I went out shopping today to buy gifts for some people on my list. Joe was one of them, so Joe didn't come with me. My first stop was the Bay store near me, I knew exactly what I wanted, exactly where everything was and hoped to get in and out without fuss.
As it's the holidays it's no surprise that there are lots of things placed in the aisles but they were well spaced and I could easily navigate around them. This is a store where I've had several battles about placements of displays and I was cheered to see that they were there but they weren't in any way a hindrance.
But, as with many well made plans, it didn't go as I expected. The one section I really needed to go was completely impassable. I could see what I wanted but there was no way I could get even near it. Now I've shopped in this section before, I've gotten around easily, but not this time, and not because of the holiday. It was because construction and remodelling was underway and everything that was scrunched up together. Now I don't typically shop where it isn't accessible, but this struck me as a different and temporary situation.
There are many ways for a store to be accessible. I went to a clerk, who was on the phone to another department seeking information for the customers in front of me. When she'd answered their question and hung up the phone she turned to me. I explained that there was something I wanted but because construction made the area inaccessible I couldn't get to it.
She was out from behind that desk so quickly it was like she magically transported to the spot right beside me. We headed over and she brought me what I asked for and then when I said that I'd like to see a range of products matching the description, she went and got them for me and waited as I made my choices. I thanked her and she brushed away the thanks saying that it wasn't a 'problem to serve me.' I bought what I wanted and then headed to the next store.
Arriving there, I realized that I didn't have my glasses. I needed my glasses. I was stuck, I approached a young man and mentioned that there was something I wanted, that I knew the store had because I'd searched their inventory on line and I needed his help in finding it. He looked over to the area where I'd need to go and it was packed with shoppers. He offered me the choice to wait while he went to get it or for me to accompany him and we'd swim through the crowd. I chose to wait. He brought it, smiling, and told me that he'd grabbed the last one.
I thanked him. He too brushed it away. "I've only got a job because we've got customers," he said before heading off to help someone else.
I'm sure what happened today but every person I met today was accessible.
And, I liked it.