The Sign Tapper - Have You Had This Happen?

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?

I have started using my phone to take a pic of signs/menus before I order (my husband’s idea!). That way I can zoom in as close as I need to. It has helped immensely!


Hi Denise,

Welcome to the community and great idea. I personally use this technique for flagging down the correct bus!

Generally I’ll also usually take a picture on my phone and zoom in. It’s a nice way these days to go about reading signs. I also have a monocular that I can take somewhere if I feel I’ll need to zoom in on things a lot.


Yes many times. These days if I’m feeling brave I ask for help and explain that I can’t read it.

It’s a struggle though…


Definitely, I think you’ve just got to let people know as you said.

Thanks for your thoughts.

I always try to look up a menu online before going there or on my phone in line. Especially if it’s a new lunch place with coworkers. I’ve never had an issue with someone getting annoyed about clarifying a menu but I still feel the anxiety to do “my homework” ahead of time.


Hey Lindsay,

Welcome to our community, it’s great to have you hear with us. I aggree it’s way easier these days just yo use your phone to see the menu.

TAKE A PICTURE WITH MY PHONE!!! You don’t know how you just helped me! I have Nystagmus and I am also hard of hearing. So even when they have said the information I may not have received it! I’m in tears. Thank you for this! I can perhaps have a bit more my environment.
Have a blessed day!

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Thats fantastic, give that a try in the real world, and don’t forget a lot of venues now have online menu’s you can view on the website.

Let us now your results and how you wen’t.