Obstructionism Perfected

I don’t even have the energy to rant, so here’s the letter of complaint:

4 March 2006

Ms. Carol Gebhardt
Gebhardt BMW
4740 Valmont Road
Boulder CO 80301

Dear Ms. Gebhardt,

I am writing first to apologize for my unprofessional demeanor at your dealership on Thursday. I can only say that my anger resulted from numerous visits where handicapped permit parking and/or access to your buildings was blocked by cars belonging to the dealership. Today all three permit spaces and all four curb cuts were blocked, making the showroom completely inaccessible. I have spoken to a number of managers about this over the years, both at your old location and the current one. In every case, the manager has apologized profoundly, expressed shock and ignorance that this practice is occurring, and has promised to take care of it. I spoke to you about it several months ago, and you told me exactly the same thing.

I believe that Gebhardt BMW should care about making its facilities accessible, not only on legal and altruistic grounds, but for good business reasons. More than 50 million Americans, 18 percent of the population, have a disability. According to a Department of Labor study, these 50 million individuals wield $175 billion in purchasing power. That doesn’t include the purchasing power of their families and their friends, or the increase that will occur as the Baby Boom generation ages. Your dealership’s consistent blocking of access tells these customers that their business is unwelcome.

I am your ideal demographic. My family owns three BMWs, I earn a more than adequate salary, and I have an appreciation for both excellent engineering and excellent customer service. Gebhardt BMW and BMW North America pride themselves on providing both. Unfortunately, when I see your dealership sign every morning and evening on my way to and from work, I only feel anger and disappointment with your disregard for disabled customers.


Katja Stokley

Customer Relations
BMW of North America, LLC
300 Chestnut Ridge Road
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677-7731



  1. mdmhvonpa

    People just don’t THINK.

  2. Angela

    I love reading your blog. I am in a wheelchair, and you so correctly verbalize what I am feeling so often. Thanks for speaking up!!

  3. Katja (Post author)

    Thank you for reading, Angela. It’s comforting to know that *somebody* understands the frustrations – certainly these merchants don’t seem to!

  4. Christiane

    Thanx Katja. Good to see that more and more people like you want to change the world a little bit. Hope your letter wake up BMW.

  5. darrenh

    I believe you have to let others know when these types of transgressions happen. Good econmic arguments as well. Maybe they’ll listen to the money. Way to go.

  6. Mouse

    Unfortunately, there are many very shallow people, who say that they are “Sorry” when they don’t mean it. It is most evident when they apologize yet continue to make the same mistake while begging forgiveness every time.

  7. Rampion

    Ever notice how the handicap spots in a parking lot aren’t necessarily the closest to the entrance? Hmmmmm……………..


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