I'm not sorry that I don't speak. I'm not sorry that I don't read lips well enough to appease you. But...I am sorry for your stupidity because that rarely can be fixed.
This was what I furiously typed on my Facebook while I was visiting my side of family for Christmas. Mind you, I was normally not the one to consciously air all of my problems on Facebook because er, Facebook is pretty a public site. That day, I felt I was justified enough to post my frustration on my page.
I went to Barnes and Noble Bookstore to correct an issue that I was having with my Nook book purchase. After fixing that issue, I went to the check-out aisle to purchase the Nook cover. It was a very busy day, which was normal for only few days before Christmas, and people were doing last-minute shopping. I approached the counter, and a cashier, a woman in her 50s stood there. I plopped my item on the counter, and bent down to quickly text my mom. I wanted to check on my son since she was babysitting him, and I was gone for a quite some time. I looked up, and a woman was finishing what she was speaking to me. Of course, I had missed the bulk of the sentence, and did not catch what she had to say. The lady scowled at me. I smiled rather apologetic, and pointed at my ear to indicate that I was Deaf. At this point, most cashiers would have understood, and moved on.
Not this lady.
She gave me a major attitude. Words, in specific, was long forgotten. However, what I did not forget was that she accused me of faking my Deafness. I've been told a lot of ignorant things in the past regarding my Deafness to the point that I have become rarely frazzled by comments. This one? Threw me off guard. I raised my eyebrow in confusion. Okay, maybe she did not say that? The lady repeated the same thing, enunciating every single word, and was rather a snob about it. This time, I got it.
Alright. She was having a bad day, maybe? But did she have that right to say such thing to me? Um. No. Don't treat nice consumers like crap because she was having a bad day.
I approached the manager, and told him about the situation. He gave me a quick spin, claiming that the problem will be resolved, and that the cashier was only a seasonal worker. Since there was not much can be done beyond reporting, I left the store, and tried not to let the whole situation to get to me.
To be honest, this left a bad taste in my mouth. Which led me to posting my angry rant on my Facebook page. People were pretty supportive. Thanks guys. It meant a lot. It was good to know that with every one bad apple, there was at least 10 better apples out there, and it was a good reminder that not everybody were bent out to be ignorant.
My Dad, and his fiancee, Jess, were among those wonderful supporters. Matter of fact, they took one step farther! Jess called the store to complain for my behalf. The manager denied the whole story, and called Jess a liar. The manager even went so far by saying, hey we have a Deaf employer here. So I have no idea what you are talking about.
Okay, having a Deaf employer should have made you more aware of how to deal with Deaf consumers. instead of putting them down. Right?
Before you jump in exclaim and say, he can't do that!
Unfortunately, this is very common practice. No business, especially smaller ones, wants to admit to discrimination. They will find loopholes to get out of a problem. Some businesses will give you a run-around, or deny deny and deny or blandly admit to the discrimination, but then say what will you do anyway? Is this legal? No. Yet they still can get away with it unless if I come armed with blazing guns, and long list of ADA compliant. I've experienced this so many times growing up in school system as a mainstreamed student in a hearing public school.
Upon having Jess tell me this whole scenario, I rolled my eyes, and was not surprised at all. I was somewhat disappointed that a company, as large as Barnes and Noble, would do this.
Dad and Jess were not satisfied.
Jess called the HQ for Barnes and Noble in somewhere over on the East Coast, and complained about what had happened to me, and to her. In their polite business way, they apologized, and stated that they would be looking into this. I was grateful that Jess and Dad stood up for me. I was grateful for the supporters on Facebook. That alone made me feel better.
Basically, what will be done is pretty much nothing because honestly, what can we do about this situation other than making this practice more noticeable to the public.
This is certainly not my first time, and won't be my last time having to deal with subtle discrimination. Now, am I bitter about the whole situation? No. I am not. I have a choice. To build up a lifetime of anger or to simply allow it roll off my back, and to do something proactive about this.
The key is, educate, educate, and educate. The more aware we become of subtle discrimination the more can be done about this, and more advocacy will be done. Most of discrimination is done very subtly especially with hiring an interpreter in smaller business environment, or in public schools. Does this mean that discrimination does not happen out in the public such restaurants, or stores? No. It still does happen. It happens everywhere. Hence, it is so important to make every little incident to be openly discussed, and to be made aware.
This is why I blog about Deaf issues especially about discrimination. This is my way of being proactive. This is a small step I do to spread awareness out in the open.
Hopefully someday, this would not have to happen anymore.