Should I Be Warned About A Deaf Cashier?

During Jon’s last trip to Target, he noticed something unusual: a sign in his checkout lane advising customers, “Cashier Is Hearing Impaired.” He found the sign unnecessary and potentially embarrassing for the employee. What do you think?

Last weekend a took a trip to our local Target. I noticed that in one checkout lane, a sign was displayed reading “Cashier Is Hearing Impaired”. I question the necessity of such a sign. Isn’t it slightly embarrassing for the employee by calling attention to something that may not be an issue?

Just wondering if this practice is widespread and what other Consumerist readers think.

As an aside, I went through this particular cashier’s line with no problems other than her being slightly hard to understand.

Maybe it is embarrassing. Or it could be that the cashier put the sign up herself, tired of explaining why she speaks differently and as a warning to people about why she doesn’t respond to things customers say when her back is turned.


Edit Your Comment

  1. KyleOrton says:

    I prefer to be told about this only after screaming “HELLO?! ARE YOU DEAF?!”

  2. Sean says:

    I find that I can understand hearing impared people about as much as I can someone with a thick accent. No problem here.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      During Jon’s last trip to Target, he noticed something unusual: a sign in his checkout lane advising customers, “Cashier Is Hearing Impaired.” He found the sign unnecessary and potentially embarrassing for the employee.

      I think Jon needs to mind his own business and move on. For him to become offended on how a business does its business is really quite immature.

      As my LTC once said,,”Stay in your lane folks and let others do their jobs, unless it is your business, it is none of your business.”

      • gotnostyle says:

        “unless it is your business, it is none of your business.” Do you know what blog this is?

  3. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    If the cashier thinks the sign is appropriate, then that’s all that really matters.

    • jeadly says:

      Yeah, I don’t think anyone else needs to factor into it. If the cashier finds transactions easier if people are forewarned, then go for it. If she thinks it’s embarrassing, don’t.

      I would, however, like a sign that says “cashier talks too much and takes forever to ring people up” if that’s the case.

    • stooj says:

      I agree. I can’t stand it when people get offended on behalf of others.

    • mikesanerd says:

      +1. The cashier probably prefers the sign to having to say this to every single customer who tries to talk to her all day long. If she doesn’t like the sign, the store should comply with her wishes and remove it, no questions asked. For all we know, she may have requested they put up the sign. In fact, I’d say the OP is more offensive than the sign for implying she should be embarrassed about her hearing.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      if I was a cashier, and I’m not deaf, I still want a sign. That way I don’t have to listen to people talk.

    • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

      Agreed. When I worked at Micky D’s as a teen and then later at a tire store, I wore a badge that said “I am deaf – please speak clearly” – it was my choice, and it made life MUCH easier when dealing with the public – especially those jerks who would scream “Are you DEAF or something???” at me if I dared ask them to repeat themselves, and then look properly chastised when directed to read my badge. Of course it didn’t help when I’d encounter people who would say to my face “Isn’t it nice how they let retards work here?”…..

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      OMG, the reason for the sign is to give customer’s the perspective that if they say anthing and the cashier ignor’s them for any reason, the customer will understand why and will use appropriate communication to assist.

      Is it really this f’ing difficult to comprehend? Why on earth would the OP be offended? What the hell? Or maybe Jon is five years old?

  4. Snakeophelia says:

    Funny, I went to a new branch of the post office yesterday and encountered this same thing. The sign said, I think, “Associate is hearing impaired.” All of the usual questions about whether boxes contain liquids, perishbles, fragiles and so forth were printed out and displayed with the sign, so you could just point and say no. The postal worker was a little difficult to understand, but he seemed to have no trouble with reading lips. Or with the sign.

  5. bluline says:

    Perhaps the cashier wanted the sign there to avoid confusion. Hearing loss isn’t something that’s visible and having advance notice of it avoids confusion and embarrassment for both parties.

  6. caradrake says:

    If she wanted it up, then I’d be okay with it. If she didn’t want it up / had no say in it, I think it is completely inappropriate.

  7. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Can we get some new name-tags at at Walmart? “This employee does not speak English”.

    • Cat says:

      They could always share them with the employees where I work.

