Saturday, December 05, 2020

Three Little Words

(badly hand drawn picture of the wheelchair symbol with 1- 8 items only sign directly beneath. The wheechair symbol is blue and the sign below is in red.

I've fought with grocery stores so often and told the stories so regularly that I've pretty much given up. The fight. And writing about the experience of being a disabled man trying to do grocery shopping. They don't care. The idea that the accessible lane should always be open seems beyond them. It's the one that everyone can go through, so it should be the priority, this simple logic seems to bedevil grocery store managers. They want to manage me, when I make a complaint, rather than manage the store.

Now, I'm just pushy.

For most of the stores I go to the accessible lane is also the lane for 1 to 8 items. With Joe in deep discomfort at breaking this rule, I just get in the line-up and explain to people that it's the only one I can use. Then we have wacks of people really pissed off at us as we empty a really full cart onto the belt.

Today, I didn't feel like being hated.

But I also wasn't going to give up on participating in taking my cart through and paying for my groceries. 

The store I was in has two accessible aisle's, one is purpose-made, and one is accidentally accessible. It's till 10, the last one and it's a bit wider by chance. We were just about finished and we'd seen that 10 was open and Joe was rushing me to get to the line-up. But sure enough, it closed just as we got there. I headed up to customer service, which is where the marked accessible (but only for 8 items) aisle was. Joe was behind me with a huge cartful of Christmas grocery shopping.

There was a woman there that I'd not seen before. I told her that till 10 had just closed and it's a wider aisle that I can use and there was a long lineup for the accessible (1 - 8) aisle. I don't mind lineups but I knew that when it got to be my turn good old Christmas impatience would be targeted at me.

I didn't feel like being hated.

So, I asked her if 10 could be reopened and that would solve the problem. And do you know what she said to me?

"Of course, sir."

The three little words of excellent customer service.

She was pleasant and came down and got us through and chatted with us as if we were the good customers that we were. There was no hint of aggravation.

It was amazing.

Of all my experiences of fighting for full access in grocery stores that was by far the most unusual. In fact it was singular.

I didn't catch her name so I can't write to the store and tell them about her.

They should know.

I'll figure out how to make that happen tomorrow.

Got a lot of groceries to put away.

1 comment:

Pat Fratangelo said...

So glad this happened. More people should take a deep breath and understand what a person needs. There was a woman in the grocery store the other day who was elderly and eyeing some flowers that I was looking at. She said they were beautiful but no sense of her buying them as no one would see them. I said they were beautiful and did she mind if I put them in my cart? She said go ahead, you will enjoy them with your family. I bought them and then had the store give them to her. When I went back to the store the next day they said that they gave them to her and she was so happy that she cried and the she knew the lady who bought them for her.