We got what we wanted, two tops for two little girls. We are making up a Valentines gift parcel for them and wanted to find a couple tops that fit the theme. With them in hand we went to pay. We shop here all the time and I went confidently on ahead. I turned and almost ran smack into a display case of women's panties. Joe and I have always felt uncomfortable shopping there for kids clothes as they are kept at the back of the store right behind the lingerie section. Our thought is that there is a subtle message that if you wear these you are going to end up buying those. We try, as bashful gay men, not to notice that the breasts on the mannequins always seem to follow you when you walk by them. So, anyways, I almost ended up covered in silk.
The aisle way to the pay point was completely blocked. I was resourceful and thought, "OK, I'll just go through this way" ... nope, blocked. I was, again resourceful (you aren't resourceful if you don't try three times) and ... nope blocked. To get there I had to go to the back of the store, zip through to the other side and then go back up, but it also was blocked. I finally made it through a route that I couldn't even try to recount. By the time I was at desk, I was annoyed. We have this thing called the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and everyone in the service industry was supposed to be trained ... come on. I get you have to have sales but blocking complete access isn't a great idea and ... how come it's a fire hazard if I sit in one place waiting for someone and it's NOT a fire hazard when you place huge displays in the middle of an aisle?
So, as Yoda would say, "Annoyed I was. Um Hmh."
I asked to speak to a manager.
I was asked why.
I said that I had a question.
The clerk said, "Maybe I could answer it for you."
"OK good," I said, "Does this store block passageways for people with disabilities out of ignorance or prejudice, it has to be one or the other so which is it?"
The clerk said, "I will call the manager."
I pay for the items while awaiting the manager.
She arrives saying, "May I help you?" I could tell by her voice she hadn't been clued in.
"Yes," I say, "I have a question."
"Go ahead," she says.
I asked again, "Does this store block passageways for people with disabilities out of ignorance or prejudice, I just want to know which it is."
She blushed, anger flared in her eyes.
"Well, which is it, are the people who set up displays simply ignorant of the needs of people to get by or are they actively prejudiced against us?"
She stared at me.
"Take a look at the aisles there, there, and there, and tell me you don't see a problem."
She still hadn't spoken but went to look.
"Oh," she said.
"So, ignorance, prejudice, just let me know, I'm really, really curious."
"I would have to say ignorance," she said, continuing, "these really are in the way aren't they?"
After she promised that they'd institute a policy of doing a walk by every time the displays are set up to ensure accessibility I turned to leave. To do so I had to go back to the kids section, across the store and then wend my way through the other side to get to the elevators.
As I passed on the other side she was on the phone talking rapidly while absently pointing at the blocked aisles.