    • Atherton says:

      How about one that says “This employee speaks English, but any attempt to communicate will result in a blank stare”

    • EllenRose says:

      My problem was at Menard’s. There was a stereotype stereotype woman who barely spoke English. I’m deaf enough it was even worse. But when I mentioned this at the comment desk, they said “The law says we have to.”

      Furf. I guess deaf customers don’t count.

    • alexwade says:

      What we really need is a sign that says “Associate a first-class douche.”

    • Jawaka says:

      It completely appropriate since practically none of the products that they sell are made in America.

  8. JennQPublic says:

    Otherwise customers who speak to her when she is not facing them may feel she is rudely ignoring them. The sign probably makes her day go much smoother.

    • markvii says:


    • kobresia says:

      Precisely. It’s not offensive at all, it’s just an attempt to head-off a potential misunderstanding.

      I would also like to know if a cashier suffered from Tourette’s (or just a potty mouth), then I could dismiss the barrage of profanity as nothing personal. Also, I would probably prefer such a cashier, since I find aescrologia to be Sofa King funny.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Most signs of tourettes are not in any way related to profanity. Tics, spontaneous noises, maybe, but profanity is really more of a stereotype than something everyone with tourettes would have.

    • HotAirConsumer says:

      I have severe hearing loss. Without my hearing aids I hear almost nothing. With them I still can’t hear the higher frequency sounds such as a beeping alarm and whistling. I can hear lower sounds but everything is amplified. Since I am missing some of the sounds I find myself always filling in the blanks of what I can’t hear.

      If it was me I would prefer the sign. At times people ask me things and I wasn’t aware they were talking to me. They think I am ignoring them but am not. Other times I think they might have said something so I look at them which in turn makes them think I am staring. It’s awkward before someone knows I am hard of hearing

      Since I lost my hearing at the age of 3 I can speak very clearly. That makes people never think I am deaf in the first place.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        I worked for a time with a hearing-impaired lady. Apparently higher-pitched sounds were amplified in her hearing aids, because she nicely asked us not to whistle around her. I was happy to oblige. I only wished she would have claimed the sappy radio they played all day bothered her as well, so they would have turned it off.

      • HeatherLynn30 says:

        I’m hearing impaired, too, though not as severely as it sounds like you are. If I were this cashier, I’d want people to know, too. So many people in my life have assumed I’m ignoring them and/or being rude and it’s just not obvious that I can’t hear very well. It’s not like she can explain this to every customer, either. If she likes the sign, then she can have it.

  9. sparc says:

    It seems weird and impolite, but probably still the right thing to avoid any misunderstandings during a customer service transaction.

    The difference here is that this person isn’t working in some sort of cubicle. They are working in an environment that requires them to regularly interact/communicate very well with a customer.

  10. catskyfire says:

    There’s a hearing impaired cashier at my Target. I like him. Less annoying small talk (the sort that cashiers are usually required to do…)

    • sagodjur says:

      I’ve been hesitant to embrace my asocial nature in public, but going shopping really makes me want to wear a t-shirt that says something to the effect of, “no, I don’t need help and I don’t want a store credit card and my day is fine and yes, I did find everything I was looking for and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t tell you because you don’t have it behind your counter and I’m not leaving the checkout line to go track it down if I couldn’t find it the first time.”

      Then again, it would take up too much space to answer all their questions. I recall not getting chitchat in checkout lines in Jersey, but I’d hate to live there just for the lack of “friendly” customer service.

      • elangomatt says:

        You forgot to put “No I would NOT like an extended warranty” on your shirt

        • sagodjur says:

          I once asked a Best Buy cashier if I could get an extended warranty on a gift card. They looked at me funny for about 10 seconds before they understood that I was joking.

      • bubbledumpster says:

        if you make that shirt, put me down for one.

    • makoto says:

      I prefer not to have small talk with my customers because then I usually get offended with the way they treat me like I don’t deserve to be speaking–and then, there is the other type that get pissed because I’m not responding to their retarded comments about something completely irrelevant to anything, ever.

  11. Gertie says:

    I shop at a Target where an employee is hearing impaired. Her name tag says “Hearing Impaired” right on it. I think it’s helpful to her and to customers—she isn’t perceived as being rude if she doesn’t hear a greeting or reply to a question. The customer can adjust how he/she communicates with her, if needed.

