A Chinese immigrant to Canada has claimed she was refused service at a McDonald’s in Richmond, British Columbia because staff said they couldn’t understand her English.
Hai Xia Sun ordered a hot chocolate at the McDonald’s on Number 3 Road in Richmond last week, but said staff gave her a coffee by mistake.
She said she asked that her order be fixed, but alleges the manager refused and told her to get out of the store instead.
“She said, ‘You don’t know English,’ and then she returned my order. She said, ‘We are very busy, don’t stay here,'” Hai Xia Sun told CBC News.
Sun called the incident discrimination.
“This is my second language right. And this is discrimination. Yes maybe I speak not very good English but she can’t not service to us.”
A McDonald’s spokesperson said the incident was caused by a “language barrier” and expressed the company’s regrets. Though one would think that if McDonald’s staff in China can deal with hundreds of laowai who don’t speak a word of Mandarin, their Canadian counterparts could work out what a woman with apparently pretty good English wanted to drink.
41 percent of the population of Richmond, a suburb of Vancouver, list Chinese as their first language. Sun’s son David Zhao suggested that McDonald’s might look into hiring Mandarin speakers to better serve the local population (maybe ask the Body Shop how that went).
[Image credit: Ian Southwell]