Whole Foods investigates apparently racist incident at New York store

Two Whole Food employees are accused of using a racially charged slur to describe a Chinese American customer.

Kwok-Ming Cheng pre-ordered sandwich wraps from Whole Foods for his Fourth of July celebration.

He told AsAmNews when he came to the store to pick up his order, he was directed to the customer service desk. A woman behind the desk called on the public address system for catering. Soon after the phone rang at the customer service desk. After taking the call presumably from catering, the employee turned to Cheng and asked “Are you the ching-chong?”

Cheng said he didn’t know quite what to think. He said another employee who heard the whole thing covered his mouth in shock as if to say, “Oh, my God. What did you say.”

“When she saw the reaction of her co-worker, she realized something was wrong and she did apologize,” said Cheng. “Either she was repeating what the catering person asked and repeated it to me or she said it (herself). Either way she said it and her co-worker was aghast.

“I was like really? I was not expecting it.”

Cheng said the catering person also came over to apologize and said it was two orders with similar names.

“Unless I’m wrong, there’s no one by the name of ching chong. I sort of laughed it off with them, what do I do?”

Cheng said the incident continued to bother him on the train ride home. He called friend and cable TV host Shirley Lew who encouraged him to talk about the incident on social media and to contact Whole Foods.

Lew herself also tweeted about the incident and received an immediate response from Whole Foods.