    Why must everything be a hand-wringing, worrisome thing?

  12. cheviot says:

    it’s not a warning, its informational. I wouldn’t be surprised if the cashier requested it.

  13. Tim says:

    Either it makes it easier for her, since she doesn’t have to explain why she’s a little hard to understand and may not notice if you’re talking to her when she isn’t facing you; or it just causes everybody to yell at her slowly.

  14. KyBash says:

    The last time I dealt with a Target employee, I knew they were deaf — no matter how many times I said it, they couldn’t hear the word “No!” while they were trying to upsell.

  15. Cat says:

    I have no problem with this, as it makes both the employee’s and customer’s lives easier.

    In fact, I’d like to see stores have more helpful signs or nametags like this:

    “Doesn’t give a fuck”
    “Dumb as a box of rocks”

    • Blueskylaw says:

      You forgot bosses son, which encompasses all four “qualities” that you mentioned.

    • partofme says:

      We need to make the world more like the tv broadcast of the NFL draft… whenever they show a player on screen, they also have a “needs improvement” list pop up.

    • homehome says:

      I would rock the doesn’t give an “F” tag or the “yelling at me is not going to get you want you want” tag

      I wish stores had an employee that would give a customer realness. my brother said a guy should walk around the store just telling customer bluntly how it is. Rock the name tag “real n****” and just give customer straightforward, no filler. First of all that would just be hilarious, but I don’t think any company has the balls to do it.

    • MECmouse says:

      You just made my day! LOL

    • Mit Long says:

      I love it. If you’re feeling chatty, go in the “likes to talk” lane. “The doesn’t give a schlitz” line may have a shorter line, and you know in advance to expect honey badger like behavior.

  16. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    I question the necessity of such a sign. Isn’t it slightly embarrassing for the employee by calling attention to something that may not be an issue?

    OP, why do you care one way or the other? Everyone is a self-proclaimed PC Justice League member these days.

    • dolemite says:

      “Are you embarrassed? Do you need help tackling the injustice of “The Man” putting labels on you? Don’t worry, I’m going to go fight with your manager on your behalf!” /rushes off as the cashier waves frantically not to do that.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

        Excuse me manager, I speak ASL. That frantically waving arms mean that they are offended by your sign!

  17. cabalist says:

    Yeah, I would take it in a, “I’m tired of explaining to people that I am hard of hearing (or can’t hear at all), that I can’t respond to things they say when their backs are turned, that I can’t respond to things they say when MY back is turned, and why my speech may not be as clear as theirs,” kinda way.

    If Target is ‘warning’ shoppers for some other reason then it may be an issue…

    But the cashier is probably just tired of explaining “it all” for the Nth time–today.

  18. kelcema says:

    I worked with a lady at Trader Joe’s who is deaf– and she had a sign on her shirt, “I’m not ignoring you, I’m deaf.” Only about 3’4″ wide, so it wasn’t super huge and flashy, but it sure helped her and set the expectations for her customers. She was a pro at reading lips, though, as well as sign language, the latter being useful when other hearing-impaired customers would shop. She was sought out as a translator on occasion!

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Only about 3’4″ wide

      …how wide was her shirt?!

    • pixiegirl says:

      Where I work we used to have a deaf cashier. She wore a small pin on her badge that shows she signs. All our regular customers loved her, her line would always be longer than the other lines because everyone wanted her to check them out. She was also sought after plenty of times to help deaf customers find stuff. We would always get tons of complements in our suggestion box about her. I recall one time a lady was checking out with her deaf autistic son, which our cashier had a conversation with. He was 11 years old and this was the first time he had a conversation withsome who wasn’t a family member, she broke down in tears. Not only did she leave a complement in the suggestion box but so did everyone else in line who witnessed this, I swear their must have been at least 20 compliments for her that day about this. Their wasn’t a dry eye on the whole front end.

  19. parsonsdj1 says:

    I don’t think it is in any way inappropriate. It’s necessary (and easy) to modify the way we communicate to talk to people who are hearing impaired (make sure lips are visible, more clearly enunciate, etc.). I don’t understand why this would bother anyone, especially on someone else’s behalf. What are we doing wrong as a society that we have to be so hypersensitive about differences?

