Yesterday I was going out with for lunch with my team at work. We decided to go a get-together after the holidays rather than before. This way it would be less rushed and it would give a nice break in the bleak mid-winter. I had chosen the restaurant but, because of all the snow, I decided to give them a call about an hour before we left. When I called, the woman who answered, explained to me, when I asked about accessibility for a wheelchair, given the snow and the long walk from the parking lot to the restaurant. She said that she'd go and check. I told her that I appreciated her efforts.
She came back to tell me that the sidewalks were somewhat snow packed but she thought they'd be OK and she assured me that they'd get out a shovel and clear the ramp before I got there. I thanked her and hung up. It was only then that I realized that A) they were open and B) they didn't bother to shovel the ramp. While it was nice that they'd do it because they knew I was coming, wouldn't it have been nicer if they did the ramp at the same time that they did the stairs. I was also worried about the assessment of a snow packed sidewalk being 'I think OK' ... because with narrow tires on my manual chair that can be very difficult.
I called another restaurant, same chain, a few minutes north. I spoke to someone there who was having trouble with my questions. "I'm wondering if the accessible options have been cleared of snow?" The reason he was having trouble was that he was offended. "Of course, we clear all entrances of snow every morning." I paused, realizing I'd almost insulted him with my question, I didn't want to get into an explanation of why I needed to ask. He filled the pause by explaining to me where the accessible parking was and the distance, in both feet and meters from the accessible spot to the door. OK. Good.
We went to the second restaurant, all ten of us.
Accessibility is good business.
Plain and simple.