Tara Sethi: Did being deaf mean we missed out on a restaurant discount?

Posted on April 22, 2013

A few friends and I recently met up for dinner one night, to catch up and have a few drinks and a yummy meal. We found a bar, and next to it, a Thai restaurant, which was advertising a special offer outside: 50% off your main meal.

My friend, W, decided to go check out this offer, as it seemed too good to be true for a Friday night.

The waiter came back eventually, said that it was available, but that my friend had to buy a card, topped up with £30, to take advantage of this offer. He then booked a table for six of us.

We turned up at the restaurant, had lots of food (probably more than we needed, due to taking advantage of the offer!) and really enjoyed it.

Eventually, we asked for the bill, and this is where the evening turned sour….

The bill didn’t have 50% off, only 10% off. We questioned this, and were told that the offer wasn’t applicable!

W insisted that the lady had said he needed to get the card in order to get the offer. He asked to speak to this lady, and she insisted that she never said that, that we could only get 10% off.

The manager came along, and was extremely rude. He ended up shouting at us, accusing us of trying to get away without paying for the meal!

Sounds like it could happen to anyone right? But, here’s the twist in the tale:

W and the other guys with us were all deaf, and also sign. The waitresses and manager knew this as they had seen that I was trying to help my friends understand what was going on.

I couldn’t help but wonder if they were trying to take advantage of the fact that W was deaf, and signed, to not let us have the 50% offer.

There was nothing displayed in the restaurant about the 50% offer not being applicable, and it was still being advertised after we left.

Unfortunately, W had enquired about the offer on his own, so whether there was miscommunication, or they took advantage of the situation, who knows?

I just couldn’t help feeling that it was a really bad situation that was made worse by our deafness, as the waitresses and managers didn’t understand W and others, and even though I explained and told them that we needed to lip read, they went and got a pen and paper to communicate.

Our chances of getting the deal we were supposed to get definitely reduced because of our deafness. And we’re still annoyed about it.

Tara Sethi is an Environmental Consultant working in the City of London, living in the Surrey countryside. She loves travelling, socialising and is passionate about charity work, having helped deaf charities for over 15 years. She is a profoundly deaf CI user.

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