ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

"Does he take sugar?"

Updated on July 2, 2011
Good Customer Service.
Good Customer Service. | Source

I am not going to complain

One thing I notice a lot now I am blind is how I am treated in stores and restaurants. It is not my plan to rant on bad experiences, I hope you might see this as a tool in your life to deal with a blind person or maybe any disabled person in the real world.

The title of this article comes from a long running BBC Radio 4 series for the disabled. It reflected the frustration of disabled who when venturing into public often found the people who went with them as care-givers were spoken too and the disabled talked about in the third person, as if physical impairment meant them incapable of any intelligent conversation or decision making.

When out for a meal with my wife, servers will often ask my wife what I will want for dinner. Some will often seem to be impatient when we are not ready to order by the time drinks arrive. If it is a regular haunt of ours it is easy, often I know what I want without my wife reading me the menu. In a new place though we need time for her to go through the things which seem good and then narrow down the list. Often we decide at the same time but sometimes we like different things. She feels it important to let me know all the details of the dish and I appreciate that without a server hovering because the managers service clock is ticking.

Please step back, I am not going to complain about slow service if I am the cause of the delay.


 When alone it is often hard for me to go into restaurants and stores. On one occassion I went into a Starbucks which was unfamiliar to me. Receiving my Venti brewed coffee I asked the barista "Where will I find the milk and sugar?" I was hoping for a brief direction, and was disappointed with how brief, "Over there!" Obviously he must have waved his arm as he answered, So raising my cane a little I said "Sorry. I can't see where over there is." "By the door." He replied obviously tiring of me quickly and wanting to get to the next customer.

Moral of that story is obviously it is a bad impressionwhich sticks in my mind, and as a former manager once told me in Tesco, "Get a customers order right and they'll tell no-one,get it wrong and they will tell everyone they can."

The Manager was wrong. Now the GOOD experience

 One day I was travelling alone and went into a Panera Bread cafe. I needed to go to the bathroom first and asked for directions from the assistant. She happily directed me. On my return she asked if I had an order. I had no white cane at the time, so told her of my poor vision and asked if she could tell me what sandwiches were available. She asked me what meats I preferred and we rapidly narrowed down my choice.

I also asked if she could direct me towards an empty table, she came around the counter and took my arm and took me to a table. Making up my coffee on the way. When my sandwich was ready the table clearer actually brought the sandwich over and asked if I needed anything else.

It was not just that they were attentive to my original requests. They sounded eager to help. They made the sale and I left a happy and refreshed customer.


 Believe it or not, smile when you talk with a blind person. We cannot see your smile but we certainly can hear it. It is not that we have better hearing, we just have to listen a lot harder, without the clutter of visual tags we pick up your voice tones. It is like being on the telephone constantly, unless you are using a system like skype, you instinctively know what the person on the other end of the phone is thinking by the tones of their voice. When they are sad you know, when they are happy you know.


Small things matter

There a some small things which make interactions much better with a blind person.

Talk in a normal voice, with a smile. It is surprising how many people shout in the presence of a blind person. They also talk v e r y , v e r y, s l o w l y. Shouting and talking slowly doesn't make it easy dor me to understand. It soon becomes irritating and makes me feel like a child being reprimanded by a parent.

Signal your presence. If you are quiet, I might not know you are there. You don't need to talk if you don't want to, you can hum, sing or cough. Please don't wave as I have had people do, I can't see.

Another small thing you can do is signal you are leaving. When a person walks out of the room and I don't know, it sort of makes me feel silly if I carry on our conversation only to be told I have been talking to myself for who knows how long.

Just as bad is being seated in a dark restaurant by a person wearing black who runs on ahead through closely packed tables and booths to get me to the back of the restaurant. Often I am left standing not knowing where they have gone and not knowing my way back out. This is especially embarassing for me in a restaurant which is obviously busy.

I hope some of the insights might be of use. Some are just personal stories which have affected my life since becoming blind.

Oh! No he doesn't take sugar, three Splenda please.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)