Things you never think about: Where are things in the grocery store? I know you can probably get a college degree in where to put food on the shelves to make more people buy them. I would suspect eye level is the best spot, but I don’t know for sure. But it sure as hell isn’t my eye level. To buy what I want, I have to 1) stand up, 2) bend over or 3) stretch like a cartoon character. Then the grocery store item has to come down, come up or come over and all of that and still get itself in the basket of the motorized cart provided by the grocery store. That is if the grocery store provides carts, if there is one available or if it is working. Or how much working does it have left - grocery carts usually die at the opposite end of the store from your car. A kind employee offers to transfer all you have to a regular cart, but think about it, how much good is that. Solution: Bring your own cart, but I digress.
Back to groceries. If you want something that is not a store brand, it will be on the top shelf, the very top. It’s tempting to bring a grabber/reacher along but those things can fail if you want a can of something. Think can on floor and hope the drop does not dent the can irretrievably. Or land on the bananas you carefully put in the cart earlier.
Or the Chow Mein Noodles are behind the tacos and they are breakable, the tacos, not the noodles. So things must be moved so you can get to them. As these are usually at eye level, the moving of items can cause messy problems that bring the store manager running your way.
Speaking of difficult to access products, how about the freezer doors. Forget about the frozen broccoli. You can see it behind the glass door. When you get the store scooter in place to open the freezer door, you can’t reach the broccoli, and to get back to the broccoli, you have to let go of the door and we all know what happens then.
About the only hope you have at that point is if somebody comes along to hold the door. Problem there is they usually want to reach in and hand you the broccoli. No, not the whole broccoli, the packages of just the florets. Then comes the look of “why are we paying for your indulgences.” You see, everyone assumes that we are public burdens because obviously we could never have earned a living as tax paying humans. We must be supported by the door opener who pays taxes.
But possibly the worst problem is during any holiday or special season of the year. A store can be 100% ADA compliant until anything special comes along. Those aisles that could easily be driven down are now clogged with merchandise. Huge barbecue grills, lawnmowers, outdoor furniture block the way at every turn. Or the stockers use the entire aisle with carts full of cereal boxes.
As the holiday merchandise gets closer every year and the stores want to sell more and more, shelf space goes to the top of the distributors list and we are forced to move around the lawmowers, then the leaf bags, segueing to end of summer/school supplies, then to Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas that have snugged up together like what used to suburbs and are now spread out into huge metro areas.
The aisles are crammed full and there we are back where we started pre ADA.
No matter the laws regarding accessibility, business owners really don't follow them. The person with a disability is devalued in so many ways and this is one of the big ones.