Thursday, March 20, 2014

Maybe It Didn't Mean Anything To Anyone Else - Maybe It's Just Me

This is a story about three chairs; two tall chairs and one power wheelchair.

This is a story about two situations; one stopping into the lounge for a drink and one going for breakfast.

Here's what happened when we went for a drink after arriving at the hotel. All the tables that are set out for people sit around are very low, just places to put their drink glasses. There are also tables which are for people who decide to have a snack or meal in the bar, these tables are more at the height of regular restaurant tables. Finally there are two very long, very tall tables in the restaurant section on the lounge, these are surrounded by tall chairs. We sit in none of these places.

We decided that we'd sit at the bar, which was also surrounded by the tall chairs because the bar, too, was tall. These are easier for me because my wheelchair is quite tall and, of course, so am I. We arrive and try to see where we could move a chair so that I could get in. A staff approaches and she said, "I'll make some space for you." In seconds the chairs were gone, vanished. They were no where to be seen. Lovely. We sat and chatted with the bartender and relaxed. It had been a long drive.

Here's what happened when we went for breakfast the following morning. We approached one of the long tall tables that ran the width of the restaurant. Again, the tall tables are much easier for me, in my tall chair and with my over six foot frame. Here too there were chairs surrounding the table. A staff approached and said he'd move the chairs. He did, but he just moved them down and sat them alongside chairs that were already in place. They stuck out horribly. It looked as if they sat there staring at their place, resenting having been moved. They did the opposite of vanish - they called attention to themselves. They also made the passageway between these tables and the other tables very narrow. I wasn't blocking space but it was clear that space was being blocked because of me.

I asked, twice, if the chairs could be put somewhere else, but all I got was a friendly and breezy 'Don't worry about it."

But I did.

The bar was nearly empty, but the chairs were removed.

The restaurant was nearly full, but the chairs stayed visible.

One staff seemed to think it mattered.

One didn't.

Is it training? Is it awareness? Or is it possible I'm the only one placing meaning on this at all?


DandG said...

Is it possible that in the second situation the staff left the chairs there precisely BECAUSE the restaurant was full and they were hoping to stuff some more paying customers in there? Not saying whether that makes it better. You were a customer and those chairs made you uncomfortable and you asked them to be cleared out. If I asked for the ketchup/mustard to be removed from my table, I would not expect the staff to just tell me to not worry about it.

Dave Hingsburger said...

DansG the chairs blocked the other chairs so ultimately there was less space.

Anonymous said...

Bar: you belong here: the spaces are for humans, whatever kind of chair they use.

Restaurant: you're in the way here, but don't worry about it.

Solution: Have breakfast at the bar.

You are right, they are wrong. Go where you feel welcome.


B. said...

It's the people - thoughtlessness. I have had many helpers over the years,- many different points of view. It's particularly difficult for many people to get the concept of putting a thing back where they found the item in the first place. Maybe those chairs stayed huddled together for a while after you left.

Mary said...

I'm inclined to think that this was neither personal awareness or professional training regarding disability.

I think it's people's different approaches to clutter.

Like the person who needs worktop space in the kitchen, so they wash up the dishes that are taking up the space and put them away, versus the person who needs worktop space in the kitchen so they re-stack the unwashed dishes and temporarily park the kettle on top of the toaster.

Anonymous said...

I think Mary is onto something. I've had servers remove extra chairs and noticed that they were placed in a very logical, accommodating space. I've also had other servers stuff them in someplace where they created a nuisance.

I think it's just different people using more (or less) thought to accomplish a task.


Anonymous said...

At least they didn't stack the extra chairs in the hallway to the handicap restroom, blocking access for those using wheelchairs but not other people.