  20. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I think it’s a good idea, especially if the poor soul has to deal with people like my husband. He mumbles and looks around when he talks, and I can imagine what a nightmare it would be for someone who reads lips to have to deal with him. Then he’d get annoyed with the cashier and complain they didn’t know what he wanted.

  21. Gladeye says:

    Why not let the cashier decide if it’s uncomfortable? You don’t have to feel embarrassed on their behalf. I just see it as a head’s up, so you’ll know not to try to talk to them when they aren’t facing you. That’s just being practical and considerate, not offensive. If I was a cahier, I’d prefer my customers undertand that than think “That rude, distracted cashier ignored half of what I said. From the way he talks he must be mentally impaired, as well.”

  22. HRGirl wants a cookie says:

    Why is it a “warning” sign? I suspect it may be helpful to both the employee and the customers. If I were a deaf or hard of hearing shopper, i’d be so pleased to know that a) Target hires people with disabilities and b) there’s an associate who may read lips or can communicate with sign language. As an employer, I would not have suggested the sign, but invited the employee to give suggestions on what may be effective to help manage customer expectations. If the sign was his or her idea, I think it’s great.

    Full disclosure: I’m an ADA Coordinator. We are going to see more things like this as the US Department of Labor enforces greater obligations to hire people with per se disabilities.

    • dulcinea47 says:

      Agreed, that seems like a helpful informational sign, not a WARNING sign.

    • zippy says:

      I’m also amused that the OP thinks that customers knowing the cashier is hearing impaired should be something embarrassing. I have a mild hearing impairment myself, and I’m not at all embarrassed by people knowing it. It’s not usually a problem, but if I worked in an environment where it was, I’d think it would be a good thing that people knew.

  23. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i think it’s probably a protection for the employee. trying to see it from the employee’s point of view, it might be embarassing but probably less obnoxious than situations like this

  24. comedian says:


    The real news is the “Muslem cashier on duty — Please do not buy pork or alcohol products in this line.”

    (And yes, the sign came down when the corporate office found out about it, but still.)

    • ganon446 says:

      This is the consumerist that is always okay but a line about the deaf is not because Muslims come first in our leftist belief system accept all their rules but as long as they are anti U.S they are a o k and give christians problems

  25. orithea says:

    As someone who is hearing impaired, I would have no problem with this sign. It’s far preferable to having a customer get impatient with you and having to explain verbally every time that happens. I used to work in a customer oriented job and occasionally got comments about my “rudeness” for staring (I read lips) or ignoring someone (couldn’t hear them behind me).

  26. davids says:

    I am hearing impaired. I have to explain endlessly to people who walk up to my cubicle that I am not ignoring them, I just can’t hear out my left ear. Sometimes it’s a VIP who gets pissed very easily that “I am ignoring them” when I did not hear them walk up.

    After learning I am hearing impaired, everyone is very nice about it, even the pissed off VIP’s. But I have to repeat myself all the time.

    I would guess the cashier put up the sign to smooth out the trasactions rather than deal with it constantly.

  27. redskull says:

    When I was a cashier in a grocery store I would have loved a sign that read, “Cashier is not in the mood for customer bullish*t.”

  28. dolemite says:

    This reminds me of this Robot Chicken sketch:

  29. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:


    I’d love to avoid that kind of stuff, if it was me.

  30. Lyn Torden says:

    I’d be more worried about a sign that said “Cashier cannot count”.

  31. Worstdaysinceyesterday says:

    That reminds me of when I moved from WI to CA. I would be asked all the questions you listed in every dept of every grocery store…who asks you stuff like that in a grocery store??? Nobody in Wi that is for sure. The over-friendly nature just reinforced my CA stereotype that everyone is growing their own and too mellow and happy.

    Dam happy cows too! The best dairy comes from sensible, practical, and productive cows from the Midwest.

  32. Coffee says:

    I have 80% hearing loss in my left ear, but I’m generally highly functional. There have been times where a person is a mumbler or covers their mouth, or logistics are such that it’s impossible to hear clearly, at which point, I have to explain my problem to people, lest they get frustrated by my seeming lack of attention.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that in a customer service situation, it would be nice for people to know that up front. Knowing I’m hearing-impaired, they might speak louder and more clearly, making my job easier and saving them potential frustration when it appears that I’m ignoring them.

