Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Steak and Shake Denies Service


After picking my youngest son up from school, we decided to grab some shakes at the local Steak and Shake before heading over to the middle school to pick up Lauren.

I went through the empty drive through and drove past the speaker. After waiting a few minutes at the window, I finally honked the horn and waited some more. After a second honk a few minutes later, a young man appeared.

"Hi! I didn't order back there as I can't hear," I said, pointing to my ear. "I'd like two small shakes, one vanilla and one chocolate."

"You'll have to drive around again so I can take your order through the speaker," the guy said.

"I can't hear back there, so I'll need you to take my order here," I explained.

"No, it's our policy. You'll have to just drive around and tell me your order and then I can take your order."

"I can't use the speaker, which is why I'm at the window giving you my order here!" I started raising my voice a little, as I was getting frustrated at the hoops he was putting me through.

So I told him about the Americans with Disabilities Act and I explained that taking orders through the window is an accommodation that I need because I can't use the speaker to place an order.

He kept insisting that orders need to be taken at the speaker. "If you had just let me know at the speaker that you needed accommodations then I could take your order through the window."

"But I'm DEAF! I can't hear on the speaker! When I drove up, the first thing that I told you was that I couldn't order back there because I can't hear through the speaker."

"No, you didn't tell me that," he said. "If you had told me about your disability then I could have accommodated you."

I sat there flabbergasted. I was getting more upset by the minute. All I wanted was the dang shakes! Then another car pulled up behind us.

"Look, if you're not going to take my order, I'm going to file a complaint and let the corporate office know about this."

"Well, I can call the cops on you for disrupting the business and holding up the drive thru."

"You're going to call the cops on me? I'm just trying to get service here!"

"I'm done with you." He abruptly shut the window, threw up his hands and walked away.

Good gosh, did that guy have any idea what he just did? Denying me and my son service simply because we couldn't use the speaker for an order?

I wasn't finished with him. Oh no. I beckoned him to open the window again. He looked at me with an air of superiority and opened it.

"I'll need to take down your name and your supervisor's name." I was surprised that he willingly gave that information. He took his name tag off and held it up for me to see. Then I realized something--he wasn't taking me seriously. He figured I was just playing with him.

So I lifted up my hair and showed him my hearing aids. The look on his faced changed a bit. I guess it started to sink in that even though I speak well, I wasn't kidding about being deaf. You would think at that point, he would graciously return to "serve the customer" mode and take my order.

He still didn't. I explained to him that I was going to call the corporate office and let them know that I was being refused service. "Go ahead, call them," he said. "You will need to leave, you are holding up the line."

And he closed the window again.

Steak and Shake, you'll be hearing from me.

232 comments:

1 – 200 of 232   Newer›   Newest»
mishkazena said...

Good for you!

Man, that is terrible. There was no excuse for his attitude.

deaf single said...

Bad! You may indict him with his bad manners.
I ever have also suffered similar situation. Bad expericence...

Deaf friends said...

I'm so sorry! That's really bad! Perhaps you could call his boss and ask why he did this.

Sandra said...

That is terrible! I would contact not only the manager, but their head quarters as well.

Tanya said...

Boy, that is annoying even after ADA being the law since 1990. Didn't they give them any training to accomodate toward the disabilities? I would have asked for the manager when he still refused to service you. If the manager still refused to service you, you would have a stronger case for the lawsuit. Have you seen how Culvers accomodate to the deaf with a special device? That is really neat. Wish all fast food places have this by some time frame. Please go all the way.

Rini said...

Holy crap, that's horrid service. Good for you to go all the way! -waves hands in air-

Candice said...

I will never get a shake from there again!! How horrible! Keep us informed on what happens.

Barb DiGi said...

No Deaf person deserves to go through this. This ignorant window server demonstrated an attitude problem that shows a lack of respect and superiority which is so unacceptable. When he ordered you to go around, it seems to me that he doesn't believe that you are deaf. He was not willing to admit his error that he got to stand by his words. People like him serving customers with this kind of attitude certainly don't belong there.

As for my experience at Arby's last week, when I approached to the window and explained that I couldn't hear enough to make orders in the speaker, the server was so friendly that she told me she was glad to take my order and even commented that I am always welcome to drive through to the window to give orders.

What had happened to you is extremely the opposite very unacceptable. Please keep us posted about the outcomes and good luck!

Juliet said...

What a frustrating experience. Just reading this got my blood up!

Seriously, even if there were no ADA, a little courtesy would have gone a long way; I can't believe he didn't just politely take your order!

Definitely contact the head office and complain. And let me know if you need letters of support from hotheads like me!

Sange said...

You were lucky though, one more minute and you could have ended up in the news like that old lady. She was arrested recently at the McDonald's drive-thru while waiting for her fries and Coke. The charge? Improper parking!

I hope you do go thru and contact corporate office. Please give us an update.

Amy said...

That is entirely INSANE and illegal and there have already been lawsuits over this and while I understand that young + male often = stupid...this is just BEYOND the BEYOND.

I'm SO glad you're going to follow up and make their lives difficult. I will be all gleeful if you get a year's worth of free milkshakes!

Amy (Juliet's friend)

Dianrez said...

Contact the NAD and see if they are interested in taking this further. I had this happen to me a couple of times, too, though not as bad as this.

Even if NAD is not interested, I hope that you do file an ADA complaint and follow through and report on progress. Rooting for you!

Anonymous said...

OHHHH I bet your blood started to boil! This also has happened to me and I now look back, I wish that I reported it and also informed BBB (Better Business Bureau). When you call or write to the Corp, be sure to let them know that you may report to BBB. It may give them a bit of a pinch to make things better for you next time and other Deaf customers. I am sorry this happened to you!

Jennifer said...

Ooooooooooooooooohhhhh! That absolutely makes my blood boil!!! You were a much better woman that I would have been...I think I would have had a major tantrum right then and there.
I don't do drive-arounds if I can help it...but I have a weakness for Sonic. I just wait and flag down one of the carhops and they will not only get someone to help me, but the girls that help me are absolutely precious...they don't make me feel one bit inconvenienced. That's how it OUGHT to be...sounds like you got a real loser today!
I am absolutely fuming for you...that's awful :(

Paula said...

Hi Karen, May I suggest that you call up or email your local news reporter?

Was this a kid or an adult? Did you ask for the manager?

Great point that you made that just because you spoke, he didn't get that you were deaf!

I've been frustrated with the local drive-thrus that spent the money putting in the screens where you can read your order after you say it, but they don't use them.

Please let us know what happens and if you get any response from Steak and Shake. Getting it in the paper could really make them stand up and take notice.

Deb Ann said...

Oh my! That is really bad. I would be so mad. He needs to respect you!

It's funny because today we went through and ordered some shakes after picking the kids from school. Actually, my girl ordered it for me through the speaker.

Karen said...

Ok, here's an update... the corporate office called and a Human Resources person has made contact via email. Let's see if we can work this out...

Hmmm, a lifetime of free shakes would make up for this, ya think?

Wendy Piersall said...

This is one of those moments in which I dream of big lawsuits and fat settlements. But for now, I'll just blog about it and pretty much never eat there again. :)

Mike McConnell said...

Do it again. Take a video camera with you. Get it on tape somehow. Post it on YouTube. Refuse to take it off until you get compensation for your grief.

:)

W. David Samuelsen said...

NAD not interested? Think again. NAD office will send notice along with information about another case they won against another similiar drive by chain.

I guess the home office took notice and contacted the local place to inform them of the law's reach.

Lillie Ammann said...

Karen,
Please keep us posted on what happens. I'm sorry you had to go through this but maybe some good will come from it if the corporation trains its employees better to keep this from happening to others in the future.

terriblepalsy said...

I wish I lived in the states so I could help you out. Stay strong!

NSB Mom said...

I am amazed and horrified that any human being would act that way.

kkurt said...

Oh MAN!!! For ADA purposes, I'd go ahead and get a hold of a reporter. This is RIDICULOUS!! And let the HQ sweat it over. Also, would it will make other fast food places think twice? You gave them a good "shake" and lets see them "beef" (steak) about it all!!! :) KEEP US POSTED!!!

Storyteller said...

The clerk was wrong and his behaviour inexcusable. it may be that the company is not giving its staff proper training. File a complaint.

Lori said...

FREAKIN' RIDICULOUS!!! I'm sorry you have to deal with such A-HOLES like that in the year of 2008!

Melody said...

That is absolutely inexcusable. I can't belive the nerve of some people.

Tom Willard said...

