Katy Tanner's cell phone beeped with a startling message — you're fired.

The 21-year-old had a migraine headache and took a sick day last week from her job at the Cardiff, Wales, outpost of Blue Banana, a British chain of body-piercing studios, she said Monday.

She turned on her cell phone the next day to discover she'd been terminated from her sales position.

"We've reviewed your sales figures and they're not really up to the level we need," shop manager Alex Barlett wrote in the message. "As a result, we will not require your services any more. Thank you for your time with us."

Ian Bisbie, a Blue Banana director, said the company does not usually fire employees by text message, but had no other alternative after phoning Tanner five or six times and calling her boyfriend.

The company also defended the sacking-by-text message as a way to keep modern.

"We are a youth business and our staff are all part of the youth culture that uses [text] messaging as a major means of communication," Bisbie said in a statement e-mailed to the South Wales Echo newspaper. "Therefore, as we wished to spare Miss Tanner the embarrassment and expense of coming into the store only to be sent straight home again, it was decided this was the best course of action to take."

Tanner said the text firing was unfair and it should have been done face-to-face.

"It was totally out of the blue," she said. "I don't think you can count it as official by text."