Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Starbucks workers fired for wearing nose rings

There has been a case before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal for three years involving two Starbucks employees who were fired for wearing studs in their noses. But this wasn't as part of a fashion statement, but rather because it's a part of their Indian culture. Starbucks wants them to bring an expert forward stating that this is indeed true. I find this to be a pretty sad story. Businesses worry so much about presentation and how their employees come off to customers, in the service industry, I feel they really go too far sometimes.

This kind of reminds me of something that happened at the store I used to work at. One day, as this could be a quiet, boring place, I brought in a music CD. It was the Unplugged album from Alice in Chains. So, it was an acoustic record, about as close to easy listening as you can get from a group like AIC. After awhile, my boss stopped by, which was pretty rare. He made a point of stopping my CD, turning on the radio to the adult contemporary station, and telling me that he didn't want the store to be a haven for dirtbags and that's why he liked WALK (the contemporary station). 7 out of 10 businesses used it, so that's why he wanted it playing all day.

I could have played this album all week, and not one customer would have complained. But my boss felt that he knew what the customers wanted and didn't want. In reality, as a customer at whatever store I go to, I don't expect much. All I expect is friendly service, a fair price, and a clean, presentable store. I don't expect perfection, or someone else's vision of what they think my experience should be like, especially if it's coming at the expense of the people who are working for that store. I couldn't care less if the person making my coffee had a stud in their nose. As long as they were friendly, made it right, and were fairly clean, that'd be good enough for me.

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