I enjoy spending time getting work done at my neighborhood Starbucks in West Hill, Toronto, Ontario. The staff maintain a good level of service and relationship with the customers; as some leave and new ones take over, their professional behavior is never lacking. So I was perturbed to overhear a disparaging remark about my faith as I was concentrating on my laptop wondering to myself ‘said topic’. Someone said loudly ‘Buddha help me!’ such that I could hear it sitting at the front as most other patrons were seated to the rear of the store. Usually in this diverse community of strong faiths, people are accountable for their remarks unlike slurs, which are like slashing tires and shoplifting, no one acknowledged their remark and it was not evident by appearance who could own it. As a white-collar professional who is Vietnamese Canadian, who has a strong sense of faith myself, I think that when a person can not redress slurs due to public safety (there was a shooting not far from here) that your environment for regular customers is harmed. Being a public place with no form of redress at an irresponsible slur, I think some non-Starbucks devotees have ruined the experience of your brand for me and I believe this location is being vandalized due to similar distractions, always this type of nonesense but never accountable, leading up today. Ought I expect to be punk’d at Starbucks when other coffee competitors are nearby? I notified your staff of my intention to write this public letter. That location has always been a hub for families, youths, seniors and single adult professionals. In the summer time it is buzzing with activity and a safe spot in the evenings in this complicated part of town. I refuse to believe it came from the staff whom I have dealt with endless times as I am a daily regular who gets some work accomplished there. It is unfortunate that the friendly atmosphere of your store is ruined. Unfortunately not everyone feel lucky to be living in this neighborhood of diverse beliefs and households.
Mr. Anh-Tu Phuc Hoang
January 3, 2017
#305 – 121 Ling Road (in West Hill)
Toronto, Ontario M1E4Y2