I am Deaf .. I have no qualms in using it to my advantage sometimes. I figure I am so often disadvantaged that it kinda evens the scales a little bit when I can use it to my advantage. Some people think this is unethical. Some think it’s hilarious while others think it is just plain sneaky. Me? I attribute it to my lack of patience.
This all came about because the other day I was at the Motor Registrations Department. The Moto Rego have an electronic ticketing system. You take a ticket with a number on it and when it’s your turn your number flashes above the counter where you will be served. The other morning the ticketing system was not working. They were handing out tickets and verbally calling the numbers.
I pointed out to the guy that gave me a ticket that I would not hear my number and asked if he could give me a wave. He promptly pushed me to front of a very long line and got me served straight away. Why not? Saved me lots of time. But some people wanted to LECTURE me and tell me this wasn’t right. It feeds the POOR DEAFIE syndrome they say. Maybe it does but PFFFT say I – it saved me hours and I had a garden to do.
Now as a youngster I was often in night clubs. I partied hard. I often would argue at the counter that being deaf and unable to hear the music meant that I shouldn’t have to pay. Often I would get in free or at a reduced rate. Unethical? Perhaps, but it is true I don’t get the same enjoyment as the hearing patrons so why should I pay the same price?? I think this example is DEFINATELY abusing the system but as a youngster it seemed a good idea at the time. What was more unethical was that I would sometimes get hearing friends in free too by pretending that they were deaf. WHAT IS MORE UNETHICAL is that the same hearing friends would often pretend that they were deaf and GET THEMSELVES IN FREE even when I wasn’t there! You know who you are!
Then of course there is Buyers Edge. They insist on ringing you on the voice line even though on your file it says DEAF do not RING. You try to get them to email and they refuse saying their system wont let them. When you call to change your address they wont let you do it through the phone over the relay service. Consequently their bills go to the wrong address and don’t get paid. Of course that’s my fault isn’t it?
Anyway they got fed up with dealing with me they sold my debt to a debt collector. The debt collector, of course, rings me on the phone even though the file says DEAF DO NOT RING. Anyway eventually I got the debt collector on the phone through the relay service. They wanted the debt paid in FULL and NOW. About here is where I play the deaf card. “But”, I said, “I tried to resolve this matter several times but Buyers Edge had deaf unfriendly policies and wouldn’t allow me to change my address through the relay service.” I pointed out that if they had their bills would be paid no problem but they insisted on sending the bill to the wrong address and then PHONING me when the said bill did not get paid. “Unfair and discriminatory”, I said, “And now I have a credit record.”
To cut a long story short the debt collector allowed me to pay off the debt in monthly installments and made sure that no adverse record went on my credit rating. Sometimes playing that deaf card is necessary and I have no qualms in doing so. Lecture me if you must but until society changes and meets the needs of all its citizens I will use the deaf card when and if it’s needed. Tomorrow the airport to Canada 😀 … At 4am I ain’t lining up I can tell you!
2 thoughts on “Taking Advantage”
Unfortunately, yes, it is unethical, but often necessary to force the system to change so that it is more accessible to deaf people. With the increasing number of people acquiring age-related hearing problems, it has to change sooner or later.
The problem is avoiding penalties that is designed into the system…unless one takes extraordinary measures (like sending a registered letter just to change the address). Otherwise deaf people get negative credit ratings along with deadbeats. But why should we bend over backwards and yet the system still won’t change? It’s a losing game either way.
If the visual displays are turned off, if there is no way to step up and take one’s fair turn, no way to get around a telephone barrier, no way to be a citizen because of one’s hearing;–it’s fair game playing the “deaf card” until some sanity is engineered into things. Play it often enough and it probably will change. But do whatever is necessary to protect yourself.
I use the deaf card if I get cold callers or idiots in the street canvassing for charities ! not that it takes much, you tell them you are deaf they run a mile… However I never use it to gain any special advantage, that would be quite wrong as it gives out the wrong message. I que with the rest. Wherever I go I inform I am deaf, and sit close to the action, to maintain eye contact so they don’t ignore, or I create mayhem usually. 🙂
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