August 25, 2012
My dear friends at xxxx coffee shop, (their Identity protected, so far)
Have you ever been taunted at one of your stores? Sworn at? Viciously and cruelly discriminated against, repeatedly? I have. Not by your staff, who are genuinely nice and professional folks, but still, at your store. Is that what you are about? It was clear discrimination. That’s illegal I suspect. It certainly is not what xxxx, or the building owner wants to be associated with here in DC just blocks from Judiciary Square. Is it?
The most recent cursing and discrimination against me at your store was today. I arrived about 8:30, purchased a large cup of decaf, and your store being quite empty that early, sat discretely at a table back in a corner for an hour. You see, I have facial tattoos, and as a courtesy to you, I sat in a rear corner out of the way of folks. Your staff is very nice. I try to show my appreciation. Last evening for example, at about 7:30pm, I spent at least 10 minutes, probably 15, cleaning up and straightening up your patio. Your staff would have done it but you must have had a busy day, chairs were all over, and trash was all on the ground, all around. By the time I was done, all the chairs were in their place and the trash picked up.
Today, after drinking some of my coffee, not wanting to take space in your store, customers were accumulating, I went to a remote part of your patio to continue working for a while. Within 10 minutes, as has happened to me at least twice before, the power was cut to the outlet I was using for my laptop. Within 5 minutes after that, the man that did it the first time, a dark skinned man, early 40’s I’ll guess, when I saw him I said, ‘I purchased coffee here this morning.’ He said nothing. ‘I’m going to speak to the manager about this,’ meaning your store manager, to which he replied, “I’m the manager you son of a bitch.” HUH? HUH??? Cursing at me?
The prior time I saw him directly was about 2 months ago. Again, I had purchased a drink, and was sitting in a remote part of your patio. After about 10 minutes the power was cut. 5 minutes later, the man who today said he was the manager, came out and taunted me. WHAT? ‘Oh, did something happen with the breaker? Oh, I don’t know anything about it, but I guess it did.’ Lying to me. What?!?!?!?
Is it because I have facial tattoos, that obviously don’t have a lot of money, from my appearance, probably don’t have a home, or is it because of those three things on top of which I am a highly educated, multiple degrees, white guy? It is absolutely rank discrimination, which as I’ve said, to my knowledge, is against the law in America, in DC.
I expect that like every other of your customers, from here on in the future, I will be treated exactly as are all of your other customers, including, the power outside will be on, and left on when I use it. Period.
I know you will do with this letter what best serves this end, so that I need not do so. It can be used by you with your corporate management, DC Homeless Advocacy Law Center, the building manager, other DC Legal advocacy… or whomever you need to terminate this discriminatory, illegal, unprofessional behavior. I wish this nasty man nothing ill. I wish the discrimination to stop, by your action, not mine.
NOW. I’ll know your response by how I’m treated in the future. I know your staff will all vouch for my civility as will dozens of Secret Service, and Park Police officers in town who have watched my respectful advocacy for human rights these last 9 years or so.
Your brother, no matter what,
James E. McGinley