I have noticed a few articles talking about the popular U.S program ‘What Would You Do?’ (WWYD) where in this particular episode, a waiter is being rude to a deaf customer.
And we ask: “what would you do” if you witnessed this at a restaurant?
So I decided to watch the episode and record myself reacting to watching it the first time so that I can provide unbiased thoughts and opinions about the programme and the scenarios that’s being played out.
Originally, I was going to record myself watching the whole thing and provide some running commentary and reactions of my thoughts along the way.
But after all the hard of recording, editing and uploading the video, YouTube has decided to block it because of copyright issues.
And I was going to embed screenshots onto the video and in this post, but I’d rather not face any legal battles about copyrights so I took them out…after I have already created dozens of screenshots.
Full credit must also go to Rikki Poynter who came up with the idea (you can see her reaction video here) and I decided to do my own version before watching hers.
Reaction wideo to WWYD episode featuring waiter being rude to a deaf customer
You can watch my video below and also scroll down to read my thoughts:
And if you want to watch the entire episode of WWYD, you can do that below:
My opinions on WWYD
If you are not able to read the overlapping captions, or you just want my thoughts to the whole thing, read on.
There are so much ‘craption’
It’s frustrating when the first and main thing I’ve been complaining is not about the actual episode, but more about the terrible job that ABC has done at captioning the video.
Which is ironic, when it features deaf people (though, I’ve argued many times in the past that captions/subtitles are not just for deaf people).
Just 5 second in, the caption appeared too early.
In once where there were 3 different people one after another, it was written out as if it was just one speaker…
There was even a situation where a conversation was happening, and the captions just shows “a”.
Yep, just the letter “a”.
And there were even times where no captions appeared whatsoever during several conversations.
I am led to believe that the community contributes to the captioning, but I find it hard to believe that it was even manually checked.
It almost seemed like the auto-caption was used, it has done the bare minimum required and that was deemed enough.
There were so many examples of spelling mistakes, poor grammar, poor use of spacing and number of lines, poor timing of when it appears, etc.
This made the reading and watching experiences not very enjoyable, and I can only imagine how other people must have felt (I know Rikki gave up very quickly because it was that bad).
Sometimes there are captions, other times there are not
I’ve noticed several times that were several blank spaces when there were conversations happening.
If it wasn’t audible, then the correct thing would be to add something like [Inaudible] or [Overlapping Conversations]…anything to fill in the gaps when the video is playing so that we are aware what’s going on.
But nope, there wasn’t anything like that.
And it’s even more weird that there were open captions (captions which were “burned” onto the video) sporadically throughout the programme.
This didn’t make any sense either; either you do it or don’t do it.
And if you do decide to do it, do it properly.
[Rant over…now onto the programme itself now]
Acting can be over-the-top
I know the waiter is an actor but it was so over-the-top that it was a bit cringey at times.
I wonder whether waiters would act like that if they are having a “frustrating” experience with deaf customers. I know I didn’t when I worked as a waiter in high school.
And I do wonder whether the customers would still have stepped in if the waiter has toned it down a little bit and acted “normal”?
The other thing I want to point are the obvious hand gestures.
When the deaf customer made the “menu” gesture by opening and closing his hand, plus signalling that he is deaf, you don’t have to be a genius to work what he’s saying.
It’s very obvious, so for the waiter to say “I don’t know what you’re saying” is a bit far-fetched.
Also, how often do you see or hear waiters don’t carry a pen with them? 🤷🏽♂️
I guess there had to be some things over-the-top added to programme to create entertainments and provoke reactions.
Some assumptions that deaf people can’t be independent
It’s crazy that one of the customer agreed that deaf people must have someone with them.
It’s crazy, but I shouldn’t be surprised as it’s an assumption that is made often in the world.
Imagine how expensive and difficult would be for a deaf person to have a social life if they have to (assuming that they don’t have friends and families who can sign) hire a professional interpreter and pay for their time and skills?
So using hand gestures, typing out what you want to say on the phone and ordering food by pointing to the menu are all fairly easy ways to overcome communication barriers.
Some of the customers’ reactions were brilliant
[Customer to the waiter]: “I’m a professor of communication skills, and you have none”.
[Waiter whilst walking away]: “I have things to do”. [Customer]: “Oh, boo hoo!”
[Customer to manager]: “You can’t treat another human being like that”
[Customer]: “…because I have a heart.”
Nope, I’m not crying. 😭
Deaf awareness is not just for businesses
The one person that didn’t seemed a bit condescending by agreeing with the waiter and pretty much telling off the customer for not being prepared with a pen and paper.
The level of deaf awareness was clearly not there for that particular customer.
The customers that stood up for the deaf customer did do that well.
But despite their best intentions, they didn’t get everything right.
For example, one customer was facing the sign language interpreter instead of the deaf customer when the customer was signing to her. It is always advised to face the deaf people signing and make eye contacts with them, and not the interpreter.
Another customer possibly could have asked to see if she could help the deaf customers first before jumping in.
They may seem small and it might sound like I’m being picky (bear in mind that we only had a short video clip).
But these are some of the aspects of deaf awareness that are important for me to cover when I speak to anyone.
But that’s like assuming you can automatically help push a person in a wheelchair if they are struggling, but didn’t specifically ask for help.
Despite the obvious barriers, everyone can communicate with deaf people.
I should point out that I did not experience anything like what the programme has demonstrated. I can only assume that this mainly happens to those who are more profoundly deaf than I am.
In my own experience, what I do experience instead are frustrations from the other person (waiter, sales staff, customer service on the phone, etc.) when I told them that I can’t hear what they said.
Some may argue that it’s not as bad as how the waiter has played out or real-life examples how deaf customers are ignored.
I agree with that to an extent. But the point is that it shouldn’t happen, full stop.
I’m curious; if you were one of the customers, what would you do?
Or, if this has happened to you, how did that make you feel?
I’d love to know in in the comment below.
- What is ‘audism’? Plus my personal experiences of facing audism - October 27, 2021
- ‘CODA’ movie review: my thoughts on the latest deaf movie to be released - October 13, 2021
- Deafness as a ‘hidden/invisible disability’ - October 6, 2021
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