Accessibility FAIL: Ross Park Mall
So this morning was the grand opening of a brand new Apple Store at Ross Park Mall, which is about ten minutes from our house. The whole family being devotees of the Great Fruit, we trooped out there early this morning to get in line.
17th in line, 90 minutes to go until opening. Feeling my back starting to twinge, I sat down on the floor. A minute or two later, mall security guards came over and told me I had to stand. Even when we explained that I had a back injury and couldn’t stand for very long, they cited “safety issues” and said again, I had to stand. Since I didn’t feel like getting into an argument (and possibly getting all three of us kicked out), Aiden and I left.
Safety issues, my reasonably shapely ass.
For those not versed in disability issues: this sort of thing is illegal. ILLEGAL. If I cannot stand in line because of a disability, they are required to make reasonable accomodations. If they were that dead set against having me sit on the floor, they could have brought me a folding chair; but they are not allowed to kick someone out of line for being disabled.
I might add that not only were there no benches on line, there were no benches anywhere in sight. Sure, I could have brought a folding chair, if I’d known ahead of time, but honestly, carrying the chair would have been almost as difficult as standing in line! The point is, if they’re offering an opportunity, experience, whatever to the public, they’re required to allow people with disabilities access without placing extra burdens upon them to do so. I don’t care if it makes their crowd control more difficult.
I should make it very clear that this was not in any way Apple’s fault – their authority stopped at the store doors. When Andrei told the store manager what had happened, he got a profuse apology, extra tshirts for me and Aiden, and they also had a discussion with the security guards and the mall service people. So yay for Apple. And maybe the mall will do things differently next time. But I’m not holding my breath.
Date: August 28, 2010