Saturday is our day for running errands. This day almost always starts with the same argument. Are you ready to go? Yes, are you ready to go? You don’t look ready to go. I’m waiting on you. I was waiting on you. Fine let’s just GO!! It’s a ritual type thing. Fast forward, I’m riding in the car, the Lovely and Talented Margaret is driving, my eyes are closed trying to concentrate on anything but how she drives, when a breakfast sandwich comes to mind. I ask her nicely, because I am at her mercy at this point, “Can we stop at McDonald’s? I’m kinda hungry.” This is the point that my day began it’s downhill slide.
My lovely wife replied, “Ok, I’ll drop you off, run over to the post office and then pick you up.” It’s a plan !! She drops me off, tells me how to navigate to the door, and is on her way. I walk in and proceed to the counter. While listening to my surroundings I quickly realize that I am the only person at the counter. I remember thinking that was strange. I stood there waiting for the counter person to ask what I wanted, I was alone this time so they had no choice but to speak with me. I stood there and stood there, no request to order came. I could tell people were walking by me, what the hell. Finally, after I don’t know how long, I said “Hey, can I get a sandwich or what?” I admit, probably louder than I should. From nowhere I hear a voice that sounds to be about 16 years old tell me I have to use the kiosk. Must have been the manager.
So I turn and find the kiosk. I can see the shape but not anything on the screen. My face as close to the screen as I can get it, still can’t see enough to use this satanic device. My anger builds. Billions served and the Corporation can’t pay a part time human to take an order? Have you not heard of the Americans With Disabilities Act? Is the word “Accessible” a foreign concept to you? WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET A DAMN SAUSAGE MC FRIGGIN MUFFIN? From behind me I hear “Marco” and like a reflex I say “Pollo.”
Marco/Pollo you ask? I’m a little jumpy since I became Visually Impaired. If anyone says my name or touches me if I am not aware that they are near to me I get a bit startled, even jumpy. So when Margaret walks up to me she says “Marco” I answer “Pollo.” You find a way to get by. So Margaret took control and used the damn monitor to order our food. As we sat down to eat our food, I continued to voice my displeasure. Guessing I was louder than normal as some of our fellow patrons stop by the table to say they agreed with me. It was eventually time to leave, I had relaxed slightly, and you might think this story is ending. BUT WAIT …. THERE IS MORE!!
I decide to go to the bathroom before we left. Margaret told me where they were and she was on her way to dump the garbage. When you are blind you find the right room by feeling the sign. The image you see is the actual sign on the door. Notice anything? Anything at all? I’ll tell you what’s wrong. This sign is a picture on a piece of plastic, it is perfectly flat, nothing is raised, nothing to feel. Look closely, notice the braille? It’s friggin flat !!! In what world is flat braille used? I can’t read braille but I can damn sure tell how long the word is, AS LONG AS YOU CAN FEEL IT !! Can you see the fingerprints on it? How many blind people having to pee have been subject to this torture. What the hell is wrong with you. Do you get some kind of pleasure from watching the challenged struggle?
By this time I felt like I was in Dante’s Inferno. I just wanted to leave. I am positive that everyone there knew of my displeasure. As we walked out out The Lovely and Talented Margaret noticed this sticker on the window, and took a pic of it. I was wondering if the braille menu was as flat as the bathroom sign. Is there supposed to be a employee available to assist with the Kiosk? Maybe, but only Margaret came to my rescue that day. Would you think one of the other patrons would recognize my dilemma and come to my assistance? Again not on this day, but then I may have seemed and sounded a bit on the crazy side with my ranting and possible name calling. The next day Margaret went on line and filed a complaint, and to their credit the store we were at contacted her by phone that very same day. The supposed manager apologized and said an employee should have assisted me, and he assumed the place was busy, said he would review the film and use it as a training opportunity. Yeah right.
Margaret said she was getting the feeling that the guy was blowing her off. So then she mentioned the bathroom sign with the “flat braille.” He first told her that I must have been mistaken, who believes the handicapped right? So he walked to the restroom and what do you know? “FLAT BRAILLE.” So maybe The Crotchety Old Blind Guy isn’t so crazy. He apologized and said he would fix the problems. We haven’t been back there since that day, but I think I just might stop in to see if anything has changed. But in the mean time… You Can Take Your Non Accessible Kiosk And Shove It.