    • nishioka says:

      Almost the same situation as you – near-total loss in my right ear. I miss things coming from that direction if I’m not paying attention. Lipreading is a subconscious thing that I’m not terribly good at but it helps add “context” to a sound I didn’t quite catch. (Actually had a little bit of an issue understanding folks sometimes in Japan with so many people wearing facemasks!)

      Getting in front of the problem helps immensely. Have to train some folks to leave me space to their right when we walk down a street, hall, etc. together so I can put them where I can hear them talk to me, but in general most folks know how to get my attention. Otherwise, I do just fine.

      Worst thing that ever happened was a supervisor at a job tried to make hand gestures at me instead of actually talk to me, like putting his hand to his mouth to tell me to take a lunch break. Had to have a chat with him after that. ;)

      If I were deaf on the other side too, I’d definitely want a sign up letting everyone know. It’s nobody’s fault I’m deaf, let’s just acknowledge it and work around it as best we can.

      • Coffee says:

        The walking thing is so funny…I always walk on the left, and that occasionally gets comical if someone is on my left and I try to slow down to get on the other side, but they slow down too. At that point, the jig is up, and I have to explain myself, which usually surprises them ;)

  33. MerlynNY says:

    I can see both sides. The sign might be appropriate if the cashier is looking in another direction, and a costumer is trying to speak to him/her. Unless you know the cashier is deaf, one might think the lack of response rude or react hostile to the deaf cashier once they turn back.

  34. jariten says:

    At the Home Depot here there’s an employee (not cashier) who wears a vest that says something on the order of ‘Hi, I’m hearing impaired, please tap me on the shoulder if you need any assistance’. I think it works out well, I’ve asked him for help a couple times and he’s never been anything but helpful.

    I think it’s a lot better than the alternative of: ‘people thinking that they’re being ignored by the associate and complaining to managment (or worse, being confrontational with the employee), or the helpful employee being ‘let go’ conviniently because managment got sick of fielding complaints.

  35. Hoss says:

    The sign seems to be intended such that if the employee is looking away, the sign explains why you didn’t get two fives instead of a ten. It’s a customer service issue, I don’t see a reason for anyone to the embarrassed for an impairment,

  36. d0x360 says:

    I can from.having been employed by target in the past the sign is not standard operating procedure. The cashier probably requested it. Honestly I think its a good idea. It keeps customer frustration down and you beforehand that you might need to raise your voice.

  37. beakiebean says:

    I think the sign is great. It just gives me a heads up to be more attentive and not be blabbing along mindlessly with my face turned away from the cashier. Generally when I check out I’m dealing with my kid, unloading groceries, rummaging in my purse, having a last minute existential crisis about what new and exciting gum I might want to purchase, or I’m silently repeating in my head “Gift receipt, gift receipt, don’t forget to ask for a gift receipt.” In short I’m not always at my attentive best.

    The sign wouldn’t cause me to treat the cashier any differently it would just clue me in to pull my distracted head out of my butt and bring a little more attention to the transaction.

  38. reybo says:


  39. PineTree says:

    This poll is too simplistic. The answer is, it depends. It depends on the cashier’s level of hearing, it depends on if the cashier is a member of the Deaf community (as in, ASL is her primary language), it depends on what the cashier wants.

    As someone who is hard of hearing (adult onset hearing loss), there have been many days when I wished my hearing aids came in neon colors with flashing lights and a warning sign saying “speak up”, but there are also days when I’m happy to fake it and nod along. If the cashier agrees, I think its fine to warn the community that chit chat will be limited in that line. That said, I would have phrased it differently.

  40. BongoBilly says:

    Based on my experience at Target, I am generally the only customer who does not engage my cashier in lengthy discussions. Also, based on my experiences as a Target customer in Chicago, the sign should probably be in Spanish too.

  41. xamarshahx says:

    I prefer to be told, the person at my local post office keeps a sign up herself. It directs you to speak slowly and look at her so she can read your lips. Just makes it easier on everyone rather then her having to tell each person the same thing. Also, why is it embarrassing? The cashier has nothing to be ashamed of.

  42. maxamus2 says:

    I’d prefer a sign warning me “cashier is a nasty SOB” or something like that, so I can go to another line.

