Today is Blogging Against Disabilism Day 2010. http://blobolobolob.blogspot.com/2010/05/blogging-against-disablism-day-2010.html
has lots more posts and information.
I'm going to do a variation on this meme, because it's something I run into a lot.
Five Accessibility Issues -- "Write down the first five accessibility issues you have as you go about your normal day, and your solutions, if any. The micro level stuff that you get around with duct tape and cussedness, I mean. The practical, every day stuff you don’t really think about anymore."
And I'm going to narrow it down further, and limit this to a visit to the grocery store.
First: a really simple issue, which none-the-less causes a lot of problems. Why do all grocery stores seem to have highly polished, slippery floors? I'm sorry, but I wear heels and walk with a cane, and your floors are an accident waiting to happen every time it rains or someone spills something, and often even when they're dry. Clean is good, but for fucks sake, use roughened tile or textured vinyl and stop with the waxing so your patrons can maneuver through the store without risk.
Second: in aisle displays make getting through your store and reaching merchandise a big problem. With a pallet wide display in the aisle there isn't enough room for me to walk down the aisle with a cart, let alone someone who's in a wheelchair or using one of your scooters.
Third: consider rearranging how you stock your shelves - rather than having a section of soup or beans or bread 8 rows wide all on the same shelf, merchandise vertically. That way the product I need isn't on only the top (or even worse for me only the bottom) shelf. A lot of people aren't tall enough to reach the top, or they can't bend over to reach the bottom of your shelving systems. Make it easier on us and we'll buy more and return to your store more often.
Fourth: Relocate the flowers, the scented candles, the smelly cleaners, etc away from the fresh vegetables. And talk to your manufacturers about changing their packaging for flour, sugar, etc - those of us who have problems with wheat/gluten cannot buy the sugar, the salt, the gluten free spice mix that's in the same isle as the flour. The grocery store is already overwhelming enough without having the things I need most (fresh, unprocessed food) be in the same area of the store with the things that will make me puke.
Fifth: train all your employees in providing service to ALL your customers. I shouldn't have to ask the guy stocking the Charmin to move three times so I can get through one isle with my cart and the products I need; I know he's trying to do his job, but it would be helpful if he'd get out of my way so I don't have to backtrack. I shouldn't need to worry about the bagger knocking my cane out from under me. The cashier shouldn't treat me like I'm incompetent; the deli clerk shouldn't make me reach over the 5' high counter for my order; the produce guy shouldn't act like I'm a pain in the ass. I'm not old or hearing impaired (ie: talking loudly or slowly doesn't help), my eyes work well enough for me to read the fine print on the labels, and my sense of smell is so amped up your store has me on the verge of vomiting if it's a bad day.
So train your staff to treat me like a human being; politeness and a little assistance if I need it go a long way toward earning my business.
And a few more, just because:
Putting speed bumps between the front door and the accessible parking sucks; I can barely handle the cart full of food on a reasonably flat surface. Try putting speed bumps near the ends of the lot (rather than between the front doors or at the front of each row), or replace them with rumble strips in the areas where carts will also travel.
Putting the bakery and any other service counter next to each other makes all those other counters unsafe for a lot of people. Prepared foods do not belong with the service deli either; if you make sandwiches or fried chicken or pasta salad that means I can't buy anything from your deli at all. And please, stop putting fresh bread next to the fresh fruit & vegetables, nuts with the bananas, artisan breads in the basket with the good cheeses, and seafood counters with the butcher. I would love some of those steaks and those tomatoes, they look awesome, but not enough to risk spending the next two days on my bathroom floor.
Finally, I know a lot of people can reach your credit/debit machines just fine. But how about putting them on cords, so that those of us who have limited mobility or aren't as tall can reach them too.
It's the simple things you've obviously failed to think about that make an already difficult task into the only thing I can manage to do today and tomorrow, and that is not good value.