Is Something Rotten at David’s Tea?

On December 18 Colleen McKeown asked David’s Tea why they have no bilingual signs at their outlets in Greater Montreal.

Kirsten Sherwin of David’s Tea replied:

From: Kirsten Sherwin []
Sent: December 19, 2015 11:34 AM
To: Colleen McKeown
Subject: RE: Hello

Hi Colleen,

Thank you for your email.

We take all of our customers’ feedback seriously and we have shared your email with our marketing team for their consideration.

We make sure to be as bilingual as possible and have taken measures to better serve both our English and French customers. All of our window advertisements are bilingual, as well as our packaging and website. Our staff are fluently bilingual in both English and French, so that our customers can be served in the language of their choice. Customers can also choose the labelling in the language of their choice when purchasing bulk tea. Can you specify which store you recently visited and what product or signage you want it in your preferred language?

Unfortunately, due to the nature of our displays we have been unable to fit French and English messaging on our tea wall labels. We’ve attempted bilingual signs in the past and have found that the words become so small as to be difficult to read which benefits neither our valued English customers nor our French ones.

There is absolutely no disrespect intended. We work tirelessly to provide all our customers with a fantastic experience and we take our responsibility to our customers very seriously.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time.

Best regards,

Kirsten Sherwin
Service à la clientèle | Customer Service


Harold Staviss wrote to Ms. Sherwin after seeing her reply:

I understand that you take all of your customers’ feedback seriously, that
you work tirelessly to provide all your customers with a fantastic
experience, that you make sure to be as bilingual as possible and that you
have taken measures to better serve your Francophone and Anglophone
customers. That is really great and fantastic on paper; however, you are
definitely falling short of your goal. With all due respect, what you say
and what you do are two different things. While your employees may be
fluently bilingual and your website and labelling may be in both French and
English, that is the extent of your respect. What you are doing is offending
your non-francophone customers and kowtowing to the OQLF. If you really want
to do what you are so proudly preaching, why not have all of your store
signage in both French and English as provided for under the relevant
provisions of the Charter of the French Language? It is a shame that
Davidstea, originating in Montreal, with Anglophone founders, categorically
shows such a total lack of Respect to English speaking people. It would be
interesting for you and your marketing team to visit any Second Cup Coffee
outlet where you will not only notice how bilingual their signage is, but
how they have found a way to have their food labels in both French and
English as well. Any oh yes, their staff, their website and their labels are
equally bilingual. If Second Cup can show Respect, why not DavidsTea?

I look forward to hearing further from you with your comments.

With kind regards.

Harold Staviss


Please feel free to write to Ms. Sherwin and tell her what you think.

Please note that Every sign at IKEA in St. Laurent is bilingual. Here is what IKEA has to say on the topic: 

Thank you for contacting IKEA Canada and for taking the time to share your impressions of our IKEA Montreal store. We are glad to hear that you enjoyed out bilingual signage during your recent visit.

At IKEA we believe in diversity and equality. Everyone is welcome and everyone should feel appreciated for their differences as well as their similarities.

We also believe in upholding fundamental human rights, and creating a better everyday life for our many co-workers and our customers.

Please note that your feedback will be shared with the appropriate department for review.

We truly value your opinion, as well as the opinion of all our customers. We look forward to serving you in the future.

If you have further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.


IKEA Canada Customer Service


About pafmurray

I have been primarily a charity activist since 1988. My activism has raised in the $150 million area since 2000. My ideas bring in more than that amount to charities every year. I have also been an Anglo rights activist in Quebec (and to a large degree) since around 2012. "Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose conscience approves his actions will pursue their principles unto death." Thomas Paine; Everyone should read Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals and become activists. Activists have fun and bring about change for the better!
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3 Responses to Is Something Rotten at David’s Tea?

  1. Harold Staviss says:

    What a shame! A company started and still owned (majority) by Anglophones from Montreal that has zero English signage in most of the stores, even those situated in areas that cater to a majority number of Anglos and Allos. Some stores may have a minimal number of English signs but nothing to write home about. With friends like that who needs enemies. Why do they continuously show such a lack of respect to non-francophones and continuously kowtow to the OQLF.

  2. Rose says:

    As an English company in Montreal I find it shameful that you do not have bilingual signage in your stores !!! I am a customer who enjoys David’s tea but am having second thoughts on supporting you

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