  43. suez says:

    While I’m not deaf, I worked with someone for 9 years who is. While I had no problem understanding her most of the time, I regularly saw people come to our department who did struggle and I would have to step in. I think that a case like this, when you are handling countless customers on a daily basis, with no spare time to get them used to parsing out the words, etc., it makes sense. There are way too many idiots out there who either can’t figure out why this person speaks strangely, or they make fun of the person. A sign like that could possibly help to alieviate some of that awkwardness and worse.

  44. maxamus2 says:

    On a side note, if you ever get pulled over by a cop or questioned on the street, pretend to be hearing impaired, good chance they will let you go.

    And if it ever gets pressed to court and they question your hearing impaired, tell them that day you experienced some huge noise that gave you temporary impairment but that now you are fine and thanks for asking.

    An even better one is to talk with a stutter, that usually has them running for the hills.

  45. dangergirljones says:

    The flaw in the OPs thinking is that having others know your deaf would be embarrassing.

    • nishioka says:

      Very good point… the thing about hearing loss is that it isn’t easy to spot just by looking at somebody. Can’t say that about people who have vision trouble for example, because they’re the ones wearing coke bottle glasses. So if you’re deaf, or even partially deaf, you already have a lifetime of experience of training people on how to handle you, or at a minimum alerting them to the fact that you can’t hear them. There’s no room for being embarrassed about it.

    • HRGirl wants a cookie says:

      Agreed! The whole tone of this post is off; the OP (and the author?) are so used to people being abilitynormative that someone different would be “embarrassed” and customers need to be “warned”.
      I don’t know what the cashier’s situation is, but people who consider themselves capital-d Deaf are referring to a culture, not a physical ability. They’re usually very proud of having a unique language, community gatherings, et al. much the same as people are proud of their ethnic culture.

      Good Reads:

  46. Martha Gail says:

    I’m willing to bet the cashier is the one who wanted to put it up. I bet she’s tired of people being angry with her for not hearing.

  47. Lefty McRighty says:

    True (unfortunate) story:

    I was having a bad day, and the girl at the coffee shop wasn’t understanding my order, kept asking to repeat myself. The 4th time around I raised my voice to a level that was way too loud. It was pretty clear that I’d lost my patience with her. She rang up my order and looked over her shoulder, and that’s when I saw the hearing aid.

    I’ve never felt like a bigger asshole in my life. Not even the time I yelled at the car wash guy.

  48. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    I’m guessing it’s to the benefit of both cashier and customer…a little advance notice and probably everything goes more smoothly.

    As others have noted, if the cashier thought it was embarrassing, then get rid of it – I’d guess it’s probably viewed as helpful though.

  49. RandomHookup says:

    Considering 72.5% of retail employees never say anything to me anyway and just shrug toward the digital readout of what I owe, it wouldn’t make much difference.

  50. UNCGSpartan says:

    I have lost most of my hearing within the last 4 years. Even though I have a Baha now (a type of skull implant that allows me to hear on one side via bone conduction), my ability to communicate is still limited.

    Of all the things I’ve lost since I lost my hearing (my career, being able to hear my husband whisper in my ear, being able to swim), losing my dignity based on the way some people have treated me is by far the worst. I’m articulate and I would consider myself reasonably intelligent. Yet, when I cannot understand someone, I’ve been treated with contempt, sighing, eye rolls, and condescending tones. I wish I could wear a T-shirt everyday that says that I have hearing loss.

    I’m sure this probably makes the cashier’s life a little easier. I know it would make mine easier!

  51. Jules Noctambule says:

    I’d like a sign for that some days. I hear well in one ear; not so much in the other. When there’s a lot of ambient noise it can affect the good ear to the point where I can’t understand a thing. Fortunately I don’t work retail anymore, but maybe it would remind my husband not to stand to my right, mutter a question and expect me to know he’s talking to me.

  52. gman863 says:

    Chevy: “Repeating the top story for our hearing impaired viewers, Target has posted a sign warning customers of a deaf cashier.

    Garrett: “OUR TOP STORY TONIGHT….”

  53. icerabbit says:

    This is making a big deal about nothing.

    If the employee accepts it or may have even asked for it; why should a customer be offended??? This is not some evil plot discriminating, stigmatizing, whatever against people with severe hearing impairments. It is a visual alert to something that is different.

