Thursday, April 24, 2014

Blacks Is Photography

It took a little while to think of where to go. We'd always just gone to the big Sears store down at the Eaton Centre to get our passport photos done, but it closed a few months ago. Suddenly we remembered that there was a Blacks Photography store only a couple of blocks from us. I was a little concerned because I'd shopped there before and it's a small store. But we could think of no where else to go, so off we went. I had to get passport photos done, not for a  passport but for a new piece of 'disability ID' that I need in order to access a new service being offered in the city. We'd been putting off getting it all done. Today was the day to get the photos.

As we entered the store I saw a sign for 'Passport Photos' in far left corner of the store. Great! Then when we got closer I could see that it would be difficult, if not impossible to get my chair into position to have the photo taken. Great. But I told the clerk that I wanted a photo, we paid for it, and then we started trying to get me in position to be able to have the photo taken. My chair was just a little too wide to back into the space I needed to be in.

The problem was that the space was between a counter and a wall which was had hooks all over it with products hanging from those hooks. They stuck out several inches making an already narrow space even narrower. I just couldn't get into position. I tried getting out of the chair and standing but I was too tall, I forget, because I don't stand very often that when I'm up I have a lofty view. The clerks, the three of them, began talking about options.

They decided that they'd just take the hooks and the product off the wall which would create much more space and I could then back into it. I protested because that would be a lot of work but they brushed the protest aside and just started clearing the portion of the wall that had blocked my entry. Once done, sure enough, I was able to back into place, get my picture taken and be done with it. We were told that the photos would be ready in 20 minutes, so we went off to do the rest of our chores telling them that we would be back.

When we got back I looked at the pictures. They were fine, I always look like I'm angry for having got caught in the middle of a mass murder in these pictures, but they were fine. I then took a moment and thanked them all for doing what they did. They could have easily said, "Sorry," and sent me on the way, an address for another store in my pocket. But they didn't. They were solution oriented, they were pleasant, they acted as if they WANTED to do what it took to provide the service.

They said that my 'Thank You' wasn't necessary, but it was. We all know that most often 'accessibility' is an attitude, a willingness to welcome, a creative approach to service. Well, all three clerks showed that they were willing to be accessible and that's what made it possible for the store to also be accessible. That, in my mind, deserves a thank you.

I got home and looked up Blacks on line and found them, on the bottom of their page, they have a link to their Accessibility Policy and in it it states: At Black's we value diversity and inclusiveness and support a work environment where all individuals, including those with varying abilities, are treated with dignity and respect. Our workplace culture extends to our customers, together with a commitment to accessibility for all.

I've read words like these a thousand times before. Usually, they are words that don't action into meaning. Today, at Blacks, they did. I've got the pictures to prove it.


Belly (Liz McLennan) said...

So pleased to read that your experience was positive, Dave. Love that you, too, look like a grouchy axe murderer in your photo! Ha!

Have you sent along this blog post to Blacks? I bet they'd love to read it!

Anonymous said...

Good on the workers for asserting that accessibility is not simply a bother, but part and parcel of their daily job.

My question is, did they make the space temporarily accessible for you, or did they PERMANENTLY relocate those hooks and products for future customers such as yourself? I would like to know!


Mary Whitehead said...

Well done Blacks Photography. We will definitely spread the word that your company is one that honours diversity and is committed to value and respect toward all customers. Please pass along our thanks and admiration to the clerks that represented your company so well!

Belinda Burston said...

I know it wasn't the main point of the post but "I always look like I'm angry for having got caught in the middle of a mass murder in these pictures" made me laugh out loud. You a mass murderer, me --I can't even describe how bad I look on my driver's licence and passport. I HOPE it's all a mistake! :) So impressed by Blacks, maybe they can make me look better. I will try them next time!

Dave Hingsburger said...

Sue, I'm not sure that I would want them, or ask them, to take all those products down permanently. First, my chair is wider than typical chairs, so I beleive that most wheelchairs would fit into that space. Second, they suggested taking them down, they were actively working to come up with a solution ... that's what is really needed. Third, it was a small store and they needed to use as much space as they could. I'm happy with exactly how it was handled.

Anonymous said...

Ohyes. Mindset is what counts.

Hooray for Black's.

Another axe murderer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification, Dave!