and Chelsea is not pleased.

"Even if she had sent me a text message or something it would have been better than on Facebook. She didn't have the guts to tell me face-to-face," said Taylor. Her mother called the action "appalling," "heartless," and "dreadful," and (rightfully) identified the typos and abbreviations as "disrespectful."

Is it okay to fire someone via Facebook? Would it actually have been more appropriate to use proper grammatical conventions? Those norms are still being formed. All we know is, don't go to the Cookies Cafe expecting cookies. They don't have any.

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2 Comments

  • Autumn St John

    It looks like it was done through FB's private message function, so I guess that's something. When I first glanced at it, I thought it was a Wall post.

  • Matthew Graziano-Humphrey

    Well since England, and the language they speak (English) was around way before people left to discover America, I think you will find that it is in fact gods own language.

    Dan, I like the article, I am glad you are bringing forward something that has been happening more regularly over the past few years. However I dislike the fact that you seem to have a superiority complex over other countries.

    With that aside, and playing devil's advocate, You would be amazed the amount of employees in Great Britain will communicate in improper fashions thing that should be more formal. I worked somewhere where people would constantly text in sick instead of phone, and some places I have worked I have known people not to return to work without even telling us they were quitting.

    Were Cookies correct in firing Chelsea in this way? Probably not, however most times there is more going on that meets the eye. I am sure that there were other reasons for sacking her that went over 10 pounds (or $16)

    I hope that Chelsea finds another job and puts this behind her.