    I think it more than likely makes the employee’s day a lot easier than having to explain every few minutes that he/she is hearing impaired or deaf. Speed up the checkout process. Avoids embarrassing situations for the customer. Etc.

    As a customer we’re not accustomed to a deaf person in a retail situation.

    We recognize severely visually impaired and blind people pretty easily as they tend to have a guide dog and wear some type of dark or matte glasses. We recognize people that have mobility issues because they are in a wheel chair. The same doesn’t go for deaf people. Unless they use sign language, there is no visual clue that they are deaf.

    I say two thumbs up for the employee and Target.
    One down for the person complaining about it.

  54. pythonspam says:

    How about if each cashier posted a sign saying which languages they speak (like at our international farmers market).

    What is there was a speech/hearing impaired customer who preferred a cashier who understood ASL?

  55. TsuKata says:

    So long as the cashiers have the option to display the sign/tag or not, I’m totally cool with this. A cashier at my local target is hearing impaired and has the sign on her lane. I totally appreciate knowing. Most of all, it gives me the heads up to make sure I have eye contact before speaking and to speak clearly for lip reading purposes. She’s one of the best cashiers at my Target, too. I also imagine that if I were hearing impaired, I’d prefer to check out with someone who understands the impairment and might know ASL or at least be versed in how to deal with it, so I’d probably rather go to that lane.

    If they had cashiers who spoke Spanish, I think that’d be a good sign to hang up, too.

  56. kc-guy says:

    Of course living in Utah, a cashier who could best communicate in ASL wouldn’t prevent conversation at all. I can think of several all ASL or combined congregations in the immediate area. Then again with all the returned missionaries, there’s a solid group that speaks Spanish, (Brazilian) Portuguese, and even Quechua. I once worked in a call center where the guy sitting next to me suddenly switched into Polish. So much for getting rid of that telemarketer.

  57. Plasmafox says:

    the best way to help people get along with things like deafness floating around is to expunge ignorance. This sign seems to do a pretty good job of that. And Jon is missing a particularly vital possibility- that the employee hung the sign themselves.

  58. Not Given says:

    It sounds like a reasonable accomodation and the cashier probably suggested it herself.

  59. xanadustc says:

    I think it is appropriate because a level of communication is required for a checkout (if it is not a self-checkout). If there is a problem, I have no problem with the person working in a capacity that doe snot interact with customers.

    Enter my local McDonalds problem: We have about 10% of our community is hispanic. For some reason, they keep on hiring people that ONLY speak spanish. I do not speak spanish, so if I attempt to communicate, such as simple like, ‘please repeat my order back to me’ and they can not understand, it is a serious barrier to doing business. I talk to the manager and request that people up front need to at least speak english, if not both languages, and that they had other people that could speak english in the back making burgers…simple solution: put those that can not speak with 90% of your customers in a position that does not interact directly with the customer.

    Same situation here…if they are up front, yes, the customer should be informed, otherwise they may have a bad experience shopping without a reasonable expectation of why.

  60. ben_marko says:

    How about we let the cashier decide rather than engage in a mundane and (seemingly) endless debate?

  61. Megladon says:

    My wife has been a cashier for 7 years now and has 2 signs located near her register. She made them herself, the company she works for has not said anything about the sign. She put the signs up because no one saw the first sign, so she needed a 2nd one, and she put up the first one because people would always try to say something to her when she was ringing them up and not looking at them and they thought she was ignoring them. Most likely this is for the employees benifit, not the shoppers.

  62. alexmmr says:

    I would bet that a ton of complaints about the store stopped as soon as the sign went up. My husband works retail and they are constantly bombarded with the message that they need to improve the feedback that’s on those surveys you find on the receipts. They probably got a lot of messages that the cashier was rude or ignored the customers questions. I’ll bet those complaints practically came to a halt once customers became informed that the cashier is hearing impaired and not rude.

  63. The_IT_Crone says:

    They do that so that the cashier doesn’t get treated like crap by customers who think the cashier is rude or not listening to them.

    I approve, as long as the employee is cool with it.

  64. louiedog says:

    I think it’s up to the cashier.

