Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Customer service has its basics.
The service part, for one.
Somehow, too many incidents occur in which the customer doesn't receive service and instead gets abused.
Somehow, quite a few of the incidents that get reported occur in one fast-food joint or another.
Last year, it seemed as if Dunkin' had severe issues with fundamental human respect.
Who could forget the Baltimore Dunkin' that put up this sign:
If you hear any of our staff SHOUTING in a language other than ENGLISH Please call 443-415-7775 immediately with the name of the employee to receive a coupon for FREE Coffee and a pastry.
In recent weeks, however, I was moved by the story of Rachel Hollis, a deaf woman who rolled up to an Oklahoma Burger King drive-thru and had her order typed on her phone.
Instead of respecting her and fulfilling her order, the Burger King employee reated with disdain and dismissed her.
The drive-thru employee told her that he was too busy. Oh, and that he had a disability too.
Burger King fired the employee and it was tempting to believe this was an isolated occurrence.
Yet here we are, just a few weeks later at a drive-thru in a California Jack In The Box.
As NBC Bay Area reported, Revae Arnaud-Jensen drove up to the drive-thru window and explained that she's deaf. She couldn't use the speaker, as she wouldn't be able to hear the employee.
The reaction from the drive-thru worker, she said, made her spirits sink.
"Whatever. Whatever. Move," a video showing him saying.
To which he added an "I don't care." And a "Go" or two.
As Arnaud-Jensen remonstrated, he told her to "shut up" and even seemed to mock her sign language.
Jack In The Box fired him, too.
For those who are deaf, this is far too commonplace an experience.
What's most galling, though, is surely the sheer lazy, empty inhumanity of some customer service employees.
Is it so hard to offer a tinge of understanding? Is it truly impossible, on learning someone is deaf, to offer basic decency?
These are, of course, individual incidents and made all more powerful because they were filmed.
The reverse does happen. A while ago, for example, I wrote about a blind couple who went into a Wendy's and were treated to simple, thoughtful kindness from an employee.
More recently, I wrote about a deaf girl who wanted to travel independently.
She got on a Delta flight and was greeted by a note -- handwritten by a Flight Attendant -- explaining all the buttons to her and how to ask for help if she needed it.
Can it be, though, that in our twisted times -- even in the area of customer service -- disdain and cruelty now have a greater permission to be expressed?
Can it be that employees such as the ones at Burger King and Jack In The Box actually need additional training as to how to "deal" with someone who's deaf?
What does it take to look at a human being and react like a human being?