03 June 2011

One of My Biggest Pet Peeves

Nothing gets on me more than businesses who have accessible checkouts and counters because the ADA requires it, but that don't keep them open or staffed with someone without you having to go through hassles of getting them to come and help you there.

With the bank, you also have to just deal with them taking your Debit/ Credit cards, ID and whatever else they need to serve you to another station out of your sight, because they won't log in to the accessible station. Its wrong and makes it so easy for one of us to become victims of fraud. It probably won't happen at the bank, but why should we have to put up with that, when able bodied people don't.

They are also one of the hardest places for me to access. The doors are heavier than need be IMO and getting help usually requires people to first see us struggling to huge lengths only to offer their help at a point in this struggle when their help becomes more of a hindrance than a help- ie we are already set in the right mode for entering independently and I lose my one thing that can directionally align me- that of holding onto the door because lets face it, without automatic doors, I can't enter a place with Thane in harness.

The bank is possibly the most toxic place I have to enter as well. I am ALWAYS sick after going to the bank. I MUST go to the bank because I am incapable of using the checkout debit card machines and I can not update my ID card for the state due to the horrendous effects it will have upon both my health and my vision. The primary store that I shop for Thane at does not take credit cards and I do not get enough in food stamps to cover both of our needs. As a result every month I have to expose myself to the toxicity of the bank to collect cash for Thane's food needs and my non-food stamp items. I then put the toxic cash on a Winco gift card so I do not have to handle it every time we need something.

With MCS, I really need to be able to get in and out of businesses as quickly as possible. When businesses such as the bank do not staff their accessibility window, it tells me two things. 1) They think just the presence of the window makes them compliant and 2) They don't value me as a customer very much.

Today I was at the bank and had to deal with this rude scenario for the umpteenth time. I will admit, I lost my cool and made a big scene yelling *Hello, can I get service some time?* That was met with them considering me to be impatient but since they had served not one, not two, not three, but four people who came into the bank line AFTER I had- they deserved it.

I needed some additional help and the way the supervisor was just made me want to scream. Making a comment to the teller that since I had waited to go ahead and do that now- as if I should have waited additional time to have the assistance to activate my new debit card when they don't provide TTY phone numbers for this and there is as of yet no such thing as a deafblind accessible ATM and even the ones accessible to the blind are not accessible to those with MCS.

Now if this was a one time occurrence or happened on occasion that would be one thing, but EVERY month I go through this same ordeal. My folks could probably quite easily cash the check for me and prevent both the MCS exposure and this ordeal but that is not the point- the point is if the accessible counter or checkout is not staffed, they ARE NOT complying with the ADA or treating us like all other customers. Believe me I have tried to use the inaccessible counters but with the barrier created by those line flow obstacles that are used, there is no way I can. If I make it to the teller, I can't get back out until everyone else has completed at their teller and even then there is not enough room for Thane to guide me through the path.

Its not just banks that do this. Most stores in my area are pretty good and most, if not all, of the checkouts are accessible. Some of the smaller stores though still have the one or two checkouts only that a wheelchair can get through. Its these same stores that do not keep the accessible ones staffed. Its like they still live back in the 70's and 80's. I do have one of these stores trained. Of course I got them trained with a lecture that ended with, *I wonder what the ADA hotline would have to say about whether or not you really are accessible or not* Ever since then, they keep their eyes on us as we are nearing the checkout and jump on over to the accessible one. Too bad the bank has not done that. Now that I would consider good service. Of course keeping it open all the time would be ideal since non-disabled people could easily use the disabled counter but not the other way around. You have it, use it, is my philosophy!

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