Monday, 9 April 2012

Deaf Girl gets shut in a closed shop

I've been having a fantastically relaxing Easter break with The Rents, recovering from my cold, getting loads of sleep, eating the obligatory chocolate for breakfast on Easter Day.

Ma and I have also been having a bit of fun doing some shopping in some fabulous shops that simply don't exist in the Big Smoke. Now I know I'm going on a summer holiday, I wanted to get a new bikini so she took me to this massive shop down the road from their house and we had a great time trying everything on.

Halfway through our trying-on session, I realised that the music had stopped. Odd I thought, but then thought nothing more of it. I could also hear very faintly, the tinny tannoy going off every now and again, but as Ma is catching me up in the deaf stakes these days, neither of us had a clue what was being said.

So we carried on, until it got so quiet that I realised that the store was probably closing early - it was Good Friday after all - so I hurried Ma and we rushed out of the changing room into a closed store.

*cringe

It was so embarrassing. And the staff were kind of shocked to see us, too. And a little bit cross.

As we paid at a till they had to reopen, I asked the till girl if announcements had been made about the store closing two hours earlier than the time advertised on the door. 'Yes,' she replied… there had apparently been loads.

Keen to let her know we were not just disobedient shoppers, I explained that my Ma and I were deaf and she smiled politely/awkwardly/vaguely so I left it at that and we legged it from the store.

But this experience hit a bit of a raw nerve with me. As a child when I was going deaf and didn't know it, I would often get left places as I didn't hear the calls to leave. I would come downstairs in the house and not be able to find anyone as I hadn't heard their calls that they would be in the garden, or I would be on a school trip and the rest of the group would move on and I'd still be stood there engrossed in whatever we had been looking at.

As an adult, this experience transferred to sitting on buses that had already terminated, waiting at the doors of a train carriage that didn't open due to a short platform because I hadn't heard the announcement, and at my last job, turning around at work to find the whole building in the process of a fire evacuation and no one had thought to tell me.

It's embarrassing and sometimes downright scary and, while walking into a shut shop from the changing room might not bother most people, it made me feel incredibly stupid. It's why I always check the opening hours of store before I go in, I hate that feeling of announcements being made and me not realising what's going on until someone actually tells me, because when they tell me, they're not going to know they're telling a deaf person, in their mind they're telling a person who is holding them up from getting home for the evening.

Of course there's nothing I can really do about this, and the incident in my Ma's local shop is almost forgotten…almost. Think I might buy my next bikini online though, or first thing in the morning… just in case.

7 comments:

Tea cosy said...

Shop earlier sounds good to me!

Eve said...

LOL now I know it's not just me! I was in a store on Good Friday and they closed. Lucky for me another shopper asked me what the announcement was and I didn't know so we looked to another person who told us. I got separated from my daughter in a store when she was 4. I was frantically looking for her and they were announcing a lost child over the loud speakers. A kind shopper let me know. Another time I was out and a tornado warning was announced. I'm shopping, la tee da, no idea that something is wrong until I notice people running....?? I had no idea until I got home and saw the news.

Anonymous said...

Wow, glad we don't have tornados here!

Unknown said...

This actually happened to me at a medical center where I went for an imaging test. It was the end of the day and the doctor left and the technician told me he would email me the results. The interpreter left and I went back to the changing area to remove my gown and change back into my own clothes etc from the locker where I left it. When I came out to the hallway there was no one there and no one in the lobby and the glass doors were locked. I went to every room asking "Hello is anyone there?" the whole time. No one came to find me and reception was blocked by metal roll down blind. After a considerable time I went out the fire door. I waited an obligatory 30 minutes outside the building to see if security or fire would come and they did not. So I booked it to my car and used my videophone to leave a message and wrote a very angry letter to the head of the department about the incident!

Unknown said...

This actually happened to me at a medical center where I went for an imaging test. It was the end of the day and the doctor left and the technician told me he would email me the results. The interpreter left and I went back to the changing area to remove my gown and change back into my own clothes etc from the locker where I left it. When I came out to the hallway there was no one there and no one in the lobby and the glass doors were locked. I went to every room asking "Hello is anyone there?" the whole time. No one came to find me and reception was blocked by metal roll down blind. After a considerable time I went out the fire door. I waited an obligatory 30 minutes outside the building to see if security or fire would come and they did not. So I booked it to my car and used my videophone to leave a message and wrote a very angry letter to the head of the department about the incident!

Me said...

Oh my word – that is shocking. Did you get an apology??!?!?!

Sam said...

Being deaf can definitely present some unique hurdles. Luckily some businesses and work places are now operating deaf messaging services that alert the deaf person in the building that a evacuation is occurring. Perhaps they should be extending this to alerting the people in the building that it is now closing time?

Or it could just be a case of mindless staff wanting to get out early. A friend, who can hear perfectly, was once locked in a store when the retail assistant locked up for lunch.

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