I recall a story when I was editor of Silent News in mid-90s. The deaf actress Terrylene sued Burger King after she experienced a similar situation at a drive-through. It was settled out of court with terms not revealed, and Terrylene became a "consultant" to Burger King on deaf issues. Many years later, nothing whatsoever has changed with the Burger King drive-throughs, and the company has never once closed-captioned any of its TV commercials. Often when I stop at BK there are few or no customers there, to which I say YAY!

ciara said...

i don't really know what or have seen a steak n shake. what an arse. someone must really hate himself and his job to be so rude and inconsiderate....i would be contacting them, too (probably after i yelled at him first lol).

Karen said...

Paula wrote: Hi Karen, May I suggest that you call up or email your local news reporter?

Was this a kid or an adult? Did you ask for the manager?

Guess what, HE is the manager! From what I read on his nameplate, he's also a TRAINER for employees. How's that for ironic?

Aduladi' said...

Just want you to know I left a comment on the "feedback forum" on their website referencing your story. Unreal! Maybe if enough people tell them how we feel (deaf/hearing or otherwise!) they will start to pay attention!

Anonymous said...

Calling the police might have been a good idea. The server was the one breaking the law. Ruth at WheelieCatholic.blogspot.com says she threatens to call the police and calls in this kind of situation and has positive results.

Anonymous said...

Where is the Steak N' Shakes denied service? Our local Steak N' Shakes do service deaf via drive thru. Jacksonville is deaf community and all fast food restaurants do service deaf via drive thru. Our McDonald's have put special device where the drive thru order section is (that device has been doing for probably 10 years - device is simple symbol of ear that backslash across ear...just press button) tell 'order' cashier that next car is deaf so will not mix up the orders.

garyvdh said...

I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be funny or insulting, but I really don't understand something. If you could not hear him at the speaker, how did you hear him at the window? Do you lip read? And if you lip read then why do you wear hearing aids? Sorry, if this is answered somewhere else on your site then maybe you can point me there? I'm just trying to understand the situation. thanks.

Lisa Marie Mary said...

What an absolutely horrible thing to have happen to you! And the fact that he is the manager?! I literally gasped, quite loudly - when I read that comment from you. I followed you on Twitter, and I'll be blogging your story and telling all my online friends, too! I seriously hope something really good comes from this, because, this incident just has me nauseous!

mishkazena said...

A Manager? Oh, that's pretty bad. You definitely need to contact the head corps. What are the chances that the managers of other franchises are also poorly trained? Pretty good, I think.

groovyoldlady said...

Oh. My. Word.

What a jerk!

Get 'em, Karen. GET 'EM!!!!

Van Giles said...

I thought you handled it perfectly. The only thing I would done differently is gone to McDonald's, bought a shake, gone back to the Steak and Shake and hurled it all over him and then cackled, "SHAKE'S ON YOU!"

Can't wait to read a future post on how it turns out.

Van

tAnYeTTa said...

This is horrible. I can't even imagine what this person was thinking. What is the purpose of his rude behaviour? I am so sorry to read about this. My goodness, this is just horrible.
We have a local news segment. The announcer calls it, THAT AIN'T RIGHT!!!!!!


p.s. I have a question, you mentioned you were deaf, how did you hear what he was saying to you? Do you read lips?

Karen said...

p.s. I have a question, you mentioned you were deaf, how did you hear what he was saying to you? Do you read lips?

Yes, I'm deaf. While I can "hear" conversation (ie, if you start speaking, I can hear you speak) but I can't understand speech unless I am lipreading/speechreading too. So if I were to use the speakerphone, all I would hear is a jumble of sounds. I have no ability to understand speech via auditory means alone. When I am tested at the audiologist, I can understand six percent in my right ear and zero percent in my left ear. I could never use the phone beyond someone spelling out "y-e-s" or "n-o" to a question. However, when I use a videophone (loooove that videophone!!!!), I can carry on great conversations with skilled interpreters interpreting for me.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I work with people with disabilities and read this blog. I am sorry that you were not served. However, I would like to know the other side of the story, because in this day and age a manager working in food service would not deny someone service because he or she is deaf.

kw said...

Karen,
Good for you! You GO!! For that guy to demand that you drive thru the window AGAIN after being informed of your disability was rude and thoughtless. You already drove through once. How were you supposed to know to push the button? How were you supposed to know anyone was there to speak to after you pushed it? I'm hopping mad just reading this. If I lived in you area I would come over and sit with you. I'm sure your children were embarrassed and upset too.

Karen said...

I would love to know what the manager was thinking also. I could not believe that in this day and age, that this could happen. My only guess is that he perhaps didn't take me seriously because I could talk, and maybe he thought I could really use the speaker? However, I'm hearing from other deaf people that they've encountered difficulties with drive thru attitudes as well.

Karen said...

KW wrote:

I'm sure your children were embarrassed and upset too.


Yes, my youngest son was a bit upset when we drove off. "Was that man going to arrest you?" he asked me. I guess he learned something from this as I was able to explain about the ADA and why it wasn't right.

Ann said...

Where do you live? I want to report it to the news media. So many people are idiots. Even if you could hear, he still shouldn't have that attitude!

Karen said...

Garyvdh wrote:

" If you could not hear him at the speaker, how did you hear him at the window? Do you lip read? And if you lip read then why do you wear hearing aids?"

I can't hear a thing without hearing aids. Hearing aids bring some sound to me which helps slightly with lipreading.

You can read more here:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/292030/welcome_to_my_deaf_world.html

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for responding, I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I'm only hearing your side of the story, and one always wonders the other side, as a way to be fair. After all, there are always two sides to every story. I just wonder what would motivate him to refuse your service, like was there something else said. Was this some young kid, who wouldn't know better?

Sharon said...

A lifetime of free shakes AND a public apology. They need to own their mistakes.

Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings said...

Rude and uncalled for on his part.

I do hope you did indeed contact corporate as well as that particular store's main manager.

Jim said...

Oh my, I am sharing your experience in my blog. I know how that feels being deaf myself. I hate going through drive-thru unless a have a "hearing relative" with me who will help me if I needed help.

ADA gives the right to complain however you see fit in order to get attention.

Please keep me updated with this.

Hugs, Jim

geekmommy said...

Oh my gosh what a terrible little pissant!

I'm so sorry. Honestly, even if you didn't have a hearing issue, what a rude way to treat you!

I'm very glad that you have the grounds to go after him under the ADA. Looks like someone needs to learn a lesson in interacting with other people like a human being.

I'm so sorry you had to deal with it tho.

Steak & Shake had better get it together. I'm sure their Legal Counsel is shaking his/her head contemplating the mess this could turn into.

Anonymous said...

Karen-
Boy he doesn't know who he was dealing with-you go girl :)

The BenSpark said...

That is ridiculous. What a jerk. I hope you have followed through with the complaint. I didn't know about that ADA accommodation thing. That is good to know.

CDM said...

this is why I avoid going through drive-throughs... I just do not want to deal with the speakers or stupid employees. I'm shocked this employee was just downright rude about the entire thing.

Anonymous said...

i say you file suit for 60 million and donate the money to people with disabilitys as a lesson... there are actually laws that make it so a corporation is not responsible for actions done by individual franchise owners... which is why they dont care... in all actuality its probly owned by a hospitality group (franchiseing group) which is basically a bunch of stock holders who's money makes restaurants run... you go there and ask them what they have against you...

Anonymous said...

It does not surprise me at all. When I have a problem, go straight to the manager. If not, go to the Corp. The Corp does NOT like to hear their loyal customers' complaints! They sometimes give you a free food coupon or something like that. It works well.
Be firm with them....

Anonymous said...

Wow u did a great job and also getting the insert of ADA comment in there, BUT really. if its just shakes you want ans u can't hear or understand just go elsewhere and deny them service of another lost customers. and plus go to ur local Deaf Agency if you have one get a ADA paper work and then tell the manager this is exactly WHY i belive ADA is better for poeple who are unedcuated in our world. and walk out without buying anything. Educate them too dont negate it educate it. Here in Hawaii THOUSANDS if not MILLIONS of people have lack of understanding of our world and what do we do? paiently educate them, because it goes a long way. thats what i been doing for 5 yrs with calm cool and collected beahavior. and yes ofc report it to ur human resources but don't go overboard with suing it will not educate but make them more wasted time for taxpayers money this is just IMO im just appalled at seeing deaf poeple go nuts ok u didn't do that fine im suing you theory this basically is out of control. but again im sorry u went thru a bad experince, all we need to do is work together and educate them. and talk abt a policy change.

Anonymous said...

Just got your link from The Daily Grind Blog. My blood was boiling just reading your blog. I am so mad that I could spit! I will be checking back on your blog to read what happened in your meeting. It is to bad their is not a law against STUPIDITY, then you could have called the cops and had that moron at the drive thru arrested. I am soooooo glad that you called the corporate headquarters and you are having the issue addressed.
Melissa in Orlando

wright said...

who the fuck do you think you are. if you're deaf then don't go through a drive-thru!!!!! what did you expect, dummy. did you expect someone to walk outside with your order written on a piece of paper??? it's people like you who make it hard to live here!

right said...

i'm legless and i want to join the chicago marathon... now what? just deal with it

Leadbottom said...

