Tim Horton’s Serving up Discrimination
Ahmed Adan, The Somali Press
Racial discrimination at the Northern Lights operated Tim Horton’s coffee shop is real; it happened to me and I also witnessed this happening to others from the same ethnic background.
On March 1, at 11:40 a.m. I stopped by Tim Horton’s store on Cleveland Avenue to get a cup of coffee. As I went to make my order, the cashier told me that I cannot spend more than 30 minutes in the store and marked my coffee cup with a white chock pen showing the exact time 11:45 a.m. meaning that I have to leave the store within 30 minutes from the time on the cup.
This was not the case for the three White customers before me. I totally did not like the idea and felt something was not right and I asked the cashier; why me, and not every customer? The cashier simply replied to me that the store owner wants things that way.
The supervisor who heard my conversation with the cashier came and plainly said to me “If you feel your business is not appreciated here why don’t you go somewhere else.”
I witnessed the store owner using the same statement to Hassan the last time I was at this store. The owner goes by the name Adna, and was harassing Hassan and his friend in the store. That day she came in to the store grabbed and trashed Hassan and his friend’s coffee cups. She then ordered them to leave her store and called the police after they asked a refund of their money.
When the police got there she could not come up with one single reason of why she harassed the customers and she had to refund their money. The police where really concerned about the customer owner relationship and suggested that Hassan to take his business somewhere else.
It was obvious that I could not win the argument because this is a set policy against one certain group of people that I happen to be part of. This discrimination is toward only Somalis, which represent more than half of this store location’s customer base.
The coffee shop happens to be at the center of the Somali concentrated neighborhood in the north side of Columbus. It is on Cleveland Avenue which is presently the heart of the Somali com-munity in central Ohio. They make up more than 50 percent of the store cus-tomers, but the owner does not like them.
Sadly, this is the closest Tim Horton’s coffee shop to the community. The least that I can do is to share the story in hopes that I can influence some respect from the ownership for me and my community. Until things change, I am not giving any more business to this loca-tion, but I think this is bad for the whole community and the local business envi-ronment.
Like many of you, I thought cus-tomer discrimination was long gone, until I was a marked target and was discriminated against.