Meng urges tolerance of customers’ racial backgrounds

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State Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) wrote a letter to the city Commission on Human Rights last month, urging it to adopt guidelines for customer service after a spate of racially insensitive incidents involving Asian Americans in restaurants around the country and an incident involving Meng herself in a Queens restaurant.

“Right alongside notices about minimum wage, employee rights and other labor law notices should be a notice detailing and explaining appropriate behavior with customers,” she said in the letter.

In addition to instances where cashiers referred to customers as “lady chinky eyes” and “ching chong” on receipts, Meng was in a Boston Market in Flushing picking up dinner when some of the workers, speaking in Spanish, referred to her as “la china.”

“Surely there is more appropriate language that could be used in busy settings, such as ‘gray pants, red shirt’ or ‘striped bag.’ Starbucks, to name one busy shop that prepares and delivers several orders at a time, simply uses customer names to hand-off beverages,” she said in the letter.

Updated 7:51 am, February 23, 2012
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