I read this story on the CBS website since i live nearby. My first reaction was to wonder why you did not go inside to order. I didn't see where the "denial of service" came in. I also thought that "misunderstandings" are probably commonplace with the hearing impared and it should be no surprise that the employee did not understand you.

The internet is a wonerful thing and I did a little research before I posted. I found that this type of denial of service is frequent and that restaurants can and must make drive-through accomodations.

Upon reading your blog it also became clear that the CBS story did not do justice. Certainly, at some point this employee (we will call him the manager for lack of a better term) became aware of your disability and still refused to make an accomodation as well as denying you service.

The service and discrimination you experience is deplorable. I thank you and am glad you are speaking up. Hopefully, more people will learn something from your experience like I have.

Bryen said...

Will these fast food chains ever learn??? I remember in 1993 when a similar incident had to be settled out of court with Burger King where the Deaf patron was threatened with arrest. It's now 18 years since ADA was passed. Enough already.

I'm now adding this story to my blog site, www.ChatWithBryen.com along with suggestions how everyone can lodge their objections to the company. Also, I propose we do a picket boycott at the Bolingbrook restaurant where Karen was discriminated. Let's do it this Saturday. Any agreement?

Keith said...

Good for you!

I feel bad for about your situation that they refused service to deaf.
It's v-v-very rude to deaf people who has nothing without it. I hate to hear about it.

Anonymous said...

Go Aunt Karen!

Anonymous said...

its seems people not take ADA much seriously, I don't know much but here at my place no law at all.

I too can speak much clearly, and often people not believe that I am deaf, as i don't use hearing aids either.

Also there are many deaf who don't speak either, how they can order on speaker, not only deaf bout some other people who have "speech disorder".

It is good that you argue with him, many people just leave, we must need to rise our voice.

Akram (Danish)
http://danishkadah.brinkster.net

technomom said...

How ridiculous! Our family loves Steak & Shake, but we won't be doing business with them until they've made SERIOUS amends to you.

Good luck!

Tammie said...

I found your blog through my friend Sandra over at The Daily Grind. I am blown away by how you were treated and can only imagine how angry you must have been.

My dad is hard of hearing although he doesn't admit to it easily. Because of that I never learned to sign which is a skill I'm very interested in.

I work in a bank & am exposed to people with many different needs. As a teacher, I was taught that deaf is the hardest disability because it isn't an obvious thing to notice such as a blind person who uses a guide dog.

A number of people who are hearing impaired come to my office. I keep a pad of paper & a pen to ease communication. We recently hired a teller who is also hearing impaired. She assists us with signing when someone wants.

Steak & Shake needs to have their corporate head handed to them on a platter for this one. I certainly won't be adding to their coffers in the future & plan on passing the word along to my friends.

mommyn2kids said...

Karen-

That is terrible. Having worked retail-I can understand how easy it is to improperly train new employees and/or for the "younger" employees to not understand what is going on.

I'd have asked for the manager on the spot, and if the manager still refused service, then you know it's a huge training issue.

But good for you, taking action!

~*~Tamy & the SGT~*~ said...

GO GET 'EM ~ despite the disability their employees actions is a reflection on them and they should be held accountable for his rude & arrogant attitude towards you and your son! Being in 'charge' of the window doesn't give any authority to be rude and threatening. Sounds like he needs to have his sense of entitlement knocked down a few notches.

Curious said...

Let me ask you something... why didn't you go inside to order??

Stephen Hopson/Adversity University said...

Wow! What a very tense moment you had going there! I felt like I was a fly on a wall, watching everything but powerless to do anything about it.

I felt my stomach rise up in anger and frustration for you.

I hope to God that the corporate offices does something in response to your notice of what just happened.

Let us know what they say.

Sue said...

Karen ... if you didn't meet with the corporate office YET, maybe you can present them with the idea of this device for the deaf that will "invite" deaf people to go through drive-thru. Take a look at this website where many businesses are now having this deaf device. Read on ... you go girl!!! http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=community&id=4566411

Barb DiGi said...

What you said was downright rude, Wright! Listen dummy, Deaf customers have every right to be treated the same as hearing customers. It is all about receiving equal service. Karen is entitled to request service by the drive thru window.

No one should be questioning her why didn't she go inside. It is not the point anyway! Deaf people just like hearing people are entitled to this kind of service and it is the responsibility of the business to accommodate to their needs. Dont you know about ADA? Duh!

Karen also has that right to educate the public since she wants to make an impact on gaining better treatment toward Deaf people. We don't deserve to be treated second class!

Wright, people like you are not willing to listen or even look for appropriate solutions. People like you have no compassion. You just swear off with your piehole that you have shown no empathy and understanding how Deaf people feel and what they have gone through. Shame on you!

As a Deaf person myself, I never had a problem when ordering drive-thru since the employees who take the orders tend to be friendly and gladly accepted my order at the window. It is so simple as that.

About your stupid question, "Did you expect someone to walk outside with your order written on a piece of paper???" is so far fetched. Can't you even use your common sense that a Deaf person can easily turn in their written note when they approach to the window? There is even no need to walk outside, duh!

Allow me to rephrase this from you for you: It's people like you who make it hard to live here!

Sheila said...

My blood pressure went up just reading of your experience. You probably have many more examples. I hope your writing about it brings greater understanding among those of us who aren't hearing impaired.

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for you,

I also feel that you deserve some compensation if you are telling the truth. However, in my experience people use unfortunate situations to look for someone to blame about the unfairness of life.
Again, I feel for you, but I do not believe that you were treated this way. I have been to this steak and shake and have a mental disability, and I have always been treated like a human being, not as a person with a disability.
So, when you people write stuff, think first!

Curious said...

Barb,

The deafness shouldn't be a burden on hearing people.

Karen said...

Curious,
You asked why I didn't go inside to order.

Here's why:

http://www.disaboom.com/Blogs/deafmom/archive/2008/01/25/never-deny-a-woman-a-shake.aspx

Anonymous said...

Would you feel as passionate about this, if you are not deaf?
I have been refused service before at other places but that was because i was rude. No one payed attention to that. This seems like such a big deal...
Do you think that the person treated you, as you say, strictly because you are deaf?

Anna said...

Wow, Karen, I cannot believe this. I can't believe anyone would treat a customer, disability or no disability, this way. I think Steak and Shake needs to implement some better employee training.

As far as complaining about you holding up the drive through line - he was the one holding things up. If he had just sold you your milkshakes, you would have been out of there.

Barb DiGi said...

Excuse me, Curious! We are not talking about hearing people, we are talking about people involved in a business. Any service is accountable to provide access to disabled people including deaf people. Can't you read between the lines in ADA?

Karen said...

Anonymous--

I encounter rude people here and there-- it has nothing to do with me being deaf, it is just someone having a bad day.

However, when you're going to deny me a service or a product because I can't use a device to order with-- that's a whole other ballgame.

Deaf Pixie said...

Wright,

WE are different for example if we bring deafblind person. You can delevery it to her when the deaf person prefer to drive way to get milk shake. Similiar as handicapped with no wheelchair. Need to get a milk shake for Karen. I think you have to be more carefully what kind of situation if you are difficult walk.
There is nothing wrong with that. Unless the man should understand if deaf driver along with difficult walk client if you work with a deaf client's disabitiy.

That's big difference!

You need to understand any kind of access what kind the person is deaf or .. I hate the manner the hearing doesn't understand.

Margaret

Anonymous said...

Karen,
what I am asking is, are you sure the person knew you were deaf to treat you bad?

Deaf Pixie said...

Wright, I agree with Barb's comment for Wright.

No Matter what kind the access if Steak and Shake doesnt have a wheelchair access if they are deaf with any kind of disabitiy.

Cannot barrier many things for deaf or deafblind or any with hearing people with disabities,too.

My bad experinced with the medical office in the past of years.
EXAMPLE: if you are deafblind patient who cannot hear on the phone. Medical office told her that you cannot call us with a brialle TTY.. Medical office want her to call with Video Relay Service. How can you see if you cannot see VRS interpreter?
Sound stupidest I have heard that.
Medical office refused to talk with me on TTY relay service. since VRS was spread That time I dont have enough money to pay for cable for VRS/Sorenson, etc. They have no right to tell you! You need to read NAD more information.
Everyone know about NAD comment is excellent example.

You cannot barrier if the deaf with any kind of disabities with no wheelchair access. Same thing

Deaf Pixie

Paul said...

