Thursday, March 25, 2010

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

I posted this link the other day on Twitter but thought it was worth sharing in more detail here as well. From Fast Company:

fired on facebook

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.

No comments: