AT&T has apologized for an internal "tip sheet" on how to deal with various ethnic groups.
Among other things, the memo advises salespeople to accept coffee or tea when it is offered by Japanese customers, warns against wasting the time of Jewish customers, and says price is always the bottom line for the Chinese.
The memo characterizes six ethnic groups: Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Jewish, "Iranian or Armenian" and Middle Eastern, the Oregonian reported Wednesday.
AT&T spokesman Susan Carpenter said the company apologizes to anyone offended by it.
At the same time, she said: "There was nothing that is negative meant or implied, and I didn't see anything negative. Somebody put it together and wanted to be helpful and share it."
In a statement Wednesday, the company said, "AT&T detests the comments" in the memo. "The comments do not and never could represent AT&T's views."
The three-page memo was written by a Korean-American saleswoman in Los Angeles, Julie Kim Wagner, who said she never meant for it to go beyond the two employees she sent it to by e-mail. She said it was based on her narrow experience with about 100 customers.
"I don't have any credentials or expertise on different ethnic backgrounds," she said. "So I'm sorry if people got upset. It wasn't meant to be read by everybody."