Saturday, January 26, 2008

Karen, the amazon woman!

Discriminatory practices still exist today. Read the following to see how difficult it was for one woman to order a milkshake from Steak 'n Shake restaurant in Chicago.

Karen Putz, who is deaf, drove past the drive thru speaker and went straight to the window to order two milkshakes as she has done several times before. She says the general manager who waited on her did not accommodate her disability.

"His response was, 'Could you please drive around again? Place your order'? And I was like, 'I can't do that. And I can't hear. I can't use the speaker back there,'" Putz said.

She said she and the general manager had a lengthy exchange at the window. She said the manager threatened to call the police on her if she didn't leave, and then he denied her service.

"He's like, 'That's it. I'm done with you.' And then he shut the window," Putz said.
Read Karen's blog here and the news coverage here and here and view the video, its gets better!

Talk about falling on deaf ears, what a wanker! You would think the Manager would have the common sense to correlate that being deaf and using a speakerphone doesn't work well because it requires, um well some HEARING! Where were his brains, in his... let me stop. If that was me, it wouldn't have been pretty. The inner Jersey in me would have quickly emerged, parked my car, flipped my phone to camcorder, marched right in, and begged him to call the police. That might or might not be the best way to handle that but Karen used her head. She went right to the media and told them about her experience with being denied service because she could not hear. This is a big issue today with deaf people and the lack of accommodations in the USA. I for one, applaud Karen for the courage and tenacity not to just sweep this under the rug but to exploit the fact that discrimination like this still happens today even with the Americans with Disabilities Act in effect, kind of.



I'm appalled at some of the comments on Karen's blog such as

Anonymous: .... However, I'm concerned about how you executed the complaint. "PMSing" is nothing but an excuse in light of filing a formal complaint. Your message has to be relentless in sticking to the discrimination bit.

Trailer park types are interested in drama. PMSing is reserved for the Jerry Springer audience.
Anonymous: ... wow, you could quite possibly be one of the DUMBEST people on the planet - I eat at that steak and shake, am hard of hearing and found the general manager to be highly helpful, maybe if you weren't trying to stand on a political soapbox, you would see that, don't let your disability define you.
Anonymous: ... I'm sorry you're deaf, but if you cannot use the speaker, get out of your car and go inside. No this does not excuse the employees treatment of you, but come on - you know you cannot order at the speaker - GO INSIDE!!

Tsk, tsk, tsk...

This is my comment to those flamers that I left on Karen's blog..

Holy cow! I am appalled by these ridiculous comments. Obviously they are not familiar with the law, allow me to share with you what the ADA CLEARLY states. Feast yours eyes on this Mr. Anonymous and I have even included a link for your reading pleasure right here

Sec. 12182. Prohibition of discrimination by public accommodations

(a) General rule
No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, of accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.


(2) Specific prohibitions
(A) Discrimination
(ii) a failure to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, when such modifications are necessary to afford such goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with disabilities, unless the entity can demonstrate that making such modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of such goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations;

What does that mean folks? It means that anyone that has a disability deserves the right to have a reasonable accommodation made to help serve them. A reasonable accommodation would have been taking the damn order at the window. It should have not been an issue after she stated that was hard of hearing. The manager apparently had ample amount of time while bickering with her to change his mind and boost profits for the business but he shut the window in her face! I could see if the manager felt that he was in a hostile environment if a car full of thugs rolled up to the drive through but a deaf woman with a 10 year old kid in the back seat? Give me a break.

This has everything to do with Karen rights and making sure that this does not happen to anyone else.

Remember, it just took one woman refusal to give up her bus seat to make a difference and but I suppose she was pms'ing back then too.


Deb Ann and Hannah said...

Yes, I agree! She is the AMAZON woman!

Sam said...

OOOOooooooo Abbie...I would love to see you do that! And I would do the same thing but at the same time, while waiting for the police I would call the media too!

Laurie said...


I just found out about this today and am certainly following these events! I'm glad Karen is speaking out for all of us. . .

My daughter works in the drive thru at the Dairy Queen and she says that the deaf and hard of hearing are the least of her problems. Her deaf customers are so regular that they don't need to say anything because they order the same thing every time! Just like Karen. . .

Karen Putz said...

Whoa girl, you flatter me! Thank you for that support!

Abbie said...

You are doing the right thing Karen, I am behind you all the way! No one should have to go through that!

Sam, you just want to see me mad :) hehehe

Laurie, I am completely blown away by this, I am anxious to see the outcome of this.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I agree. She is the amazon woman

Anonymous said...

I agree. She is the amazon woman

Anonymous said...

I blogged about it too in my weekly gratitude post. My gratitude went to Karen Putz for having the courage to stand up and be counted in the face of withering criticism and pressure. Her story both inspired and pressed some deeply hidden buttons that I didn’t know existed!

Thanks for helping a fellow blogger spread the news - she’s my buddy too!

deafcone said...

I use the speaker all the time. I give my order and wait for it to show up on the screen and if it doesn't I drive around and tell them what I want and explain I'm deaf and can't hear their response. I've never had a problem. Going inside because the manager is a p**ck should not be an option. I would have gone in and demanded the owners name and contact and filed a complaint with him and if the owner was the manager himself than file a discrimination complaint with a local attny or like she did make it very public. Just because we're deaf isn't an excuse to treat us like lessor beings.


deafcone said...


If there was a theme song for the manager at steak and shake it would probably be: "Follow the Yellow prick road" lol


Abbie said...


HI-FIVE JIM! Oh man that was a good one, you got to warn me before you send me one of your side splitting banters there.

o~/ Follow the yellow prick road, follow the yellow prick road, follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow prick road! o~/

I double dog dare you to sing that when you get activated Jim! hehehe

Anonymous said...

Haha I love the yellow prick road, funny.
Hey abbie, I heard you went to tyra banks show, when will you tell us about it? And also when it will be aired and what time and what channel? :-)

Cyborg Queen said...

Way to kick some a$$ Abbie! :-) I agree that some of the commenter's just don't get the point of this thing. Karen had a kid in the back, it's cold. All she wants is a damn shake. It's more work for HER than it is to just drive up to the window and ask for a shake.

I'm sure now the people at Steak and Shake is embarrassed and learned a lesson. :-D

Anonymous said...

way to go, karen...and way to go, bionic woman for sharing this with us. else, how would your hearing readers ever learn how much effort it takes for a deafie to get through the freakin day?! i mean, driving through the fast food place is a piece of cake, right? not if you're deaf, it ain't. kudos to karen.

Shari said...

Good for Karen for speaking out. I can't believe the manager was rude. I remember going thru some of those drive thrus. Very hard to hear anything. I just yell something and then drive up to repeat my order to make sure it was right.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, check out Karen's update on the Steake and Shake fiasco at A Deaf Mom Shares Her World

She is quite a woman! I'm sure this is not over yet.

Unknown said...

Wanker!!!??? Such an appropriate word choice and you go with your bad self citing the law...lived for this one! Karen is the MAX! Jodi

Unknown said...

Yes.. I am proud of Karen. :)