A local burger restaurant got into hot water recently because a hearing-impaired customer’s cousin was offended by a notation printed on his receipt reading “DEFF GUY.”
Now, that might be considered offensive if the customer did not actually have a hearing problem, although plenty of music critics have received the same label less innocently. Officials at sporting events regularly have their eyesight questioned by fans, including those with no ophthalmological training. If they are offended, they seem to shake it off.
In the hubbub of a fast-food joint where clerks routinely call out the names of customers whose orders are processed, it seems reasonable enough that a cashier would pass along a note to a coworker that a particular customer is unlikely to hear his order called because of deafness. Such a cashier probably considered it a courtesy so that the customer would not be inconvenienced while awaiting his food. In such a setting, it is unlikely there is opportunity to figure out the politically correct terminology and type anything much longer than the seven-letter note that appeared.
Many of us who do wear hearing aids recognize they are imperfect, often merely amplifying all sounds without filtering out the noise that makes understanding difficult. There are times when extra consideration would be appreciated.
The customer took no offense, but his cousin should have ordered a shake with her meal because her anger was overwrought, and sometimes it’s important to just chill.