The "manager" who offended Karen should be reprimanded in writing, be required to attend sensitivity training, be put on probation and definitely be required to face Karen to apologize.

Steak And Shake needs to place into action the means to improve communications with the deaf. Not that there should be a signer on every shift but, at least the means for a drive through customer to alert the attendant that they need assistance.

I think McDonalds has a notation on it's intercom that allows hearing impaired to proceed to place their order.
Karen should give Steak And Shake a chance as it was not the corporation as a whole that caused the problem but, one insensitive individual. We all make mistakes and should be given the opportunity to amend them. Additionally, Steak And Shake should compensate Karen in some reasonable form for her undue grief.

Across the board... All fast food facilities need to address the shortcomings that exist in drive through merchandising.

Anonymous said...

Seems to be something missing from the story.

Karen said...

Karen,
what I am asking is, are you sure the person knew you were deaf to treat you bad?

It was communicated several times that I am deaf, cannot hear through a speaker and I showed him my hearing aids. What part of that do you think wasn't understood?

toddlerplanet said...

This is horrendous. I'm glad that you're getting some coverage on this. I hope people stand up and take notice.

mishkazena said...

To these skeptics,

Karen is a highly credible person. We know her and she doesn't make stories. Apparently you aren't even aware this does happen to other Deaf people.. being denied services at the drive thru is NOT uncommon.

Deaf Pixie said...

Mishkazea, I agree with you about Karen is very excellent writer about CI and A.D.A and things she is not make up the stories. I think There is need to their attention about A.D.A on Local News. It is good recommnned to their view on local news in Chiagco. I am not very surprised any resturant need to accomendiation for deaf or hearing people any with their disbities law need to passed since 1990.

No Excuse !!

Anonymous said...

Is this still America? I thought this country was about being innocent until PROVEN guilty. Apart from your word, what is the undisputable truth that you were denied services because you were deaf?

Karen said...

Anonymous wrote: Is this still America? I thought this country was about being innocent until PROVEN guilty. Apart from your word, what is the undisputable truth that you were denied services because you were deaf?

Well, I suppose the corporate office could pull up the video, question the employee in the background who made eye contact with me (assuming she'll tell the truth, of course) and they could question my son.

I'm sure Steak 'n Shake has done an internal investigation into this and we'll hear their side of it at our meeting.

Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

did you say that you were deaf or just that you couldn't hear the speaker box?

Bobby said...

I am very sorry that this happened to you. I am the hearing spouse of a deaf person and I have witnessed many examples of discrimination from different businesses. I understand how you feel because I experience how my husband is treated by stupid, ignorant people.
We have a Steak and Shake in our city and I've never cared for this business because I had bad service the two times that we ate there. Even though I haven't tried them lately, I DEFINITELY will never return. And I'm more than happy to spread the word to all the hearing and deaf folks that I know.
A word to the two "dummies" with their asinine comments.....
"Wright": why is it that a deaf person wanting to go through the drive-thru is asking for so much? Everybody else gets to do it. Your comment,"it's people like you that make it hard to live here" is rather incredible to me. How is this deaf person going through the drive-thru affecting YOU? Obviously you must work in the fast-food industry since this irks you so much? You have such a "superior" attitude for someone that clearly doesn't have a better job than McDonald's cashier.
"Anonymous" that asked if this is still America: Yes, it is. That means you are not allowed to discriminate without there being repercussions for your behavior. It is not YOUR place to question this woman and ask for indisputable proof. If it becomes legal action, then there will be a question about the validity of her claim. She doesn't have to answer to you.
Laura

Shannon said...

Makes me sick! I posted a bulletin about it on MySpace and blogged about it.

Anonymous said...

So, let's get this straight, according to another posting you did on another site, you were PMS'ing...any chance that affected your attitude? Maybe what really happened is you were denied service for being RUDE, not for being deaf.

Karen said...

PMSing and craving a shake, yup! Believe me, I have many friends who've seen me during PMS time and they'll tell you that I don't drop my manners unless I'm justified. I believe withholding customer service is an entirely justifiable reason to get a little ticked off at a manager who won't be reasonable.

Lisa said...

Oh my God!!! That is just ridiculous and there is no excuse whatesover for your treatment! In today's day and age, you'd think that we'd come further than this. I love Steak n Shake, but I'll surely give it a 2nd thought before going back again. Good luck and "you go Girl!"

www.SmellMyCandle.com

AdventureDad said...

I hate bad customer service but this is just way beyond that. He could have saved the situation, kind of, by saying he made a mistake and had a really shitty day. Happens all the time.

I find it truly amazing that companies don't tell their employees about customer service. The word of mouth is very powerful as Steak and Shake just found out

Athene said...

Karen said,

"I believe withholding customer service is an entirely justifiable reason to get a little ticked off at a manager who won't be reasonable."

I absolutely agree with you. When I was working in Guest Services at The Saint Louis Science Center my manager was very passionate about making sure we covered everything and more in regards to ADA accommodations. I respected her for it and it actually taught me a lot about it. Whenever we heard about something even remotely like this in our museum one of the first things she did was do a refresher meeting to make sure it was understood what we had and could do to cover it.

Anonymous said...

To those of you out there who seem to be so ignorant that you're missing the point here ~ which in my opinion is that she was denied appropriate customer service ~ screw your heads on right and remember the golden rule ~ Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. Karen could not hear the speaker box, but maybe one day you'll have a broken foot or something else. HAVE SOME COMPASSION and quit dissing her. Your negative, pessimistic and inappropriate comments only add fuel to the fire.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this has affected anything at all at Steak 'n Shake, I just drove past one, and the parking lot was full.

Kyle Mac said...

Curious. If your deaf, how come you are allowed to drive on the road?

You wont be able to hear the sounds of the road, car horns or sirens.

That is somewhat of a hazzard. Also, you could of avoided this whole mess by just walking in.

If you cannot use the drive-thu properly. Then walk you ass into the establishment. This whole situation could of been easily avoided.

kkurt said...

This is for Kyle Mac. I saw your myspace spot. It's stupid, then again your only 19...Do your reserach when you comment about deaf drivers.
http://homepage.mac.com/jboyer/iblog/C1745214255/E1007677581/index.html
read this ^^ link. Deaf drivers are better than hearing drivers. And be careful Mr. Guitar player, you'll be the next deaf person!! (sigh - we wouldn't want that now, would we?), keep the radio down next time. Thank you and have a nice silent day.

Jim said...

This is for Kyle Mac, deaf drivers are better drivers because teenagers can't hear while they have their music loud and don't pay attention. If Kyle wants to discriminate, then I would say that all teenagers under 21 should not drive because of their careless driving.

Deaf people use their eyes more than hearing people. Eyes are more important than hearing when driving.

fxs said...

i hope you rip their balls off and serve it to them, tha kind of ignorance should not be tolerated anywhere

Val said...

Karen is a true advocate. She could have opted to be silent and let Steak n Shake get away with atrocious discriminatory practices by refusing to serve her. Karen showed her family, others with disabilities, and millions of nondisabled people that we will not be treated as second class citizens. We have good laws like the ADA. Let's unite and make them work!
Congratulations Karen!

Anonymous said...

stop being a whiney bitch. It sucks ass working at a place like that and there are rules like only ordering at the speaker he has to deal with and it sucks. Im sure he only makes minimum wage and if he was told not to take orders at the window why cant you just go around. you dont need to hear at the speaker he already knows what you want. why dont you just humor him and go to the speaker and say what you already said. it would make it easier on both of you. it sucks having customers whine at you when you are at a shit job you hate. if you cant use the fucking drive through then dont, just walk in. nothing against you i just dont like whiners.

Travis said...

Karen,

Just read your post (found it on Stumble) and my blood boiled for you. I work in an establishment that doesn't believe in customer service, but rather customer obsession. The way we see it, the customer is essentially paying our bills, so we better be as nice as possible toward them to keep them coming back. It just doesn't make any sense to deny service or be rude just because it may take you just a little more energy or thought to make an accomodation.

I just can't understand people like that. I just take faith that karma will catch up with them.

Hope you will continue to pursue this and get some satisfaction out of it. Make those people realize the error that they have made.

Kyle Mac,

Think about what you are going to say before you let diarrhea of the mouth get the better of you.

Scott Rains said...

Karen,

Several friends alerted me to your post. One from Nicaragua. I see another here from Pakstan. Thanks for getting the story out.

Boycott? A powerful tactic. Some basic economics:

American adults with disabilities or reduced mobility currently spend an average of 13.6 billion U.S. dollars a year on tourism. In 2002, these individuals made 32 million trips and spent 4.2 billion dollars on hotels, 3.3 billion on airline tickets, 2.7 billion on food and beverages, and 3.4 billion on trade, transportation, and other activities.

