Are you old and hard of hearing? Is your vision decreasing with age? Do you have any other handicaps? If you’ve answered any of the above questions with a yes, then keep reading.
By law, there are handicapped parking, handicapped equipped bathrooms, hotel rooms, entrances and exits from buildings, etc. Handicapped accommodations make my life much easier and safer. I am thankful that Congress has recognized the handicapped’s need for help and provided it.
Today, I want to propose that the handicapped laws be expanded to cover one additional area. Today, I called the customer service line of a major insurance company. The phone was answered by a soft- spoken agent, speaking rapidly in broken English. I had a lot of trouble understanding what he was saying. My end of the conversation was, “Could you please repeat that?” “Can you speak up?” “I can’t hear you!” “Is there someone who speaks English?” “Can you spell that word for me?”
Typically, Customer Service refers me to an internet site where I am bombarded with screens designed to setup my account and password protection. Then there are forms made up of a number of fill in the blank questions and free type boxes. God forbid if you don’t have email. Without email access, you end up trying to communicate with another individual speaking broken English. You are really up the creek if you speak in broken English.
Unfortunately, my typing skills have diminished with age, arthritis and Parkinson’s. Usually, I go to the Customer Service internet site prior calling and call only if I can’t resolve the problem online or it is too confusing to be navigated.
Now imagine you’ve called Customer Service and are at the first choice point: dial one for English or3 dial two for Spanish. My proposal is to add a third option: dial three if you are hard of hearing. Pushing number three would take you to a panel of customer service agents who specialize in communicating with the hearing impaired. Other disabilities could be addressed on the internet by employing programs designed for those with visual handicaps.
If you agree with my basic premise, share this article with your family, friends, and congressional representatives. Until the laws change, politely ask to speak to a native speaker (interpreter).
Here’s today’s joke:
A police officer pulls over an elderly couple He walks up to the driver’s side window and asks the husband for his license and registration. The wife, hard of hearing, asks “What?! What did he say to you?” The husband replies, “He wants my license!”
The officer asks him if he knew how fast he was going.
The wife yells “What?! What did he say to you?”
The husband yells back, He says I was speeding!”
As the officer looks at the license, he notices they’re from Ohio and says, “You know, I used to live in Ohio. Worst place ever. I was seeing this woman there, and it was just miserable. She would never shut up, couldn’t cook worth shit, constantly belittled me, and the sex was just awful.”
The old lady once again yells, “What?! What did he say to you?”
The husband yells back, “He said you two used to date!”