According to a recent report, Starbucks is opening a signing store near Gallaudet University, which is a university for the deaf and hard of hearing in Washington, D.C.
The new signing store is being created with the goal of creating a unique experience for all customers that at the same time promotes accessibility. It further aims to offers employment opportunities for those who are hard of hearing.
For many deaf people, it can be hard to get around in a world that is not designed for them, with even the most simplest of interactions being very complex. Adam Novsam, a deaf utility analyst at Starbucks described his experience as not a smooth or easy process going into any store. Even the anticipation before is frustrating.
He explains that when he tries to lipread which often results in misunderstanding in his order, especially when they ask a question. He even sometimes will take out a pen and paper, but the server often seems annoyed and impatient that their order is taking so long.
Such experiences led Novsam as well as other members of the deaf community to speak up to Starbucks Deaf Leadership Group to push for signing store. The chain will hire around 20 – 25 deaf employees for the new store and American Sign Language will be a requirement to work there.