A study by the Open Doors Organization estimated that in the year 2003, persons with disabilities or reduced mobility spent 35 billion dollars in restaurants. According to the same study, more than 75% of these people eat out at restaurants at least once a week. The United States Department of Labor reported that a large and growing market of Americans with disabilities or reduced mobility have 175 billion dollars in purchasing/consumer power."

Scott

Anonymous said...

Poor deaf person, awww!!!

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of an incident that happened when I had a birthday party at an amusement part when I was younger. One of my friends had a congential defect on her right arm; she didn't have a hand or a lower arm. So we are at the ticket window and the woman said, "Put your right arm up for the ride bracelet." Kelly put her left hand up. The woman scowled at her, "I said your right arm." Kelly replied, "I don't have a right arm." The woman lashed out at her and started going on and on about smart-ass kids and how she was sick of their jokes. Finally, Kelly threw her stump up on the ticket counter. The woman had nothing.

Anonymous said...

The guy didn't discriminate because you were deaf, he closed the window because you were talking like a jerk and threatened him.

Jim said...

Karen, I love it that you are allowing those Anonymous posts with their negative comments appear. They are the prime example of typical attitudes that we face daily.

Attila The Mom said...

Karen, this was just awful. I'm so sorry it happened.

"Curious", you made the comment:
"Barb,
The deafness shouldn't be a burden on hearing people."

Asshats shouldn't be a burden on those with disabilities, either, but they still have to accomodate you.

Too bad we don't live in a perfect world.

Minnie said...

Put your "STEAK" in the ground and "SHAKE" 'em up!!! You go girl. While I doubt that the order taker inherently meant to seriously violate basic rights, the corporation ouught to be responsible for this and take some positive action to help build awareness. Great story for the newspaper as well.
You're the best. Thanks for posting this.

~*~Tamy & the SGT~*~ said...

What happened to the customer is always right? Have all of these businesses forgotten to educate their employees that without public patronage there would be NO way to pay their wages and they be out of a job? It doesn't matter that it may pay minimum wage, the order taker's courtesy should have begun at a child at home and not be changed by the amount of money he makes in the working world to take Karen's order. Seems to me this all boils down to common courtesy or the lack of on the window worker and while he works for someone else (Steak n Shake), he should be reprimanded for his attitude, maybe a little taking out the trash and cleaning grease traps with no public interaction will change his attitude a little. Even if Karen had been rude (which I'm sure she wasn't) he should have remained courteous and dealt with the situation better or referred it up to his supervisor! There are so many ways he could have handled it better!

Anonymous said...

Well Steak and Shake Corporate. You just built one a mile from my house here in NC. I hadn't been to it yet. I guess I will wait to see how this plays out before I tell all my friends not to patronize you. I will assume that you are horrified as well and that the situation has been rememdy. . .and that this ladies kids will be drinking free shakes for a while.

If it was me. . I would just get a lawyer. . .ADA stuff is easy.

Karen_thrifty said...

Oh crap! That's insane. I used to work for McDonald's (in my college days) and I would have been fired for talking to a customer like that. We even had crazy people come in there and I still didn't back talk them, no matter how much I wanted to.

We went to McDonald's a few months ago and some of the employees were making sexual remarks about some of the customers. We were told them would be fired. They weren't fired. I saw one of the guys working there a few weeks ago. They're just setting themselves up for a sexual harrassment case.

Ok, sorry to ramble. Your story just struck a nerve with me. I hope you get your apology!

Kara said...

This is terrible! I just went to Steak and Shake here in Miami TODAY-hadn't been for years and noticed a dinky sign on the front door that said "accessible counter available" but it's not where to be found---everyone has to pay at this counter with a step up to it making it impossible to reach for wheelchair users. If they think they can get around the standards with signs and rude service, I hope they're proved wrong! Please follow through on your complaint and I'm sorry your son and you had to have what seemed like a nice afternoon interrupted.

Anonymous said...

"But I'm DEAF! I can't hear on the speaker! When I drove up, the first thing that I told you was that I couldn't order back there because I can't hear through the speaker."

"No, you didn't tell me that," he said. "If you had told me about your disability then I could have accommodated you."


By your own admission you did not TELL him that you were deaf until AFTER you raised you voice and started threating with the ADA.

His response tells me he did not comprehend that you were deaf until you used the word.

By that point you had upset him to the point that he decided to walk away rather than deal with a cranky customer.

Next time just say "I am deaf" instead of pointing to you ears and expect someone to automatically understand what you meant.

Marie said...

I was looking at a blog or article about how you talked about how you were PMSing, within the last couple of days, but now I cannot find it. Could you tell me where that article/blog is at online? Thanks, I'd like to read it again, given that some people are talking about it in this blog

Karen said...

Right here: http://disaboom.com/Blogs/deafmom/archive/2008/01/25/never-deny-a-woman-a-shake.aspx

And keep in mind, the PMSing is the reason I headed over to get a shake, not a reason I didn't get them. I didn't get served because the manager refused to serve me.

~*~Tamy & the SGT~*~ said...

I just saw a commercial on TV from the "foundation for a better life" that stresses ~ Courtesy, pass it on. I think that just about says it all.

June said...

Was that on 75th street location? If so, I will gladly help you out, Karen. Just kinda rub it in by using Drive- Thru!

2008 and still we need to fight?

grantlairdjr said...

Hello,

Regardless, you did right thing.

Hope they will fix it ASAP. I have similar situation with Jack in the Box restaurant in 2004 even its different than your case.

Bottom line, I see big difference in this store ever since I reported to corporate even they never communicated with me directly.

gwlj

Anonymous said...

People are aholes but this country never stops crying about it... I want an apology... Why? Does anyone think that the apology by the ahole manager is going to be genuine. NO! He's an ahole and always will be. So what's the point of an apology. When did everyone become so sensitive.. Grow up.

Anonymous said...

Dear Karen,
I am so sorry for what happened to you at the place.
I work with people with disabilities and I am aware of the difficulties they experience on a daily basis. People without disabilities have a certain privilliage and at times it is not recognized as such.
I am worried, however, that sometimes people with disabilities percieve others' actions solely against their disability. You may have been rude to the manager and he was rude to you in return. All places have a policy that they may refuse service to whoever. So, if you were rude they will refuse you service.
I am sure you are aware that there are all types of people going through the drive thrus and the rude ones have been denied service based on their rudeness only and not on their other issues of life.
Karen, if you continue to perceive yourself only as a deaf person, people will treat you as a deaf person only, not as a human being-which you are, who has struggles in life.
I do not think you willor should get an apology, what you did is bring Steak n Shake a lot of business.

nelba said...

Karen, sorry that you had to go through that! You came to buy something from him and he is obliged to serve you in any way possible. The issue here is that you want to buy something from him, you are prepared to pay money for it and he has to give you what you want. HOW it is done is beside the point. What does he do when the speaker is out of order? Insist that people still order through it?

Anonymous said...

Nelba,
no one is obligated to serve you or whoever. It is only your expectation that your money will buy service with a smile. Only a common expectation, not a law!

Anonymous said...

My dear aunt is physically handicapped and has a tendency to take things personally. For example, even when family members give her corrective feedback, she easily gets hurt. When she doesn't receive the special treatment she expects, she assumes she's being mistreated for her disability.

I've been to the Bolingbrook Steak n Shake. As a customer, I know this manager and he is a nice person. I'm sorry you were hurt Karen but I think you were both having a bad day and you were both being rude to each other and you both owe each other an apology. He denied you service because he FELT he was being abused, not because you are deaf. And perhaps, maybe you are taking the situation too personally, as my aunt would.

Again I'm sorry you were hurt by the situation but it's not the end of the world, right? You and your loved ones are healthy and alive and that's all that matters. You shouldn't let your world revolve around this one incident. Forget about what happened and do something fun today.

Pipes said...

As someone who used to work in the drive-thru, I can attest that (at least in my Taco Bell) I received NO training as to procedures for a disabled person. Had you pulled up to my window, and said "Hi, I can't order back there as I can't hear"...I probably would have been mightily freaked out/confused and may have done the same thing (told you to pull around). You probably underestimate the amount of crazies we get at fast food joints. However, had you gone into a little detail (you're deaf, therefore you cannot use the speaker, and must order at the window), that would have turned off my "Crazy Person Detector" and I'd have no problem.

I'm certainly not blaming you, or absolving him, it's just something you may consider doing in the future, even though you shouldn't have to and we should all receive proper training. People who work drive-thrus usually have their Crazy Person Detectors on high at all times, and bypassing the speaker causes it to go off and get defensive.

Vicki said...

