My son decided he wanted to make cheese fondue, and time was tight, so we went to the local cheese shop.
It’s in an industrial park, but the cheese shop has surrounded its part of the sidewalk with a pretty wrought iron gates, and placed bistro tables and flowering plants inside the fence. The store proper is two parts; the front has gourmet and deli items and the back, the bulk of the store, is a huge walk in refrigerator where all the cheeses are displayed.
There’s one permit parking place in front, and no way to get onto the sidewalk. Even if you went to the other end of the strip, you wouldn’t be able to get around the fenced area.
I let my daughter bump me up onto the sidewalk, and I bumped myself up the smaller step into the store, where an employee, to her eternal dismay, asked if she could help me.
Why yes, you can tell me why your store isn’t accessible to people in wheelchairs.
She turned out to be one of the owners. In our conversation, she hit all the customary excuses:
We have so few customers in wheelchairs…
The landlord won’t let us change anything…
If you would call us ahead of time, we could open the delivery door…
and she finally trumped me with – we’re a compassionate family business that’s been here for 27 years, we’ll do anything to help you.
That’s nice – if you’re so darned compassionate, why haven’t you complied with the ADA in the 13 years since it was passed?
Complied with the what?
This woman has been a business owner in the United States of America for 27 years and she’s never heard of the Americans with Disabilities Act? Spare me.
I’ve mailed her a copy of the SBA’s Guide to the ADA for Small Businesses.