She saw us and pointed to the end of the line. I kept on going, I needed to speak to her. She was the guardian of the gate. As people rolled up to the registered, she directed them where to go. I wanted to speak to her and ask her to send me to the accessible aisle. I stopped and waited for her attention, she was pretty full of self-importance and clearly loving the role that she had and the wee bit of power that came with that role. When there was a break I told her that I was getting in line but I'd need to get directed to the accessible till.indicating which one it was by pointing at the large wheelchair symbol hanging above it.
She spun on her heels and barked at me. "They are all accessible now get into the line-up." I did as I was told and when getting to the front of the line, indicated again where I wanted to go. She shook her head and sent me to another aisle. I could get in the opening but the lane constricted and it would be hard pushing through. I backed up as Joe unloaded the cart and rolled over to the accessible aisle. What did I discover? It was larger, leaving lots of room to get through.
I spoke to her and said, "I asked you for the accessible aisle and you sent me to one that wasn't." She claimed they were all the same, I ensured her they weren't.
I had two concerns:
1) I have a right to accessibility and to request the accessible provisions made by the store.
2) Her voice was degrading and insulting and patronizing. All at once.
As it happened the lane she put us in opened out right at the manager's office. As it happened the manager was in. I stopped to make a complaint describing the refused request and the tone of voice used on me. By now I was upset, I just wanted to fucking shop. I didn't want to engage in education or complaint making, I just wanted to get out of there incident-free
When I described being refused the accessible accommodation, before I got to the tone of voice, the manager had risen from her chair. "This will be taken care of right now." She was angry.
So nice, I made one person angry and gave one person a really bad day. I knew that as advocates we need to speak up, but I also wondered what she saw when she saw me. Couldn't she see, just by the fact that I approached her and spoke up about my needs that I would also speak up if they weren't met? Why did she pull down the heavens on herself?
.I don't know, but she did.