What Canadians are saying about ‘racist’ incident at Shoppers Drug Mart

That Shoppers Drug Mart Incident:

Samsung News is reporting an incident being labeled as a racist act by a shopper who is yelling at a customer service employee to speak English in Canada. This alleged incident took place in British Columbia (BC). a province of Canada.

The persons behind the counter based on my understanding of the interaction were having a private conversation in the presence of a customer and her son. There was no effective communication taking place between the customer and the employee. The customer apparently did not speak Chinese so she was yelling to be heard or understood. Her expectation was to be spoken to in a language that she could understand.


The customer was likely at the counter for service and was likely frustrated that her needs are not being met and these two customer service employees were having a private conversation among themselves and she could not fathom what they were saying. She could have felt ignored, frustrated and insulted for being ignored.


Was the customer being racist for yelling out to be heard and understood. She went to the store with the understanding or pretext that she would be served in a language that she could comprehend. So to be confronted with the situation of two employees chatting away with each other … she was possibly quite upset. They could be chatting or criticizing her? We nor the customer would not know that as they spoke different languages.

Did you think the customer who yelled at the customer service employees was racist to ask them to speak English?

As usual the verdict is yours. We feel that under the circumstances if the customer service employees could not speak one of the official languages in Canada they should have gotten someone who does to help the customer. They should not be having a private conversation in a language unfamiliar to the customer. That act in my view was disrespectful. What is your perspective?. This is ours. We do not think the customer was being racist to demand that one of the official languages be spoken in Canada. That is the law, especially in a business place. We do not condone the yelling either especially in the presence of a child.

In Canada there are two official languages … English and French. That is the law of the land. Is it racist to enforce the law?

Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior National Correspondent for GTA Weekly

1 Comment

  1. No matter what city, province or country, I believe the employee should be hired on their qualifications. One qualification should be to speak English in this case. That responsibility should lie with the employer that hired her. Secondly,the employee should not be accepting a job that she could not fulfill. Communication is a huge part of a customer service job. Last but not least is the customer should never yell at an employee. Obviously, the customer is frustrated which is warranted. She should have been able to talk to someone in English. As a temporary measure the employee should have ensured the customer was helped maybe by asking another employee to assist. But the bottom line is the employer should ultimately have been responsible in the long term.

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