I really feel for you as I have lost about 60% of my hearing in the last 10 years. People can't tell I have a hearing loss by the sound of my voice. I'm pretty good at lip reading but when it comes to not seeing a person's face when they speak I'm at a loss. Let me tell you of one of my experiences. I was shopping at a local women's clothing store and a clerk must have asked me something while she was standing behind me. Obviously I did not hear her, so she came around to the front of me and said, "What's the matter are you deaf?". I replied, "as a matter of fact I'm about half way there." She turned red with embarrassment. I then proceeded to walk out of the store. But I really should have done something like you did. Thank you for raising awareness to the hearing world with some of the challenges we face!

Kirk M said...

Which is exactly the reason I don't carry a gun with me on the road. I'm sure I would have been in jail by now.

A fellow "can barely hear the speaker" deaf person.

chrismichmack said...

I would definatly talk to corporate of Steak N Shake. I've worked in fast food and if I remember correctly I had some deaf people come in and I never denied them service if they came to the window. I too am hard of hearing and I am very curteous. I was told by one manager at a restaurant that I worked at the reason why he wouldn't let me bartend was because he didn't think I would hear the printer for the drinks. I didn't think anything of it at the time but I should have said something. Oh well. I know how you feel and you do deserve free shakes. Can I come have one with you and we can talk about the world and how health insurance should cover hearing aids. :-) take care and good luck. I've bookmarked your profile and will check back.

Anonymous said...

Get that guy fired! Threaten to sue if they don't fire his bum and then request free food. So sorry that happened to you!

Anonymous said...

Ok this explanation is for the person who asked 'why didn't you just go inside the restaurant to order, if you're deaf?' The whole point of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was equal access for persons with disabilities. Since you as a hearing person are given the luxury of using the drive-through, a deaf person is given the same option under the law.

Some people posting here think they're Perry Mason, demanding to know how the OP managed to communicate with the clerk, since she's deaf, as if her story were somehow suspect.

Clerks and service workers are rude every day to customers with disabilities, and sometimes people have to be educated on the facts of the law, even if that means filing a lawsuit or going public with the details of the situation.

DefGal said...

I'm deaf also, but I use the drive throughs all of the time. I let them know right from the get-go that I'm deaf. I place my order - being very thorough - and usually repeat it and then I say something like, "I hope that you got that." The thing that really irks me is that I know they often ask me questions, cause I hv enuf hearing to know when someone says something, but I never understand the words. Why do they even ask ?'s when I've already told them abt my deafness - and given them my order? But even when they for some reason didn't understand the order (are they deaf?), by the time I get to the pickup window I've always bn able to pick it up as a normal hearing person does, or I'm allowed to order it from that window. Maybe ppl are just nicer here in Minnesota.

Lacey said...

Oy, vey. I'll never be going to Steak n' Shake again.

I'm amazed at your ability to let all these negative anonymous statements stand. It is, of course, the right thing to do- if people want to display their ignorance, we shoudl certainly let them. I don't think I'd able to stand it, though.

I've had similar poor service at drive-thrus, but I will tell everyone who says 'Why didn't you just go in?' that going in is usually just as bad, and no, it's not just at fast-food places.

I had a question about my purchase at Office Max (a sale item was ringing up full price) and I let the cashier know I was HoH, that she had to look at me while speaking or I wouldn't be able to understand her. She looked at me, said "oooookkkkkkaaaaaayyyyy" then went back to looking down at the register and speaking. After trying to remind her a couple of times, I walked out without purchasing anything.

Then, I went to see a new neurologist last month. His receptionist also spoke while looking at her chest. I understand some people do this b/c they are shy, but I let her know I needed to read her lips. She finally looked up, but began saying everything "very. simply. like. she. was. talking. to. a. five. year. old." She also asked why I didn't bring a hearing person with me to listen for me. I let her know that just b/c I am HoH I am not mentally impaired.

As a teenager I worked at McDonald's. Yes, it's a crappy job, but only if you let your attitude be that way. The days I worked the drive thru were my best days, because if you are nice to the customers, most will be nice to you. It cheers them up to have a smiling face greet them. (We had the face-to-face ordering system, no speakers. It was great, and service moved much faster. They have gone back to speakers now, and they always have long, slow-moving lines when I drive by.)

Good for you, Karen, and keep up the good fight!

CANK said...

Wow! you surely do bring me the memories when it happened to me at McDonalds Drive Thru in Bloomingdale last year. I was so stubborn and parked by the drive thru cashier. I refused to move my car to the parking lot. I DEMANDED to get my order first then we can discuss the rest. the Manager gave up and gave me the food! Keep fighting for our right!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

Again I'm sorry you were hurt by the situation but it's not the end of the world, right? You and your loved ones are healthy and alive and that's all that matters. You shouldn't let your world revolve around this one incident. Forget about what happened and do something fun today.


Do you understand that this is a very patronizing and arrogant attitude to have towards a disabled person? What seems like nothing to you was a big deal to the person who experienced the situation.

Your comments remind me of the people who used to come up to a man I was dating, a man who was in a wheelchair, and they would say things like 'I'll pray for you, you poor thing!' Or 'If you really believe, God will heal you.'
I was stunned, but this happened all the time. So please don't just pat the deaf person on the head and tell them it's no big deal. To her, it was a big deal.

Just like when deaf actress Terrylene Thierot sued Burger King. She was deaf and in a hurry, and she had her baby in the car, so she wanted to use the drive-through window, but the clerk wouldn't accept a handwritten note. The reason given was something about how armed robbers used handwritten notes to convey their messages, therefore she couldn't pass a handwritten note to the cashier at the drive through window.

It mattered enough to her that when she couldn't get BK to take her seriously, she filed a lawsuit.

LL said...

Don't let these guys off the hook, you could actually put them out of business for this.

If it doesn't hurt them a little, they'll never change their "policy" so sock it to them.

MLW said...

I think the issue is not only rights for people who are deaf or have disablities but also just common sense and treating others with respect.

What's the big deal about not ordering at the speaker anyway? Can't someone punch in an order told to them at the window just as easily as through the speaker?!

As soon as the guy realized you hadn't given your order at the speaker - for whatever reason, he should have just taken it then without a fuss. It shouldn't matter if he knew or believed you were deaf or not.

It would be great if everyone had more awareness about accommodating deaf people and people with disabilities but even so, he just needed to behave in a more reasonable manner and all of this would have been avoided.

BRETT said...

ere look, if you had explained what you said earlier on in the blog at the window then i'm sure the clerk would have served you. I am referring to the part about saying you can only hear coherently hear speech or something. It sounds obsurd that you would be treat in the way you explained and i just do not believe you were treat 'that' bad. You must be exaggerating somewhere along the line or must have instigated a bit.

To be fair, some people like to play on their disabilities. I mean, 'A deaf mom shares her world' - Would you catch me starting something similar with the title 'A normal person without a disability shares his world'. If you want to be equal stop banging on about what makes you different.

Anonymous said...

Hi! First off, i want to say im sorry that this happened to you. Im currently a manager at SNS in KY. We stress in our store GUEST HOSPITALITY... its Number 1!Apparently that store needs to try it again. When I heard about this, I was truly upset. I've been working for this company for 5 years now, and I've NEVER denied service to ANY customer. I do understand that every SNS is different, we don't have this "via device" at our store, but we all have the same purpose, to serve, and our store WILL serve everyone. I wish you the best of luck to you and your family. And again, Im sorry.

Anonymous said...

I am glad you got this oprotunity to do this.You are showing everyone that you have every right to have service at the window. I live in a small city and i dont see many signs that say that they will or won't serve you at the window if you need it. i beleive that some people need to know these rights and should be tought this before being given a job anywhere.

Kevin Poole said...

At first I agreed with the guy cause store policy is store policy one time a guy at Arby's gave myself and 3 friends several apple turnovers because they had 6 stripes of frosting and they need
5. But then I learned that deaf people can get around useing the booth because of the American disabilites act. And the casher was just being a douche.

sara said...

That's really bad.Nobody should be that horrible to anybody.I think you maybe should've went inside and said something. But still that's not something they should have done.

Keajohn Reynolds said...

This is one from Keeajohn,
I have a job, and for a customer to complain makes me mad. BUT you had a reason for it. I weather you were rite or wrong He has to provide you with quality customer service. After you wouldn't pull around, then he should have gotten a manager. Of course the manager was going to agree with you and, take your order. I'm sure there are worse rules he has broken, besides taking an order from the window like... oh I don't know being rude to a customer??? In my eyes this situation could have been handled rationally, but once again people raise their voices and don't understand each other.

Keki said...

Hey, wuz up,
I don't understand why the guy had an attitude before he even opened the window. I think he jus wanted to feel all high and mighty. The woman only wanted two small milk shakes. I may be a little cranky working at a job like that, but I wouldn't let it affectmy people skills. You should be careful how you talk to people no matter how big of a jerk you think they're being. Just smile and say have a nice day... Kill them with kindness!!!

