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The Difference Is Deafening

, , , , , | Right | December 3, 2021

I used to work at a place that received packages for non-US residents. Each package generated an individual invoice with its tracking number, date of arrival, etc., and we required each page to be signed by the recipient. Get ten packages, sign ten pages. This way, we knew what had already been handed out and to whom, and it was easier to account for missing items.

Of course, as long-time NAR readers are probably aware, any attempts at explaining this stuff to customers were rendered in their minds as some kind of barnyard noise. There were countless instances of someone only signing the top page and walking away, or worse: trying to leave with the papers. And of course, don’t even get me started on the numerous “regulars” who didn’t want to show ID to prove it was indeed their mail.

One day, we had a customer come in who was completely deaf. I don’t know much ASL, so I just made a rectangle with my fingers. He gave me his ID. Since he was new, I gave him the newcomer’s form and dragged a finger down the lines. He filled it out, no fuss. When I came back with his packages and papers, I pointed to every page. He then signed them all.

To this day, I can’t get over how a deaf man was the best listener out of all those customers!

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