Sunday, March 10, 2013
Joe and I stopped at a western store to take a break from a long drive and to shop for some real cowboy boots for the girls. As someone who was born in Alberta, Canada's cowboy country, I've always liked western fashions - and the boots are amazing works of art. Being over 60, the first thing we did was hit the washroom. It was tucked in behind a huge collection of saddles. On coming out, I rolled over to take this picture. I am NOT a photographer but wanted to try and get a sense of the place.
I noticed, off to my left, a fellow, older than me, on a heavy duty scooter. He was watching me take the picture, interested and a little curious as to what I was doing. I didn't want to explain that I was a city boy and the last time I saw a saddle was in a Country Music Gay Bar in San Francisco - where we joined in with the line dancing when we'd had enough beer to figure that it was within our capabilities. So I just smiled and made a remark about the incredible collection.
We went over to where they had kids boots. They had dozens!!! It was so difficult to choose. Finally we figured that we were getting boots for two active girls who aren't afraid of mud or puddles or sploshing around. We were then able to choose something stylish and functional. After there I found a whole section which allowed me to do my Christmas shopping for both my Mom and Dad - they are done for this year. That feels good.
Throughout our time in the store I noticed the old dude on the scooter. Finally, after seeing him talk with one of the clerks, we realized that he was store security. His job was to wander the store, keep an eye on all the tourists shopping, and be a presence without being a PRESENCE. I realized then why I found the store so incredibly accessible. I could get down every aisle, make every corner, find everything I was looking for - his adapted work environment made the place perfect for me.
But wait. We also noticed that there were several families, in large groups, who were piling down one aisle and up another. The whole place was welcoming.
Accessibility is just good design.
I didn't spend more money in the store as a reward for accessibility and for positive hiring practices but I DID spend more money in the store because I could get to where I wanted to go and as a result found Ma and Pa's gifts.
Accessibility is just good business.
We left the store and I rolled down the gentle slope to the car - we'd had a break, we'd had fun, we'd encountered a welcoming spot ... it's amazing what an experience like that can do to a day..
Accessibility is just plain nice, y'all.