Tonight, February 13, 2015, I went into a local Victoria’s Secret. I was having a bad day, and since it’s the day before Valentines Day, I decided to treat myself to something nice. I shopped my sorrows away, and I felt better as I approached the register, waiting to check out.
I noticed that a friend of mine was working at the register next to the one I was checking out at. She told me to open an Angels Card, which a Victoria’s Secret credit card. I agreed to, and after filling out all of my information, the cashier who was waiting on me called headquarters to confirm the information.
The woman from headquarters told the cashier I already had a card, and she needed to speak with me on the phone. Now I’ve been wearing hearing aids for nearly my entire life, and my hearing decreases yearly. Speaking on the phone is something I cannot do, since I depend on reading lips to communicate for the most part. I explained to the cashier that I don’t hear well on the phone, and asked if my roommate, who was with me, could speak to the woman for me. She said that was fine.
My roommate took the phone and spoke to the woman. She asked me for my birthday, which I told her, and she repeated into the phone. At that time, I heard her tell the woman on the phone that she is my roommate and that I don’t hear well on the phone. She repeated this about three more times before handing the phone back to the cashier in frustration.
The cashier then tried to explain to the woman on the phone that the volume on the phone is too low and I couldn’t hear on the phone. At that point, the cashier that I am friends with took the phone and said to the woman that I am hearing impaired and I cannot hear on the phone. At that point, the woman transferred the line to someone else, but at that point, I was so embarrassed and frustrated that I told her to forget it.
I’ve never had a company have such an issue with someone else speaking on the phone for me due to my hearing disability. Three different people made it clear that I am incapable of hearing of the phone. The woman on the phone claimed she could not help if I didn’t speak with her on the phone.
Now, I don’t know about you, but that sounds a little bit like discrimination against someone that she was notified has a hearing disability. I’m not blaming her for what happened, but it makes me wonder if Victoria’s Secret believes that women with disabilities don’t shop in their store? I mean, I can’t be the only woman who’s walked through their doors who can’t hear very well.
What infuriates me is the fact that the woman on the phone didn’t seem to believe the fact that I have a disability, despite three different people telling her the situation. I am not only enraged by the way she handled this situation, but it made me feel like I’m not worthy enough to shop in a store like that. If the employees who work in their headquarters won’t accommodate me for a simple phone call, it makes me believe that they don’t care about women who do have disabilities.
I’m not saying that I’m never going to shop there again, because I like their products, and this is the only negative experience I’ve ever had there. I do believe I am entitled to an apology though, because no one should ever be discriminated against like that.
I’m not writing this to make the company look bad or to give them bad press; I am writing to share my story with others and let people know that even in 2015, people with disabilities are still treated unfairly every single day. I know I’m not the only one who’s been treated this way because of my disability. I’m writing this to stand up for anyone else who’s been in my position. We don’t deserve to be treated like this. It’s not our fault that part of society refused to accept us for who we are.
It’s 2015. Things need to change. This doesn’t just apply to Victoria’s Secret, but it applies to everyone who still believes those with disabilities should be treated less than equal. As a nearly 20-year-old college student, who is a productive member in society despite her disability, I demand respect.