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    From Mumble To Stumble To Rumble To Humble

    | USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Health & Body

    (I have an inner ear condition and am hearing impaired but not really to the degree that I need a hearing aid. An older woman approaches my line.)

    Me: “Hello! How are you today?”

    Customer: *mumbles while looking at the floor*

    Me: “Um… I’m sorry. What did you say?”

    Customer: *sighs and looks to the right, still away from me, mumbling again*

    Me: “Ah, okay.”

    (I ring up her items and tell her the total. She holds up three different cards and mumbles again, but I can read her lips to understand, ‘not enough.’)

    Me: “I’m sorry. I didn’t quite catch that. Did you say you want to use all three cards?”

    (She nods and rolls her eyes, then swipes the first card.)

    Me: “All right, and how much did you want on that one?”

    Customer: *mumbles into the card reader*

    Me: “I’m sorry. What did you say?”

    (She mumbles once more, but since this is the third time I asked her to repeat herself and I’m feeling embarrassed, I just let the transaction run through as if she was using one card because I have no idea how much she wanted on there. The card is, of course, declined and she shouts wordlessly.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. Could you swipe it again, please? And I’m sorry, but how much did you say you wanted on that card?”

    (AGAIN she mumbles, with her head bowed so low I can’t even see her lips to try to read them. By that point, I’ve had enough.)

    Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I really need you to speak up, please. I’m hearing impaired and you’re speaking rather softly. I can’t hear you at all.”

    Customer: “You lying b****!”

    Me: *taken aback* “Excuse me?!”

    Customer: “Lying about being deaf is no excuse for your irresponsibility! You’re young! You’re not deaf. If you were, you’d have an earpiece in! You just listen to your music too loud; all you kids do. Keep that up, and you WILL be deaf before long!”

    Me: “Ma’am, I have [inner ear condition]. I have constant, loud ringing in my ears. Several times per day I lose all hearing in one or both of my ears for anywhere between three seconds to three hours. You’re right; I’m most likely going to completely lose my hearing before I’m 40 because there’s no cure or real treatment for it beyond surgery that might not even work. So please, while I still can hear you at all, could you speak up just a little?”

    (The customer stares at me, red-faced and silent, for a few moments. Finally she swipes the card again and then looks at me.)

    Customer: *loudly* “I’d like $10 on this card, please.”