Saturday, January 21, 2017

We do not need a witch hunt against those that mock our stuttering!

I am shocked to read that

A Starbucks barista has been suspended from their job after apparently ‘humiliating’ a man with a speech impediment by writing his name as ‘RRR…ichard’ on his order.
I certainly do not want that the person loses his job.

I suggest that that person and the person who got mocked meet and they talk through it.

But I also suggest that we stutterers should learn not to be offended by every little politically incorrect word or action that people who have no clue do. Change yourself and you will be Zen, and most importantly, you will have the strength to give the person useful feedback.

And I suggest that the BSA (British Stammering Association) should not become like an inquisition and change its tone to "many people are unaware of the issues faced by people who stutter but we are against punishing someone but in favour of them meeting up with people who stutter to understand their perspective."


Unknown said...

I fully agree Tom. People who stutter should be trained to problem solve using creativity and humor. He could have returned the empty cup with 'NO T-T-TIPS' written on it. Then, as you rightly suggested, they would talk it through. People who stutter have they should use it!

Ora said...

I sometimes wish that the Blogger software had a "like." Button. Sometimes I have nothing more to say, except I agree.

Tom Weidig said...

@JosephAgius: I like NO T-T-TIPS! :-)

Jack said...

@josephagius how witty of you, I'm sure he would have learned his lesson missing out on a 20p tip (do people even tip in coffee shops?!). Different stammerers will have dealt with this in different ways, I personally would have confronted the guy directly but I don't know Richard or what his persoanlity is like, what I do know is that he was probably dreading having to say his name knowing it was goin gto be difficult to get it out. With friends I role with the punches and give as good as I get, I wouldn't have it from some random service worker however.

I agree the BSA should be educating, not demonising however.

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Anonymous said...

"I suggest that the BSA (British Stammering Association) should not become like an inquisition and change its tone to "many people are unaware of the issues faced by people who stutter but we are against punishing someone"

BSA was approached by a journalist and asked for a quote, commenting on what has happened. BSA deliberately did not refer to the individual staff member involved.

We don't know anything about Starbucks personnel guidelines and how they deal with issues like these - I daresay they have something in there about being friendly and not humiliating customers, but that's up to them. We don't know whether that person was disciplined, sacked, or promoted.

BSA is talking about Starbucks as an organisation, and more generally about the thoughtlessness that makes people's lives harder than they need to be. We have been speaking to Starbucks already, are agreed that (in general) things like that don't happen out of malice, and we're hoping to use this to deliver awareness training for them.

However, this incidence wasn't a basic "Did you forget your name?" thoughtlessness/ignorance about stammering which happens all the time. This is about someone who heard someone stammer, heard someone struggle with their name, and went out of their way to be unkind to that person, setting out to humiliate them in public. Not knowing Richard Procter personally and not having been around when it happened, I'd be wary of offering him advice on how he ought to have responded.

Anonymous said...

@Joseph Agius LOL! Good one!

Anonymous said...

Any employee of a company that is rude or disrespectful to customers of that company should be fired. Not just because it hurts the customers feelings, but because it's stupid from a business standpoint. Successful companies treat customers with respect. If the employee had called a customer an idiot, or cursed at them, they would probably have been suspended or fired for that. Not sure why it should be any different for mocking a stutterer.