Correction: A previous version of the story referred to True North as a right-wing publication instead of a conservative outlet. It also stated that Candice Malcolm tweeted that only english should be spoken by staff in Canadian stores, but her position is that it may be considered rude to speak another language in front of a customer.
After a video posted to social media of a woman yelling at Shoppers Drug Mart employees went viral, many Canadians are weighing in on what caused the incident and how they feel about it.
The video shows a woman screaming at employees at the store in Burnaby, B.C., where she says, “shut up...speak English in Canada.” Her comments seem to be directed to the woman behind the cash register.
“If you want to talk to me you bring your manager here you idiot. Or go speak Chinese with your other staff and shit talk me somewhere else,” she says when a third employee approaches, asking her to speak to the store manager.
The unidentified woman had a young boy with her at the store. She is seen storming off after one of the employees says they will call the police.
Her demands that employees only “speak English” have caused many to label her as a racist. The man who posted the video, Allen Tseng, wrote on Facebook that he wanted to “put this lady on blast for being extremely rude and racist.”
Others seem to agree with Tseng. A Yahoo Canada Facebook poll found about 80 per cent of voters thought the woman’s comments towards the employees are racist.
Other social media users agree and feel her behaviour is “frightening.”
it's an asset when you work in customer service to be bilingual or multilingual. how can you possibly be upset at someone for being intelligent enough to grasp a second, third, or fourth language? the entitlement is what upsets me the most about this whole situation— frankie 🍑 (@yoonjinmyungs) October 30, 2019
just because someone speaks a language that you understand doesn't mean everything they say is about you. this hatred and fear of otherness is ridiculous. to think us canadians get so uppity about being "better" than americans...... we're no different.— frankie 🍑 (@yoonjinmyungs) October 30, 2019
This is inexcusable behaviour, the workers at this Shoppers Drug Mart were verbally abused by this woman to the point that another shopper pulled out a phone and started recording...frightening situation— Klee (@greenglazeinsky) October 30, 2019
“Pretty sure you can't forbid a language at any workplace what with human rights and all,” one commenter wrote on Yahoo Canada’s Facebook poll. “There's nothing wrong with speaking another language in front of other people.”
“I feel bad for the clerks but I especially feel sorry for the little boy who is likely afraid and embarrassed at the same time,” another commenter wrote.
“I'm not sure what more information I would need. Is she having a bad day? Still no excuse. Was someone rude to her? Still no excuse. Looks like she was just taking her frustrations out on front line employees,” another Facebook user said.
However, while most agree the woman’s approach was wrong, some believe that employees in Canada should only be allowed to speak official languages.
Candice Malcolm, a columnist at the Toronto Sun and founder of the conservative news outlet True North, tweeted a message suggesting that it's rude to speak another language in front of a customer.
Alternative headline: Rude woman yells at rude customer service staff.— Candice Malcolm (@CandiceMalcolm) October 29, 2019
Also, there was a Seinfeld episode about this. I don't recall an angry mob calling Elaine RACIST
'Speak English in Canada': B.C. woman's 'racist' tirade at Shoppers Drug Mart https://t.co/FKrdCRw7ZF
Many in the comments section for this story would agree with her.
“The customer was appallingly rude,” one Yahoo reader stated. “However, she had the right to nicely ask that they speak English or French while working.”
“Yes it's very rude to speak in another language in front of a customer, that is happening a lot lately,” another commenter wrote.
Her rudeness, racism, and overall tirade was ridiculous and uncalled for. But I don't believe an employee should be speaking any other language in a situation like this. What do you think? #ShoppersDrugMart https://t.co/fR0OkdyBG6— K (@nock4six) October 30, 2019
What do you think? Let us know in the poll and in the comments.