    I was at a Safeway and asked a woman stocking shelves if they carried an item. She said she didn’t know. I thanked her and started walking toward another employee at the other end of the aisle and she shouted, “Oh, he won’t be able to help you.” I thought it was odd, but tried anyway. He was deaf, so I signed my question, he replied, and I got what I was looking for.

    Even if I hadn’t known sign language I could have typed the question on my phone if he wasn’t able to understand me. He knew where the item was. I don’t know why she assumed he couldn’t be helpful because he was deaf.

  65. xredgambit says:

    I am appalled by this, maybe if they put she only speaks mexican then it would help her out. That way everyone would speak slower and louder to the correct person. ( /s for you nimrods who get offended for other people)

  66. somegraphx says:

    I’d submit to the cashier’s request but I’d like knowing the cashier was hearing impaired. I’d make more of an effort to look at her/him when I spoke and wouldn’t be offended if he/she didn’t answer my questions.

    I can just hear someone complaining, “Target has rude cashiers! I asked him if I gave him enough cash and he said my ASS was just right!”

  67. karlmarx says:

    It should be up to the cashier.. Maybe a little less blunt. But there should be some sort of notice so the customer knows that the cashier isn’t being rude

  68. doctor.mike says:

    I spend a lot of time in Baguio, Philippines. In the one big mall there, there is a sign in one of the men’s comfort room (rest room) doors stating that the attendant is deaf (or similar wording). As there is rarely any need to converse with a toilet cleaning attendant, I assumed that the management of the cleaning company was proudly announcing that they give work opportunity to handicapped people. Anyone who knows the Philippines, hey Cat, knows that jobs are extremely scarce even for “normal” people. There are very few nondiscrimination laws there, so this is reason to boast that they hire deaf people.

    In the Target example, there is usually reason for some verbal communication, so I think the sign is appropriate. Maybe some customers will realize that shouting at the cashier won’t accomplish anything.

  69. SiddhimaAmythaon says:

    As silly as it sounds it would make me aware i need to look at her/him when i talk. save some misunderstanding later

  70. TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

    Deaf people skilled and smart. Most can easily read lips and it’s not that big of deal. Not having the sign and treating them as a normal person is the best thing to be done.

  71. adorita says:

    It is usually not embarrassing at all for the person with disability. In this case, the cashier can benefit greatly from the sign.
    Many customers enjoy chatting up cashiers as a nice gesture. Or they might want to ask them about something. There could be misunderstandings when the cashier isn’t able to response. And I could imagine that since he or she is deaf, the beeping noise for the scanner is useless. He or she needs to focus on the screen for correct scanning. The lack of eye contact might appear rude if you didn’t know about the disability.

  72. TimG says:

    I am hard of hearing and realize that the sign helps the employee.

  73. Selunesmom says:

    I’ve no problem with this. Heck, I’ve put up signs myself on my register with the notice that: Cashier has laryngitis and cannot speak loudly or at all. As a customer, having the foreknowledge that I need to speak clearly and make sure that the cashier can see me talking is a nice idea.

  74. impatientgirl says:

    I think it should be up to the person. If it were me, I’d probably want the sign so idiot people wouldnt yell at me.

  75. DrBoomerNg says:

    This could also potentially provide information for hearing impaired customers. For instance, those who utilize sign language may find it easier to communicate with a cashier who does as well.

  76. nikalseyn says:

    I would much rather have a “hearing impaired” cashier than a deaf one. Or, a deaf and dumb one. All things considered, tho I really prefer a cashier who can understand what I am saying.

  77. soj4life says:

    It makes sense because there are going to be those that will start to yell at the cashier for not greeting them or hearing what they are asking while they are scanning and bagging.

  78. Syntania says:

    I actually put “I am hard of hearing” on my name tag. I got tired of asking people to repeat themselves over and over. Apparently, some people think that when you say “what?”, it means repeat what you said in the exact same volume and tone. I have found that since I put that on my nametag, I have to do that much less often, and it is less frustrating for me and my customers (at least until I can get my hearing aids).

  79. magnetic says:

    Maybe it’s less of a warning than a courtesy to customers who are also hearing-impaired.

  80. adent1066 says:

    I was at a Hyatt hotel a few weeks ago, and I noticed a sign by the elevators that stated that the hotel hired some staff from a nearby school for the deaf. It also stated that some could only communicate using sign language.