Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Sun Will Come Out ...

I've mentioned before that we love shopping at Sunrise Records near us. It's a small store, cramped for space, but I manage quite well in there with a large power wheelchair. The staff there have such great attitudes about accessibility that they make me feel welcome ... or ... if they are busy, they don't make me feel that I'm a bother or take up too much space. That's all I really want. We went there to pick up the second season of While Collar. We discovered the series last week and tore through season one this week. Every night we came home and watched a couple of episodes. It was a great way to unwind. Joe and I were eager to get the next set and spend a wonderful Friday evening in front of the television.

They didn't have it.

I had checked and another store, a big chain store, has one in stock at their location around the corner but it's not accessible. I'd had a fight with them as they had listed on their web sites that all their stores were accessible and this one definitely isn't. After discussing this on the phone and writing a letter they now says it has 'limited accessibility' ... which means 'accessibility for everyone but wheelchair users.' Now, a couple of times when we've wanted something, Joe would go over or we'd both go and I'd wait at the bottom of the escalator. I am astonished writing this that we'd done that at all. Clearly I don't want to give my money, money made with my ass sitted in a wheelchair, to those who bar my presence with barriers. But, I did.

Even though I found out that they had a copy of it at the 'other store' I said to Joe, 'I can't do it again.' And I couldn't. I just couldn't go over and spend money there. We talked to the folks at Sunrise and they ordered it for us.

Yeah, it will take a few days to come in.

Yeah, we wanted to watch it tonight.

But ... no, I'm never giving money to those who bar me again. Sunrise works HARD to be accessible. To be that small and yet maintain space such that I can get to every part of the store, to have staff who quickly and willingly move displays, when necessary (which isn't often), to have the attitude of accessibility is almost better than being completely totally accessible. So, they got our money. We'll wait.

This post may surprise you. Many people think that I'm 'Mister Completely and Always Advocate,' ... I'm not. But, given that a switch was thrown in my heart today, I'd say, I'm a little closer to understanding that the cost of supporting accessibility, in dollars or time, is worth it. I'm still shaking my head as I write this. I can't believe that I continued to shop somewhere that didn't welcome me. It's like I keep finding areas in my life where I simply accepted 'less' and did so without really noticing.

Rock on Sunrise.

They say, whoever 'they are' that you can vote with your feet.

Well you can vote with your tires too.

My question for the weekend:

Do you ever find yourself, almost without knowing it, simply accepting what ought not to be accepted?


Bubbles said...

Absolutely and it took some very hard, very serious life lessons to make me even aware that this was something that I did!!! In the quest to be ever helpful and good and kind I somehow became the person who always said "it's okay, don't worry about it" sacrificing my own needs, wants, opinions and at times my personal safety and often my self-esteem. It's easier to choose the path of least resistance to keep everyone happy and not offend... I am completely feirce when I'm advocating for someone else and would never be so weak and lazy as to not but for myself... it was just easier to accept less... No more... but it was a LONG time coming!

GirlWithTheCane said...

I've done it. After an accessibility concern at a store in my town was brushed off by the owner, I vowed never to shop there again - but when I couldn't find what I was looking for anywhere else one day, I went back in.

I felt really disappointed in myself afterward. But, like you said...sometimes it's just easier to accept less.

Team Lando said...

Shortly after reading one of your posts, I literally ran to a local drugstore to grab a few things, and I mean ran with a stroller and baby with disability. She has down syndrome, so she won't be in a wheelchair (most likely) but certainly is part of the greater disability community.

Her stroller wouldn't fit in the aisles. Since I'd just been reading your post, I realized a wheelchair wouldn't fit either.

I switched her prescription to a more accessible pharmacy.

Anonymous said...


Just this past fall, I was have issues with a co-worker. My children's schools were having a big anti-bullying campaign and I would talk to them about what is (and isn't) bullying. Then I realized: OMG - I'm being bullied by my co-worker! Luckily for me, it was really the first time I had ever been bullied in my life. But I was amazed at how horrible I felt and how much it affected my self-esteem!! And I'm 40+ years old and generally don't give a !#$% what people think or say about me.

I can't imagine how bullying must affect a child or young adult.

Debbie (NJ)

Anonymous said...

Do you ever find yourself, almost without knowing it, simply accepting what ought not to be accepted?
yes. from my mother. sometimes i’m a strong advocate. and sometimes i’m not. fail. :-(

Anonymous said...

I guess I do pick my fights. I like to put the effort where I think it might make a difference or have results. I always find it easier to speak up on behalf of others than myself. Not always good, I know. But somehow defending others, especially those who may not have the voice, is important to me.

It can be tough - but like you, I support those who support me, and others like me. Sometimes it costs a bit more - financially or time wise - but I too like to invest in those who invest in the whole community.

Roll on!

Amanda said...

I do it all the frigging time to the point I rarely notice I'm doing it unless someone points it out. I constantly settle for less than I should because I don't have a clear idea of myself as deserving rights, at least I don't have that consistently and in the right part of me. But because I occasionally say something about stuff being wrong, people assume the opposite.

I remember when I was supposed to give a talk, alongside another disabled person, about how to avoid guardianship. At the last second they switched my co-presenter to two parents who are guardians of their children, one of whom was so hypersensitive to the idea that guardianship is at the very best a necessary but bad alternative to how things should work, that she saw nothing wrong with pulling malicious passive-aggressive crap on me the entire rest of the conference, and insisting during our talk that I was so totally unlike her son that nothing I said was meaningful. I tried every single way to give her an out and she just went on about how wonderful and right guardianship was. And it was horrible and I ended the talk by running into the bathroom and slamming my head on a wall a bunch of times. Added to the horribleness of it was that the other of my co-presenters (Dick Sobsey) was someone I've long admired and wanted to meet, and probably the only way he will ever see me is in my pushed-into-a-corner defensive mode which to nondisabled people often looks very Bad Cripple of me. And he probably thinks I don't understand the circumstances that push parents into that role even though I was trying my best.

Anyway I should not have stood for the change of plans. I should not have allowed them to put me into the position of what was intended as a thoughtful and constructive presentation turning into a shouting match. I saw it coming a mile off but could do nothing. And to add insult to injury, the woman who made the schedule change made a speech in which she referenced "you could never tell Amanda Baggs what to do without her permission or she'd object". And I just felt like throwing things because that is so not true and that image of me -- and of anyone in my position -- makes me more vulnerable to people running roughshod over my rights, not less. Because they think if I cared I would say something. And I don't usually. Sometimes I can't. Sometimes I won't. But definitely I am not a person who stands up for my rights at every opportunity.

Cynthia F. said...

Yes. Just finally broke down last night late and bought baby teething drops at the local health food store where the owner gave $30,000 to the campaign to end gay marriage in California. It was late, the baby was miserable, and the other store nearby didn't have it.

On a much more cheerful note, I recently learned that the incredibly hot Matt Bomer of White Collar has come out despite the strong pressures to stay closeted in Hollywood. He is a family man - partnered with three kids. Representing!