Cookie Shop Workers Say They're Only Paid $8.98 An Hour & Treated Like They’re In A Police State — ‘We're The Poor Unfortunate Souls Upon Whom You’ve Built Your Cookie Empire’

Anonymous employees of a popular Orlando bakery have sparked a debate about their “unsafe & unfair” working conditions.

Gideon's Bakehouse storefront. Guna Ludborza, Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock

An anonymous employee collective of Gideon’s Bakehouse, sinisterly named the Ghosts of Gideons, recently sparked discussion after public outcrying for better working conditions, wages, and staff treatment.

The popular bakery and cookie shop, with Floridian locations in both Disney Springs and Orlando, has gained massive popularity in recent years — categorized by its extremely long lines and eccentric bakery items, including its infamous “homemade” cookies.

@starvalentine this place is magical 🥹 #fyp ♬ enjoy the silence - ☆

Ghosts of Gideons, allegedly representing Gideon’s employees on their Instagram platform, has posted publicly and spoken with media outlets in a “desperate plea for help,” arguing they’re “taken advantage of” by the famous cookie shop. Using social media posts and a public demand letter, they're urging customers to boycott the store.


Employees are calling out Gideon’s Bakehouse for their allegedly ‘unsafe and unfair working conditions.'

In their first post of several from May 11, Ghosts of Gideons called out Gideon’s Bakehouse for allegedly taking advantage of employees to “reap a fortune” as a company. They've made claims of health and safety violations, low wages, and racist/homophobic behavior from upper management.

“Ownership & Upper-management of Gideon’s have built a toxic empire of lies… Upper management is also utilizing racial slurs to refer to you… during official meetings,” the writers behind the post alleged. 

@cayseastone All claims are alleged and sourced from the ghosts of gideons Instagram page. Follow for more! #gideonsbakehouse #ghostsofgideons #greenscreen #orlando #centralfl #news #gossip #journalism ♬ original sound - CayseaStone

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“Yesterday, we issued a demand letter to Ownership to resolve the myriad of infractions. Instead of offering a plan, they have begun to retaliate by firing and punishing innocent employees.”

Following their initial post, they’ve continued to update their followers, arguing that store conditions have only grown more toxic following their anonymous plea for help. They even referred to the atmosphere as “a police state." 

They have since further alleged that Gideon's Bakehouse is responsible for unfair terminations of innocent employees, sexual harassment (in “East End & warehouse locations,” according to a recent post), and anti-LGBTQ+ and racist rhetoric.

In their public ‘demand letter’ to Gideon’s upper management, Ghosts of Gideons argued that working conditions are similar to those of a ‘police state’ or  '1800s plantation.'

Their demand letter, allegedly sent to leadership prior to Ghosts of Gideons' first Instagram post, contains a number of complaints, demands, and what some might consider threats. They alleged “unsafe working conditions,” inefficient management, unfair $8.95 hourly wages without the opportunity to collect tips, and racist rhetoric in a company meeting on May 6.


Gideon's Bakehouse cookie case. Joni Hanebutt /

They also addressed several other staff concerns, including alleged ADA regulation violations for customers and staff with disabilities, unsafe work uniforms, pay protection, and inadequate sanitation. Towards the end of their letter, they clearly state their demands are a “final” warning, seemingly threatening legal action.

“The time has come for you, our leaders, to actually lead. This means spending money where money must be spent, and making the following operational changes,” they added, “so that we can all continue to exist in harmony and not feel like we’re trapped on an 1800s plantation — working for the big house.”


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Several Gideon’s Bakehouse employees have stepped out to condemn Ghosts of Gideons' tactics.

In a recent Gideon’s Bakehouse Instagram story, leadership addressed the public discourse, arguing that “redacted pay stubs” and “evidence” the collective has shared are both misleading and false. “I ask you not to run to the pitchforks and hear our side,” they added. “I hope we’ve earned at least that much in our own community. I love my team… and feel confident that everyone is treated with care and respect.”

Despite dismissing unfair and unsafe claims, many local Floridian businesses, including Kingdom Cuisine, have posted in solidarity with the collective.

However, not everyone is amplifying Ghosts of Gideons' demands, including many current Gideon’s Bakehouse employees like @cann1ballkid on Instagram. “Whoever wrote this and started this ‘movement’ talked to not one of the current employees,” he argued. “Claiming to speak on behalf of a collective… is incredibly detrimental to motivating [leadership] towards actual change.”


In addition to citing claims of “misinformation,” including naming incorrect employees in regards to racist allegations, undervaluing their true pay rate, and “lying” about ableist remarks from a manager, @cann1ballkid argued that their accusations of “firing of employees based off sexuality… is a blatant lie.”

While he agreed with several of “The Ghosts’ demands," including dress codes in warm weather, better fire safety exits, and higher base pay, he insisted the overall “campaign” was ignorant, tone-deaf, messy, and immature. From grammatical errors to misguided phrasing comparing Gideon’s to a “plantation, war, or police state” — especially given current tragic world events — he argued the demand letter and overall “movement” could’ve been better communicated and addressed.

“The huge community of support for all of us is amazing and makes me feel so good,” he said. Adding, "I urge you all to really do your research and reach out to actual employees. There are a lot of things that need to be fixed within Gideon’s… but revolutions don’t happen overnight.”


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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a News & Entertainment Writer at YourTango who focuses on health & wellness, social policy, and human interest stories.