Ice cream conflict: Ben & Jerry's caught up in Quebec language laws
Published Wednesday, December 12, 2012 9:51PM EST
Quebec's language watchdog has been stopping by Ben & Jerry's a lot lately -- but not for ice cream.
Inspectors from the Office Quebecois de la langue francaise have shown up repeatedly at one Montreal location looking for possible infractions, following complaints about English words like "sprinkles" and "brownies" on the receipts.
Manager Luke Brown said that’s not problem – but the inspectors were rude and threatening.
“It was an off-duty officer who wanted to order an ice cream, but as he got to the cash register or the menu he realized there were a few small English words. I told him right next to that there's a bullet list menu, 100 per cent in French, and he left in a threatening tone,” he said.
That claim surprised Martin Bergeron of the OQLF.
“People will not be happy to see us, but at least we act professionally, and by doing that we will help him comply to the Charter, which most of them do,” he said.
Bergeron said the complaint is being taken seriously and it will be investigated.
He also said the changes won’t affect the Ben & Jerry’s brand. Banana-flavoured ice cream is still famously called Chunky Monkey, not Singe grassouillet, ice cream lovers won’t likely have to order Cerise Garcia any time soon.
“The name of the product wouldn't be an issue as long as the description of the product would be in French,” Bergeron said.
Brown argued it's not the language law itself that's causing the grief, but rather the inspector’s manner.
“Every request they have sent to us we have complied 100 per cent,” he said. “He was talking in a very… I would say… threatening, bossy way, which I would say is unnecessary.”
Bergeron said that won’t be taken lightly.
“We will investigate internally and if something happened we will address it,” he said.