I wish I could say that my memories of a business trip to Penang in Malaysia were of it's beauty, its food, the sounds and smells of the market and the wonderful people. Of course Penang IS all that, but what I remember most besides the hotel room and the work I did there, was an incident that happened at Starbucks.
One evening after work I got myself some new funky glasses in a mall near my hotel. While waiting for the optometrist I stopped at Starbucks to have a coffee. There weren't many people in the cafe, just me and a man who left soon after I arrived. Then a young guy walked in and sat down a couple of metres away from me.
Soon one of the Starbucks staff, who was cleaning the tables went up to the young guy and started talking to him. I don't know what the staffer said, I don't know what the young guy said but the staffer suddenly started punching the young guy. Knocked his glasses off and made his head hit the wall.
Some other Starbuckers stopped their colleague from doing too much damage. Me, I was completely shocked and went to the counter to speak to the ''manager''. Said ''manager'' was all of 18 and very apologetic but basically said that the punchee was a young homeless man who wandered around the mall. It appeared that his simple act of sitting in their store annoyed the shit out of them.
Of all the places I have been to in the world, that's the closest I've come to seeing some kind of anger and violence and it happened within the confines of a western corporation. I wonder how that fits in their employment manual and when the staffer faced his yearly performance review, did they mention it?