Anonymous said...

From what Iread, this guy is an idiot. There's no other way to say it. He apparently is not familiar with the ADA and such. And the rights that Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing persons have. This is absolutely ridiculous andhe shoudl either be fired or retrained.

MichelleH said...

I'd have to agree with everyone that it was totally wrong in everyway, but when you were a kid or a teenager did you ever play tricks on the public in anyway? Or even have friends that you know who did that and you just sat there and laughed? Well most people would say yes. The kid could have thought that you were just messing around. Meanwhile, when you showed him you hearing aids he should have known better that a lady like yourself wouldn't mess around with a kid especially if the service was just for some shakes. I would go to the ADA and the NAD about this, even the news. Also, if any person who provides a service refuses that service for any type of reason thats just wrong, he didn't even have any empathy to give you the accommadations. Even if the kid was taught to stick to the policy you think the person who trained him would tell him about people with disabilities and how to accommadate them. I feel bad for Steak and Shake much less the kid for what their in for.

Tyler said...

WOW!!!

Who would act like that to a Deaf person?
If that was me, I would have parked my car
and went inside and demanded to see the
manager. Then i would have written a letter
to the head quarters.

P.S. I will be boycotting all Steak and Shakes now.

Anonymous said...

WOW

Who would act like that to a Deaf person.
If that was me, I would have parked my car
and went inside and demand to see the
manager. Then i would have wrote a letter
to the head quarters.

P.S. I will be boycotting all Steak and Shakes now.

Anonymous said...

that is horrible!
no one should ever be treated like that.
You did the right thing by reporting him.
unfortunally this happends a lot and im glad that you stick up for yourself and all the deaf people out there.

ERIN said...

GET IT GIRL! I think that you handled this situation in a very mature manner! I would have not jhave been able to set a good example for your son the way you did. Im very proud of you! You encourage not only other Deaf individuals but women of all kind! I praise you!

Anonymous said...

This is an outrage. To deny a person care just because they have a disability is up-surd! When the employee closed the window and basically ignored the woman he was being ignorant and way out of line. To hear that you are going to pursue this is good things like this should be put to rest and no one with a disability should be treated in this manner.

LIKE OMG! said...

LIKE THIS MAKES ME SICK! SHE SHOULDVE JUST WALKED IN THERE!

BDUBOIS said...

YEAH THATS PRITTY SAD WHAT HE DID. I HAVE A JOB AND OWNERS AND MANAGERS ALWAYS PREACH CUSTOMERS ALWAYS RIGHT EVEN IF THERE NOT JUST DEAL WITH IT. HE SHOULD BEEN A MAN MINIMUM WAGE OR NOT. HAHAHA. BUT THEN AGAIN SHE SHOULDVE JUST LEFT AND THEN CALLED TO TALK TO THE MANAGER. BUT WE ALL KNOW WOMAN, THEY HAVE TO SHOW YOU UP OR BEAT YOU DOWN. HE SHOULDVE KNOWN BETTER AND JUST ORDERED HER FOOD AND LET HER LEAVE AND LET THINGS NOT GET ANY WORSE. BUT LOOK AT HIM NOW! SCREWED!

alyssaD said...

This can be controversial.
Why didnt you just park & walk in and deal with it there, maybe you could have spoken with the manager inside. But then again, he shouldnt have gotten such an attitude towards you when you clearly didnt do anything wrong. Why couldnt he simply place your order at the window? Why did he insist on you driving around and speaking into the box? The ADA means making accomodations, not giving them a difficult time.He simply shouldnt have acted the way he should.
The whole showing your his "nametag" thing, now that was just plain out sarcasm on his part.

Anonymous said...

wow! that is so rude of him!! i am proud of you to take it up with the corporate office! Good job!!

WalkerTexR said...

i cant believe that someone would be so rude.

Lauren L. said...

Hi There Karen. I was shocked while reading this. I didn't realize the extent of how rude and inconsiderate people can be. I mean if someone says they are deaf, they are more than likely deaf. (Really, who jokes about being deaf?) He was is a jerk and has no right to not give you service. Steak and Shake needs to be more careful with who they hire and what their policies are. I am glad that you took action to this situation. Have a great day!

Sr. Mina said...

I'm so sorry you went through that. That kind of thing makes me angry. Him asking you to order through the speaker was like him asking a blind person to read the non-braille menu.

In the town I live in, there's a "all staff be deaf for a day" event. All businesses' staff must wear earplugs and pretend to be deaf. They can only use ASL or written communication. The customers have to learn what its like to deal with deaf staff. Its educational all round. Unfortunately, few businesses partake of the event. Its just ONE day a year! Really sad. [I'm in Canada; deaf people don't have rights here and its hard to find any accommodation for disabled people at all]

I hope there's an update on the resolution? I'd like to know what got accomplished after all the good work you did to try to bring this manager/trainer to justice. I hope he didn't know he was disobeying a law. If he did...ouch.

steph said...

wow what a jerk. you def need to talk to steak and shake and get that boy/man fired. how rude and inconsiderate. obviously he is an idiot. and i am happy for you that you are going to take this up to steak and shake!

Anonymous said...

That's terrible! He should've taken your order at the window! He should be fired for what he did! You should contact the manager and if he still doesn't want to service you, you should sue the place. Nobody should be denied service just because they have a disability.

Anonymous said...

wow if i were u i would have went off on that guy.
good to know some peolpe in this world wont stand for stuff like that no more.

Anonymous said...

wow if i were u i would have went off on the dude.
good thing there r people in the world that wont take stuff like this from people anymore.

Anonymous said...

you handled the situayion great.He gave disrespect and no chance to defend yourself.He's the how hold up the line,not you!He no manager in my eyes and has no right training others when he needs some himself!i hope it turns out in your favor.

SamanthaR said...

I can’t believe someone would ever think about doing this. He had no right to shut the window on you while you were trying to explain to him (for the millionth time) that you couldn’t use the speaker. I may not be deaf, but even I have trouble understanding the person or hearing the person at the speaker. I don’t think you should have been treated like this. That boy/man was completely out of line. I also find that amazing that he was the manager and trainer for the business, which makes matters worse in my opinion. He should know better then to not treat a customer like that. I am astonished that he would ever think of doing that in his position and with your case. Hope everything goes in your favor...You have me on your side!

Anonymous said...

This is unexceptable in our world. you said you pulled up to the window and said you were deaf and he didn't believe you and then you lifted up your hair and he still didn't beileve you, thats messed up! im sorry!

Anonymous said...

im so sorry i can't beileve he didn't believe you even when u lifted your hair. took him longer to argue with you than it would to make the stupid shakes!

Tyrone Biggums said...

some people are just hard headed. this idiot probably had a some kind of mental problem. i am a student in high school taking ASL and this is a crazy situation!

Kyrian said...

The initial event is so bizarre, but what is really horrible is seeing some of the comments posted. I love my friends who are deaf and love studying ASL and deaf culture. It is sad to see such ignorant and rude things said about a person who is deaf just asking for what is expected. It takes a lot to hide behind a computer screen and berate someone you don't know.

jason said...

karen, so sorry to hear this story. his continued ignorance does him no credit.

That said, mistakes CAN happen. Once while I was boarding a plane, a guy was sat in the aisle seat and my ticket was for the window. I looked at him, smiled and pointed to the window. Standard procedure when boarding a plan.

Athis point, the person already seated normally smiles back, gets up out of the chair and allows you thru to the window.

My guy smiled, but just scooched back a bit in his seat, making it very difficult for me to pass. I muttered something sarcastic under my breath, like "oh dont go to any trouble" and squeezed very awkwardly past to my seat.

I stared out of the window grumbling to myself about how society was crumbling etc etc and shot the guy a quick glance while he wasn't looking. I want to see what kind of man he was that wouldn;t get up to let someone reach their seat.

From this angle he was familiar. It was a guy I had noticed at the check in. I remember him quite clearly....he was the one who'd been in the wheel chair.

After spending a few moments wishing I could jump out of the window,. I took a breath, turned and apologised for my ignorance. Luckily he forgave me and we shared a good chat during the flight, where no doubr I patronised him terribly by telling him how brave he was.

still, i did my best.

CYMR0 said...

How incredibly rude! What happened to you was totally wrong. GRR!!

Some of the comments that have been posted are so ignorant it is astounding! First of all, you're posting these negative comments but hiding behind "anonymous" - what's with that? You obviously know you're wrong...

Why should Karen not use a service just because she is deaf? She wasn't asking for anything but a small accommodation - how hard would it have been for him?

All too often people who work in service are rude to customers and look at offering service as a burden. The fact that you are on minimum wage is no excuse! If you can't be polite and offer a service to customers, THEN DON'T WORK IN SERVICE!

