How not to deal with Deaf customers

So, this morning I decided to grab a breakfast sandwich at Tim Hortons, Canada’s go-to establishment for coffee & donuts.  I went to a small TH shop within a grocery store.  I’ve been to this TH many times, and had the worker, , let’s call her “Cathy”, serve me many times.

Being DeafBlind, I use my phone to place orders by typing in what I want and showing it to restaurants.  This is more convenient, quicker and less frustrating than trying to voice my order, and not sure if they understand my mumbly voice.  Anyways, I have a pre-typed message saying that I wanted a breakfast sandwich on a biscuit, with a small coffee.

I showed this message to Cathy who did not even read it, instead gesturing “That way!”.  I was a little flummoxed, but I noticed my screen had timed out.  So I open phone, showed her again, “That way” was her reply, without even reading.  I then demanded that she read it closely, and she did, but her reply was again “that way”.

What exactly was “that way”?  I’ll come back to that in a minute.

Could Cathy have done things differently?  You bet your bottom dollar!  She could have pointed to the sandwich prep area, firmly shaking her head, then hand swoop flourish at the donut rack behind her.  This indicates: “We can’t make breakfast, can I offer you something else?”  Or she could have written it down: “We don’t serve breakfast sandwiches…”  She could have also taken my phone and typed in a short blurb.  (Which is fine with me, just give me back my phone, ha!)  Instead, Cathy gestured, again, “That way”.

Cathy’s inability to think outside of the box really annoyed me.  I left with nothing, including no  coffee.

Wait, what exactly is “that way”?  There is a TH across the street in a gas station, and another a block south.  Both are bigger and probably have breakfast until noon.  However, Cathy’s “that way” does not sufficiently explain: “We do not serve breakfast sandwiches, the one across the street does, please go that way to get your breakfast.  Have a nice day!”

 

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