You walk into a cafe or restaurant, you get in line and quickly you run into a problem. You can’t see the menu! - does this sound familiar to you?
Do you wing it and ask for something generic, look for a menu or ask the person serving you about the menu. On this occasion, you choose to ask:
“What is the price of a flat white?” or “How much is a hotdog”
it’s a simple question that many people take for granted.
Immediately after asking this question the person serving looks at you with a slight disgust, rotates their bodies and points at the sign or in my case, grabs the tongs and taps on the sign.
Your heart jumps, you are confronted with mixed emotions, you feel embarrassed but at the same time you are met with anger.
They look back at you with a smug look, and a superiority as they think they are pointing out the obvious but in reality they have missed something critical.
This has happened to me on numerous occasions over the years and has taken me sometime to learn how best to handle this simple interaction. At first I felt anger towards the person serving me, as if they were deliberately trying to be rude.
I would usually respond post incident by responding ‘i’m vision impaired’ but as i’ve matured and embraced my eye condition over the years.
I’ve learnt it’s best to communicate the issue early. Not just to avoid the awkward misunderstanding but so you are informed of prices and have the freedom to explore the menu and not limit yourself.
With mobile ordering and increased presence of online menu’s this has relieved the pressure at some well know restaurants and fast food chains.
When I encounter this issue now, I like to start the interaction openly. I don’t delve deep, but explain what I have to efficiently and in basic language as most of the time these environments are busy. This way I can minimise time explaining and reduce any miscommunication.
“Hi, I can’t see the menu, can you read the price for me?, thanks”.
I find starting the interaction this way saves the embarrassment of having the person tap the sign or look at me as if I am an idiot.
What are your experiences with signage and navigating real world environments such as cafe, bars and restaurants?