ON HAND: Letters and freebies

This originally in The Tactile Mind Weekly in Trudy’s ON HAND column.

I’ve gotten a free round-trip ticket, six coupons for free meals at Wendy’s, and a $20 gift certificate for Old Navy, simply because I wrote letters.

Oftentimes an ignorant worker does something stupid because he doesn’t know how to deal with a deaf person or just doesn’t care. Every deaf person has encountered this. A perfect example: when I called Vanguard Airlines via relay to make three reservations a few years ago, the customer representative said (I kid you not), “Oh my God. This is going to take forever. Why don’t these stupid people just have their damn relatives call for them or something?”

I do what any consumer should do when s/he doesn’t get satisfactory service: I write a letter of concern (not complaint) to the company. In response to my e-mail, Vanguard sent me a free ticket, two drink coupons, and informed me that because my particular call had been monitored, the representative was fired on the spot.

I don’t always do this for every incident; that’d be time-consuming and frivolous. But imagine if we all wrote letters to companies that weren’t so deaf-friendly–and asked, politely but pointedly, for better service. Think we’d make a difference?

Perhaps. But the freebies aren’t so bad.

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