Glad to see its had some media attention and you have a meeting set up and that you're taking a lawyer with you.

Terry Starbucker said...

Hi Karen! What a horrible experience. Good for you for making it public. That's the power of the blogosphere we know so well. I bet that Steak and Steak will regret not having accomodating you properly (and politely. I admire what you are doing here - the golden rule IS the golden rule! All the best,

Terry

Kosmonaut said...

I'm sorry to read about this! Let us know what happens after you talk to Corporate.

Rebecca Davis Winters said...

This is a complex issue, but could easily be resolved with some rudimentary customer service skills.

Tamar Weinberg said...

I wrote them when learning of this incident and got the following response:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Steak ‘n Shake very much regrets the misunderstanding between Ms. Putz and one of our Associates. Ms. Putz has been a long time loyal customer that we greatly value. Whatever the situation, our Associates are trained to be responsive to all of our guests’ needs. The fact that this apparently did not happen is very regretful. We plan to meet with Ms. Putz to ensure we address her concerns. Lastly, this incident has made us aware that we must continuously keep our associates focused on customer needs and satisfaction. A communication is being sent out to all Chicago land Associates to increase their awareness and sensitivity.

Regards,

Bill Harnew
Group Director of Communications
The Steak 'n Shake Company
36 S. Pennsylvania Street
Suite 500
Indianapolis, IN 46204
w: 317-656-4530 m:317-538-2982
fax: 317-633-4105
http://www.steaknshake.com

Anonymous said...

In the couple of years my experience with Stake and Shake has plummeted. They seem to have some kind of policy to hire the stupidest people on earth to serve customers. I've stopped eating there.

Mama Dave Muscato said...

Two things for you...

1. I used to work as a kitchen manager/trainer at a Steak 'n Shake, after being promoted from a drive-through clerk. Unless the policy has changed in the last four years, we were certainly allowed to take orders at the window and did this all the time, if the speaker was broken, if the person preferred to order in person, if the person's car engine was so loud that we couldn't hear his voice over it, etc. He should have taken your order at the window. It's entirely possible that he was misinformed or mis-trained if he thought he wasn't supposed to order at the window, not necessarily malevolent.

2. If you are deaf enough that you can't use a drive-through speaker, should you even be driving, especially with children in the car? Can you hear police sirens, car horns, etc? I know that in my area, it is illegal to drive with headphones on (like listening to an iPod) because you can't hear the road. If you are that deaf, it makes sense that you wouldn't be legally allowed to drive, either.

My 2 cents.

bint alshamsa said...

I am so sorry this happened to you. We don't have any Steak and Shake's down here or else I'd boycott their asses from now to eternity.

tommyhub said...

thats horrible that the man was so stubborn

tommyhub said...

thats horrible on his part

Anonymous said...

Wow I'm sorry that this happen to you. I can't believe it was an manager that said that. I think the people who were involed sure get fired. Thats horrible service. Now I'm going to think twice about going to 'Steak and Shake' next time.

Anonymous said...

For you, Mama Dave Muscato. The comment you made about deaf people are illegal to drive the cars. You are being so inappropaite to mention that they cannot drive, I am deaf person and I have approved driver's license and been driving over 40 years without any problem ... these deaf drivers are better drivers than hearing drivers because we keep our eyes to paid more attention while hearing people may not be as excellent drivers because they also listen and hooked to the radio for music, news, etc and had car accident just the same. I am very disgusted at you to mention that deaf people should be illegal to drive. Now I will tell other people what a nerve person you are!!!!

Anonymous said...

For the ignorant few who believe this is all her fault because she did not just "get out of the car and go inside to order", what occured is disparate treatment (not being treated equally) and illegal. She has the EQUAL right to the drive thru as anyone else, and should you think otherwise, please read the complete American with Disability Act of 1990. And should you not agree with it, immediately leave America.

It is a shame that there has to be a written law for the enforcement of our founding father's idealism of "All men (including women, and including those with disabilities)are created equal".

or

Don't read it, open your own business, and commit the same violation

Anonymous said...

and lose your business in court!

Rick said...

Thought you would like to hear this.
I wrote down my order beforehand. Then I drove to Steak n Shake in Evanston and of course, went to the drive thru window without stopping at the voice ordering station. Told the window attendant that I was deaf and waved my order. Surprisely, the attandent smiled and glady took my order. there were two cars already ordered thru the voice behind me but it seemed that the attandent was not in a hurry to complete my order. Here comes my order and left with a ease. It seemed that there was a brief training about serving the deaf customers.

Rosie said...

Karen,

I'm not a deaf person, I don't know any deaf or hard of hearing people, and I was not aware of the law that you referenced.

However, I am a human being! I've worked in customer service for many years and if I had been in that situation, from the employees side, if -anyone- had come up and said that they needed me to take their order through the window, no matter what the reason for not being able to use the speaker, I would have just taken the order without even blinking. It's just basic common courtesy.

Beyond just being the right thing to do, it makes sense to do so for their business too: a - if he had just taken your order, there wouldn't have been any hold up in the line. b - can we say bad publicity?

But honestly, I had to sit down and think about it for a while before I came up with those. My first instinctive reaction was: "That doesn't make any sense. Why didn't he just take the order?"

I will also say though, that in most cases like this it's the individual, and not the company. -People- are inherently stupid. Companies just want to make money, and they know in order to do that they have to make people happy. I hope the company does something for you to make up for their stupid employee!

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Using the drive-up window was your first mistake. Even my hearing friends and family members say that they never get the order right!

I find it easier to go in and order. I can speak, but my speech is impaired, so if I'm not with a hearing friend who knows ASL, I just write my order on my notepad.

Anonymous said...

My son just got a job at Steak & Shake so I was looking up information on the company for him and ran across this Blog.

I will make sure to tell my son that doing the right thing is always the best way to go. Even if you are breaking policy or think you will get into trouble.

More people need to do the right thing more often.

Dayngr said...

Hit them where it hurts, the pocket. Shame on Steak N Shake. Good for you for standing up for yourself. Bad service sucks and people who think they can get away with it should be taught a lesson.

Anonymous said...

The point of a drive-thru is for fast service, it cannot be fast if the speaker is skipped and ordered at the window. Is it fair to hold up the line because you skipped the speaker?

Drive-thru time goals are set and by not following the proper procedures, you were jeopardizing their goals.

Guest sensitvity and hospitality is almost non-existant wherever you go, so are you really surprised?

He should have accomodated your request, but he is not obligated to. Service can be denied to anyone.

Anonymous said...

I know this is a bit off topic, sorta. But trainers are not managers, they don't have the responsibility that a manager does. There is very little liability for them and it doesn't require the HR department to fire them.

What he did was unexcusable and I would fire my associates for that, on the spot. It's incredibly easy to accomodate for this situation. It seems like he really didn't understand the situation and it's sad that he reacted the way he did. On the other hand, if you sue for 60 million, those free shake coupons won't do anything when they close all the locations.

Anonymous said...

Had this similar experience recently...they told me to go back to the speaker even I explained that I was totally hearing imparied....so I camped out on that spot by the speaker....blocking many, many incoming patrons beyond....even though, they have security camera focusing on the speaker area.....Enjoyed subway sandwhich which was purchased prior to coming to fast food drive in for my wife....after long pause of non ordering.....they came out and greeted me and asked me what's wrong....I told them I was told to use speaker to order....((((I cannot read the speaker's lips)))) .....they didn't realize that I was totally hearing impaired even though my speech was very understandable or clear. Yes, I could have initiate a litigation. So, all food service drive ins need to be met with ADA requirements. Where is Mr. Deaf Martin Luther King?

Anonymous said...

I feel for you but I don't understand why you could not have just went inside and ordered. If I were deaf that is what I would do. It seems like it would make it quite a bit easier to order, avoiding any confusion with going up to the counter bypassing the speaker and explaining why you are trying to order there. In fact I stutter at times and that is the reason why I rarely order at the windows.

Anonymous said...

I am a server at a different Steak n' Shake in Illinois, and I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am. I always try to treat my customers just like I would want to be treated. There was no reason why he denied you service. EVERYTHING about Steak n' Shake's company policy says that the customer comes first.
This is awful. I hope it never happens again.

Anonymous said...

We just had an incident at Steak n Shake last night too. Not to the extent you suffered nor in the same legal catagory. We had a group of students after a school play that went to S&S about 12 midnight - because it is the only place still open at that time that's not a bar and smoky -- we sat and sat and no one ever came to take our order - so we went to the counter to try and order and they said their computer was down -- a few clever guys got in their cars and went thru the drive thru and got food and brought it back in. Then one honest young man came up from behind the counter and swiped his employee card and said - i'll try to help you. The cook and other waiter are freeaking out because he knows kids don't tip well. THey never did take orders.

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