This embarrassing true story happened to me at work a few weeks ago. Let me preface by saying that I have somewhat of a hearing difficulty…perhaps when I can afford insurance I’ll see a doctor and diagnose the level to which my hearing has deteriorated thanks to sirens, horns, trains, and midnight fireworks – but that’s a story for another time.
Suffice to say, I have trouble hearing people clearly when they speak. I’m always making them repeat themselves. Just ask Eli. And I’m especially bad at understanding accents. I’m having a hell of a time understanding The IT Crowd on TV right now!
A customer at work approached me and asked me a question that I didn’t hear. So I leaned my ear towards her, and asked her to repeat herself.
“Where are the
mumble mumble please?”
“uh…I’m sorry, could you repeat that?”
“Do you have any
Beat.Now we have a crossroads. I am torn. I can ask them to repeat themselves a FOURTH time, and risk not understanding yet again. I can admit that I have no idea what they’re saying. Or, and guess which one I choose, I can make it someone else’s problem.
“I’m new here, and I’m not so sure. Let me find a manager you can ask.” <– because I’m a terrible person.
I grab the manager, pull them over, and prompt them to restate their question: “Hi, this customer has a question for you…” I hold out the palm of my hand towards them, so they can place their query on it.
“Yeah, hi, I was wondering, where are the toilets?”
DING DING DING! Fourth time was the charm. And PS, I may have been new, but I knew where the toilets were. And my manager knows that I know where the toilets are. Everybody knows where the toilets are.