He towered over me, angry, explaining that the store, a Metro Grocery Store, was a private place and they had rights too. What was this angry response to? We had gone into the store and for the first time ever in a large grocery store there was no entry point for someone with a disability. They had those turnstile things, they had a square cut out for carts to go under, that was it. A polite request that I go under where the carts go was met with my firm, 'You're kidding?'
Finally, someone had to clear out an unused checkout aisle of stuff to let me in. I has a battle raging inside. I didn't want to shop there, I didn't want to have to go somewhere else, I didn't want to have a chat with the manager ... I just wanted to freaking shop. I'd worked all day, hard, and I was 'good tired'. Now I'm just miserable. As we were paying for our supper groceries, I asked to speak to the manager.
I tell him the problem and he explains how there's a lot of theft so that have to make entry difficult. I said, 'So, it's OK for you to keep people with disabilities out.' After tooing and froing between us, him getting angrier and angrier. He ended up explaining to me that he'd seen me shopping so they'd 'let me in'. How nice. But they had to clear a whole aisle and make a big fuss. I don't want fuss, I just want entry. I pointed to all the other shoppers saying, 'You don't make it difficult for them to enter, why make it difficult for me.'
He finally said that the store was private property and they had their rights too. And one of those rights, apparently, is making the store completely without an access point for those in wheelchairs. I asked him he they made black customers come in the back door, he said, 'No, that would be wrong.' Well, at least he gets that.
So they've got my name, the store owner will call me. Yeah, when spiders spin webs on Madonna's gym equipment. So can someone help me ... what is the law here in Canada about access to stores like Metro ... surely there is some protection and some guarantee about access but I don't know the law. I'd like to before the owner calls. I'd like advice - is this the kind of thing you bring to the human rights commission.
I know it's only a store. But I'm tired of telling stories like this over and over again ... don't even get me started on the hotel ...