February 16, 2021 at 8:00 am #26018DeAnn RKeymaster
Although we’ve come a long way where accessibility is concerned I feel there’s still a ways to go. Recently a conversation came up with a caregiver. She goes to a salon that’s not accessible. When she mentioned they’re remodeling I asked if they’re putting in a ramp. Of course I got a laundry list of why it’s not feasible. What it boils down to is that financially they don’t feel it’s worthwhile. By putting in a ramp they wouldn’t be pulling in any more revenue and it would cost thousands to install. Plus it’s a building they rent, not own. Honestly though, the improvements she’s making won’t bring in more revenue either. Why are aesthetics more important than function? It’s so frustrating.
While I understand their point of view, what I heard when she said it’s not worth it is that I’m not worth it. I don’t matter. To me having a step is like putting a sign on the door saying wheelchair users not welcome. Able bodied people only. Although there’s no need for the sign because the step does the trick. I thought segregation was a thing of past, but apparently it’s alive and well.
Unfortunately when conversations like this come up I don’t know how to argue my point. I get it, modifications are expensive. Even making my own home accessible has come at a cost. Excluding an entire segment of the population though just doesn’t seem right. When I bring up these issues sometimes I get the feeling that I’m being unreasonable or selfish. The vibe I get is why should they cater to one or even a handful of people at a cost to them. They’re just trying to make a living and get by. What they don’t understand is that when it’s accessible it’s inclusive not exclusive. Sure, not everyone needs a ramp, but they can use it regardless.
What are your thoughts on accessibility? How do we make it worthwhile?
February 16, 2021 at 8:29 am #26038ZicariParticipant
There are good points to be made on both sides, but I agree it’s frustrating.
One of the issues is that it – believe it or not – it was often easier back in the day to convince a private business owner to make an reasonable accommodation. I remember once when I was a kid, my mother told a restaurant with a step that we were eating at another place across the street. Not a week later, the restaurant owner had personally poured a ramp – it took a $50 bag of concrete and a couple hours. I used to go to a dentist that laid out a wooden plank for me to get in the door every time I came. It was a $10 solution and I was their only disabled customer in a small town. Now, it has to be a certain grade, takes multiple permits and inspections, and in some jurisdictions opens up other cans of worms for businesses such as their bathroom accessibility. For that matter, you and I are thinking in terms of ramps and our own disability – but has that business accommodated everyone? Is everything in braille, do they have adaptations for the deaf, etc.
I think we have to meet each other halfway.
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Zicari.
February 16, 2021 at 9:09 am #26040Dennis TurnerParticipant
DeAnn, You, and all of us, are worth the perceived and oftentimes real cost.
I live in New England where I often see that despite the Americans with Disabilities Act many of the buildings/shops are protected by grandfathering from having to add a simple means of access. In Rockport, Glouster, and even in parts of Boston, buildings were built with a step up and right on the street, no way to add a ramp without blocking the sidewalk for everyone.
I do see that the increase of regulation can stop businesses from making accommodations what might be an inexpensive fix can become an expensive, and seldom used fix sometimes. I remember a few years ago I was in NYC for a prayer mission which included a visit to three different feeding ministries. The largest, The Bowery Mission had been serving to homeless for a very long time and had no direct access. They did however, have a wide steel plank which I was able to roll up on my scooter. It might not have met State Regulations but enabled me to enter the building and participate fully. I never felt like I was a burden to them, nor did I feel unsafe as they stayed with me as I went up and came down.
This is a bigger issue than a single business or a set of outdated regluations, but still needs to be addressed.
February 16, 2021 at 3:33 pm #26047Kevin SchaeferKeymaster
It’s absurd (and illegal) that this still happens. The main argument you can use here is that businesses lose customers by discriminating. And like Zicari pointed out, the actual cost it takes to make these accommodations is generally quite manageable.
February 16, 2021 at 10:08 pm #26048Sherry TohParticipant
One argument that might help, as Kevin said, is to show that businesses will actually benefit from being made accessible. Techradar did a story on AbleGamers last year, and I’ll always remember what the founder said about how he got game companies onboard with accessibility:
“If you look at the buying power of the population of people with disabilities, I would always talk to a game company and I always say this. I could tell you a sad story and get you to do one thing, one time, as a developer.”
But you haven’t made any systemic change for players with disabilities. But if I tell you that people with disabilities have billions of dollars in discretionary income and that they want to play that game and they’re going to gravitate toward those goods and services?”
There will always be that cost-gain concern business owners have and we’ll need to speak to. It’s something I wish we had more research and numbers on to aid our push towards integration. It’s an approach activists involved in the fight for women’s equity have taken, and it’s been met with success – for example, they’d do the math for how much it costs to send girls to school vs. how much those girls earn for their families and countries compared to their peers.
Sadly, we don’t have the same amount of studies (or any) in disability activism, but you can try to find the numbers on how many disabled people and wheelchair users are in your area, and do the math from there.
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